Jonathan Davey and Amy Gatenby
Addleshaw Goddard LLP
The political and economic significance of government procurement is plain. Government contracts are of considerable value and importance, often accounting for 10 to 20 per cent of GDP in any given state. Government spending is often high-profile and has the capacity to shape the future lives of local residents.
Even as the economic climate improves, it is perhaps no surprise that, with austerity the watchword throughout the developed economies, governments seek to demonstrate more effective, better-value purchasing; nor that many suppliers view government contracts as a much-needed revenue stream offering relative certainty that they will be paid.
Once again, the focus in terms of developments is on the EU, with the implementation of the three Directives adopted in 2014 now in full swing. At the time of writing, the mainstream ‘classic’ Directive has been implemented, or partially implemented, in 12 Member States, namely Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. Implementation of the Concessions and Utilities Directives is proceeding almost as quickly. Based on past experience, a considerable period of adjustment lies ahead of contracting authorities in assimilating all the changes and making full use of new procedures and freedoms.
Outside the EU, revision of national laws regulating government procurement also continues apace, with recurring themes in the trend towards mandatory e-procurement, encouragement of participation by small to medium-sized enterprises and measures to combat corruption.