The Swedish Public Procurement Act
What is public procurement?
'Public procurement’ is the measures that are taken by a procuring authority in order to award a contract or enter into a framework agreement regarding goods, services or construction contracts.
'Framework agreement’ means an agreement that is established between one or more procuring authorities and one or more suppliers in order to establish the conditions for the subsequent awarding of a contract for a given period of time.
What is procured?
Public procurement is initiated by identifying a need and analyzing how that need can be satisfied. After this the procurement must be planned, which involves calculating the contract’s total value. This calculation is intended to determine whether the value of the contract is above the ‘threshold value’ that determines which rules will apply.
Open procedure is the method normally used.
In the case of open procedure, the procuring authority invites suppliers to submit a tender through an announcement. All interested suppliers can request a copy of the tender documentation and submit a tender. After the tenders have been submitted, the procuring authority will carry out a qualification of the suppliers and evaluate the tenders received. In the case of open procedure, the procuring authority is not permitted to negotiate with the tenderers.
Who is covered by the law?
The law covers government and municipal authorities and decision-making bodies in municipal and county councils, certain publicly controlled organizations and associations of one or more procuring authorities or one or more publicly controlled bodies. Municipal and state limited companies are other examples of procuring authorities.
‘Publicly controlled bodies’ means companies, cooperatives, foundations and other entities that meet needs that are in the interest of the public, provided the need is not industrial or commercial in nature and provided the government, a municipal authority, county council or other procuring authority is financing or controlling the majority of the activity.
The contents of a public procurement
The law requires the procuring authority to consider suppliers in an equal and non- discriminatory manner and to carry out procurements openly. In connection with procurements, the principles of mutual recognition and proportionality must also be observed. This means that suppliers in all Member States must have equal opportunity to submit a tender. All procurements above the threshold value must be announced in the EU’s database Tender Electronic Daily (TED). However, procurements below the threshold value need only be announced in a national publicly available database. Announcements must be formulated in accordance with a template and written in an official EU language (Swedish is permitted).
The tender documentation forms the basis for tenders which a procuring authority provides to a supplier prior to procurement. The tender documentation also includes any supplementary documents.
The most important purpose of the tender documentation is to set out the aim of the procurement, which must be stated precisely and comprehensibly. Well-formulated tender documentation that is clearly structured will not only better enable suppliers to prepare their tenders, but will also enable the authority to assess the tenders and formulate the agreement with the selected supplier more easily.
Tender documentation must consist of at least the following:
- Administrative provisions for the procurement (e.g. the procurement procedure, deadline for receipt of tenders and the tender’s period of validity
- Requirements imposed on the supplier (concerning the supplier’s financial position and technical and professional capacities)
- Specification of requirements or scope of work
- Awarding criteria – the lowest price or the most economic tender (including the evaluation criteria, i.e. the factors that will be used to identify the most economic tender)
- Commercial conditions which will apply during the contract period (e.g. payment and delivery terms and conditions)
A procuring authority may also impose special requirements concerning how the contract is to be fulfilled. Such requirements may, for example, concern social and/or environmental considerations.
Consideration of tenders
No application or tender that is received after the relevant deadline may be considered, even if the sender was not responsible for the delay.
The assessment phase covers a number of stages:
- Certain grounds can lead to the exclusion of a supplier
- Checking of the supplier’s suitability (qualification)
- Awarding of contract (evaluation of tenders)