Could you please provide information about the process of public procurement planning in European countries? We are especially interested in methodologies in place for defining the technical specifications of public procurement objects.
1 Public procurement planning: overview
2 Procurement planning: ensuring fairness and reducing corruption risks
The planning phase is the first stage of the public procurement cycle. In this stage government bodies should undertake a needs assessment to define the goods or services being procured and prepare a bidding plan, including planning and preparation of budgets and the procurement method that will in the initial stages shape how the rest of the procurement will be used. An important part of both of these steps is the definition of technical specifications that define in detail the goods or services that are to be procured. These will take shape and have a strong impact on the levels of corruption throughout the remaining procurement cycle.
The planning phase of the procurement is often overlooked with regard to anti-corruption, but it is also exposed to corruption that can have a lasting impact on the procurement cycle. Conflicts of interests, bribery and kickbacks, bid rigging (in the form of manipulation of procurement specifications) and a lack of resources all heighten the risk of corruption at this stage.
To address corruption risks, steps should be taken to ensure that the entire planning process is transparent and open to public debate and participation. Care should be taken that conflicts of interest do not stifle open competition among bidders, or that undue influence is not exercised over the needs assessment or bidding documentation stages. The planning phase should also be regulated to avoid technical specifications being manipulated in order to award a contract to a particular bidder.
Ben Wheatland, Transparency International, email@example.com