Golden Book and Blueprints for EU e-Procurement

April 11, 2013

The EU Commission would like to see an effective e-procurement single market. It has launched two projects to address the issues that it sees as a problem.

According to the Commission, there are currently around 300 e-procurement systems in Europe. It states that certain systems have achieved excellence in performance, reliability and security. However, some systems are not easily accessible to foreign users, who may need to use country-specific tools to access them. Moreover, the proliferation of user interfaces makes it difficult for companies to respond to calls for tenders run on multiple platforms. Companies often have to learn how to use various platforms which are far from reaching a common ‘look-and-feel’, unlike other e-commerce tools such as airline booking web sites.

The EU e-Procurement single market is therefore facing two barriers: lack of cross-border interoperability and interface complexity. The two projects are intended to address these issues:

  • The Golden Book of e-procurement practices. The study, carried out by a consultant, analyses in depth around 30 electronic platforms used for public procurement in the EU. The report, the ‘Golden book of e-procurement’, presents good practices in the area of e-procurement but also practices that should be avoided. These practices are aimed at helping to improve e-Procurement systems. Good and bad practices take into account, amongst other criteria, the needs of SMEs and cross-border suppliers when using an e- procurement platform.
  • The e-Tendering expert group (eTEG).The eTEG developed a ‘blueprint’ for an ideal pre-award e-Procurement system. Using this blueprint as a model, the Expert Group presents recommendations targeted at contracting authorities, policy makers or software developers that aim at simplifying the way e-procurement is conducted, particularly for SMEs and cross-border suppliers. The eTEG report is currently being finalised and will be published within a few weeks. 

The two projects are complementary and take different perspectives. The eTEG recommendations are meant to influence the way e-procurement systems could be designed so as to reach an ideal situation. The Golden Book is aimed at identifying and analysing existing good practice, as experienced by the consultant while using 30 e-procurement platforms. However the two projects, independently run, converged to homogeneous results.

Combined, the two reports (The Golden Book and the e-TEG report) address all procurement actors by offering practical means to assess the current state of their business and by providing guidelines for future development.

See also the Commission’s communication ‘A Strategy for e-Procurement‘ of April 2012.