Commission guidance highlights 'options and flexibilities' within the EU public procurement framework in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Commission guidance highlights 'options and flexibilities' within the EU public procurement framework in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

The European Commission has published guidance for contracting authorities in EU Member States, outlining options for public procurement in cases of extreme and unforeseeable urgency, such as the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

The guidance focusses on existing 'options and flexibilities' available under the EU public procurement framework for the purchase of the supplies, services, and works needed to address the coronavirus crisis.

Options highlighted for contracting authorities include:

• use of accelerated open or restricted procurement procedures

• use of a negotiated procedure without publication

• direct award to a preselected economic operator (provided they are the only one able to deliver the required supplies within the technical and time constraints imposed by the extreme urgency)

• alternative solutions and market engagement

The guidance highlights the flexibility within the EU public procurement framework, which underpins the domestic public procurement regime in the UK. It focusses in particular on Directive 2014/24/EU which underpins the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, SI 2015/102. Subjects covered include:

• choice of procurement procedures generally

• accelerated timescales/reduced deadlines in the procurement process in cases of urgency

• criteria for use of the negotiated procedure without notice where strictly necessary in cases of extreme urgency

The guidance provided by the Commission broadly aligns with the coronavirus procurement policy notes issued by the Cabinet Office in March 2020: 

Procurement Policy Note 01/20—Responding to COVID-19

Procurement Policy Note 02/20—Supplier relief due to COVID-19

Source: Communication from the Commission Guidance from the European Commission on using the public procurement framework in the emergency situation related to the COVID-19 crisis OJ C 108I , 1.4.2020, p. 1–5

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