The primary purpose of the PPA is harmonisation with relevant EU Directives, which were adopted in 2014. However, it is also supposed to simplify and streamline the entire procurement procedure, including a reduction in the administrative burden, for both contracting authorities and economic operators. In the future the contracting authorities should have available a wider scale of evaluation criteria, allowing them to take into account the price-quality ratio when assessing submitted offers.
The PPA is supposed to codify the award procedure regarding public tenders and concessions. It also regulates the powers of the body responsible for review procedures (i.e. the Czech Competition Authority).
The PPA also aims to implement e-procurement in relation to all award procedures by October 2018. Although many of the contracting authorities already communicate and award public tenders through electronic means, the PPA aims to bring in this regard complete transparency, equal treatment and anti-discrimination to all procedures by setting a clear deadline applicable to all contracting authorities.
Further relevant changes that aim to significantly simplify at least some of the tender procedures or modify the current rules, and might be of interest to economic operators, include:
(i) an increase in the financial limit when conducting tenders for construction works in a simplified below-threshold regime from the current CZK 10 million to CZK 50 million (approximately EUR 1.8 million). Within the simplified regime a contracting authority may, for instance, address a few economic operators of its choosing, while publishing the tender notice on its profile only (instead of publishing it in the central information system);
(ii) the introduction of a new, so called “light regime” for public tenders in some specific areas, such as e.g. the provision of legal services. For this light regime procedure, if the general principles of procurement procedures are followed, the contracting authority may set out specific tender procedure rules that are different from the standard regimes;
(iii) bank loans will be entirely exempted (the current regulation, under which bank loans were subject to procurement procedures, were causing delays and imposed unnecessary cost burdens on contracting authorities);
(iv) the introduction of a new set of criteria on the basis of which the contracting authority is entitled to disqualify any economic operator from a tender right at the beginning of the process due to bad prior experience working with the participant (e.g. delays in performance or other breaches of contract) if the contracting authority proves that the participant in question meets any of the disqualification criteria;
(v) “self-cleaning”, which complements the above disqualification criteria and allows a disqualified economic operator to overcome its disqualification by proving that it has remedied its failures and that it no longer meets the disqualification criteria;
(vi) a more stringent regime for economic operators that have the legal form of a joint-stock company or whose form is similar to a joint-stock company. To be awarded a public contract these economic operators will be obliged to have issued solely registered shares (i.e. shares registered with a depository);
(vii) more emphasis on the “most economically advantageous tenders” rather than solely on price. The contracting authority will be free to choose the evaluation criteria for the quality of the offer, e.g., environmental, social, innovative, etc. Those criteria should nonetheless relate to the subject matter of the tender. The contracting authority will even be able to set a fixed price in advance and asses the tenders according to the defined evaluation (quality) criteria.
(viii) a more detailed definition of what constitutes a non-significant change to a public contract. The lack of clarity on this issue has led to many discussions about what changes to public contracts are still acceptable (since a new tender is required in the event of a significant change); and
(ix) an effort to limit unfounded complaints being brought before the Czech Competition Authority that may delay or even thwart procurement procedures. Starting from 1 October 2016, any person wishing to submit a complaint against a tender procedure before the relevant authority is obliged to pay a fee of CZK 10,000 (approx. EUR 370). This new provision is rather controversial, as the Czech Competition Authority is obliged by law to review all relevant information about a potential violation of public procurement rules. Apart from that, economic operators will still be obliged to pay a guarantee of 1 per cent of the offer price (in any event between CZK 50,000 and CZK 10 million) if they submit a request with the Czech Competition Authority to review a decision of a public authority.