Transparency and Public Procurement

Nowadays, when the concept of public procurement is discussed, its basic principles are often mentioned. The Public Procurement law governs four basic principles of public procurement: (i) the principle of equal treatment, (ii) the principle of non-discrimination of applicants or candidates, (iii) the principle of transparency and (iv.) the principle of economy and efficiency.

In accordance with the directives of the European Parliament and of the European Council on public procurement, the principle of transparency can be characterized as a way of ensuring that all candidates are adequately informed of the criteria and methods which will be applied to identify the most economically advantageous offer.

The Public Procurement law enshrines this principle in various information obligations of the contracting authority. The most prominent is the obligation to publish notice of the procurement in case of purchase contract above the limit in both the European and Slovak Public Procurement Bulletin. For contracts below the limit, it's sufficient to publish it in the Public Procurement Bulletin maintained by the Office for Public Procurement.

Improving awareness is also facilitated by setting up profiles of individual contracting authorities on the Office for Public Procurement website. The centralized profile concentrates the essential documents related to an ongoing / completed public procurement process. Uniting all the relevant information in one place eliminated the effort necessary to retrieve information from various sources.

Transparency is given appropriate attention by the legislator and, over time, the scope of disclosed documents and information is increased in order to give experts and the general public enough information about each public procurement.

There is no special treatment in law for low-value contracts, so there are no obligations regarding publishing a notice for this type of contract. The only legal requirement of transparency is the obligation to update the profile quarterly with a summary report on contracts with a value equal to or greater than 1,000 EUR.

Individual contracting authorities deal with awarding such contracts according to their abilities and needs. If the contracts are financed from various funds, grant schemes or Structural Funds, the provider seeks to ensure the transparency using various terms and conditions in the contract. It's up to the beneficiaries of such support to duly comply with those rules.

As a rule of thumb, this type of contracts usually have the obligation to publish the procurement notice on the website of the contracting authority or on the provider's website. This will ensure that the information is available in one place and the potential candidate only has to watch the provider's website rather than many official boards. In case of Structural Funds in the 2014 - 2020 period, contracts over 5000 EUR will be published on the website of the Central Coordination Authority, which is the Slovak Government Office.