Procurement in the EU may soon become more streamlined.
Directive 2014/24/EU has introduced the European Single Procurement Document (ESPD), a mechanism designed to lessen the burden of contracting authorities and bidders in the procurement process. Drafted with small and medium-sized enterprises in mind, the ESPD enables bidders to declare their financial status, abilities, and suitability for public procurement.
And to make procurement even more accessible, the Commission has announced that the ESPD is now available online free of charge through the web-based ‘ESPD Service,’ which allows potential bidders and contracting authorities in all EU member states to create, edit and send an ESPD electronically.
How will the ESPD Service work? The contracting authority will create an ESPD template for a specific public procurement procedure. Bidders will be able to access, fill out, and submit this document online. (Each completed ESPD can even be exported or stored electronically.)
Until October 2018, ESPD may be provided in both electronic and paper-based version. In those EU states where the Directive's requirements on electronic communication have been implemented, ESPDs shall be filed electronically. In other states such as Hungary, ESPD Service may be used as a tool to simplify the process of completing the ESPD. However, the completed form must be printed out and submitted as a paper document. In both cases, the ESPD Service allows bidders to re-use pertinent information from a previous public procurement procedure.
It is hoped that this news will encourage Hungarian legislators to pass regulations requiring electronic applications for public procurement, and that Hungarian contracting authorities will fully adopt the ESPD Service as well.