Complying with its obligations under Directive 2014/14/EU, Hungary has introduced electronic communication in public procurement procedures.
From 15 April 2018, contracting authorities falling under the Public Procurement Act ("PPA") must conclude their procurements through an electronic public procurement system (Elektronikus Közbeszerzési Rendszer, "EPPS").
Every procedure launched after this deadline must be carried out using the EPPS, which is operated and maintained by the state-owned company, NEKSZT Kft., on behalf of the Prime Minister’s Office.
The EPPS serves as a communication platform between contracting authorities and tenderers. With minor exceptions, all communications – from the publication of the tender notice, through the submission of bids, and up to the award of the contract (i.e. the core public procurement procedure) – must be conducted through the EPPS.
Contracting authorities are not obliged to use the EPPS both while preparing the public procurement procedure and after the contract has been awarded. Accordingly, for instance conclusion of a contract or for billing will not be communicated electronically over the EPPS.
The EPPS must ensure that:
- The content of the bids remain confidential until the submission deadline.
- Each and every action executed through the EPPS is logged and remains traceable.
- Only individuals with the necessary authorisations have access to documents.
- EPPS is compatible with generally available and supported applications and file formats.
- European Single Procurement Document is available from the EPPS.
The use of the EPPS is subject to registration for both individuals and organisations (contracting authorities, economic operators, and advisors). Only individuals with previous access to the EPPS can register an organisation. However, no authentication process exists with the EPPS. An individual's authority to register an organisation is not verified during the registration process. Hence, the EPPS will accept the organisation registration from any individual.
The individual registering the organisation is known as the “superuser,” and will be able to grant access and editing rights to other individuals for the public procurement process. Contracting authorities are required (and economic operators interested in public procurement are strongly urged) to create clear internal policies for handling the risk associated with the registration and management of access rights.
Between 1 January and 14 April 2018, there was a transitional period during which, within their sole discretion, contracting authorities had the freedom to launch their procurement procedures in the EPPS instead of using paper format. During this transition, less than 50 procedures were launched through the EPPS, which begs the question whether the public procurement market has acquired the relevant knowledge for the smooth completion of public procurement procedures through the EPPS.
Act CXLIII of 2015 on public procurement ("PPA") Government Decree No. 424/2017. (XII. 19.) on the Detailed Rules of Electronic Public Procurements ("Government Decree") and additional secondary legislation