New directive on public procurement: positive achievements

On January 15, 2014 the European Parliamend adopted the new directive on public procurement, with 620 votes cast in favor, 31 against and 30 abstensions. You can read the analysis of the vote by Vote Watch Europe.

Social Platform welcomes this vote. Our President, Heather Roy, argued: “The recognition of the specificities of social and health services, as well as more emphasis on quality rather than the price or cost are the biggest achievements for our sector. Unfortunately public authorities will still have the possibility to use the lowest price or cost, even for social and health services. If public authorities include quality as a privileged factor to evaluate bids, this will give a guarantee that taxpayers’ money is used to pay for quality services”. You can read our full press release, that was quoted by Euractiv (you can read the full article).

Other positive achievements in the new directive regard:

  • reserved contracts for economic operators whose main aim is the social and professional integration of people with disabilities and disadvantaged people
  • the possibility for contracting authorities to introduce social and environmental considerations throughout the procurement process: this will allow public authorities to choose the bids that offer better working conditions, favor the professional integration of people with disabilities or disadvantaged people, and offer goods produced in a sustainable manner
  • the introduction of a mandatory social clause guaranteeing the respect for labour law and collective agreements in the workplace (read ETUC press release)
  • the recognition of alternative ways to deliver social and health services, which are different from public procurement
  • the fact that the directive does not affect national social security legislation.

However, member states have a wide discretion while transposing the directive in national law: therefore, member states and regional and local authorities need to work in partnership with civil society organisations to ensure a correct implementation of the directive.