The aim of the procurement rules is to ensure that contracting authorities use public funds to finance public purchases in the best possible way by seeking out and taking advantage of competition in the relevant market in order to get a good deal.
Public procurement is governed by the Swedish Public Procurement Act (2007:1091 – LOU), which is largely based on EU Directive concerning public procurement.
What is public procurement?
‘Public procurement’ means the measures taken by a contracting authority with the aim of awarding a contract or concluding a framework agreement regarding products, services or works. ‘Framework agreement’ means an agreement concluded between one or more contracting authorities and one or more suppliers, the purpose of which is to establish the terms for a later award of contracts during a given period.
Fundamental principles for all public procurement
The fundamental principles for public procurement are specified in Chapter 1, Article 9 of LOU and apply to all procurement of products, services and works.
- The principle of non-discrimination
The ‘principle of non-discrimination’ means that it is prohibited to discriminate suppliers, directly or indirectly, on grounds of nationality. Even if the contracting authority does not expect any foreign tenders, it may not include requirements that only Swedish companies are aware of or can perform in the contract documents. The contracting authority may not, for example, give preference to a local company.
- The principle of equal treatment
The ‘principle of equal treatment’ means that all suppliers should be treated equally and be placed on an equal footing. All suppliers must, for instance, have access to the same information at the same time.
- The principle of transparency
The ‘principle of transparency’ means an obligation for the contracting authority to create transparency by providing information about the procurement procedure and how it will be conducted. In order for tenderers to be afforded the same opportunities for the submission of tenders, contract documents must be plain and clear and contain all of the requirements regarding the subject matter of the contract. Consequently, suppliers will be able to see what is of reatest importance when choosing a supplier. A ‘contract relating to a public works concession’ means a contract of the same kind as a works contract but which involves compensation comprising wholly or in part the right to exploit the work. A ‘service concession’ means a contract of the same kind as a service contract, but which involves compensation for the services comprising wholly or in part the right to exploit the service.
- The principle of proportionality
The ’principle of proportionality’ means that requirements for the supplier and requirements in the specification must have an obvious link with and be proportionate in relation to the subject matter of the contract. The requirements imposed must be both appropriate and necessary to achieve the aim of the public procurement. If there are several alternatives, the alternative chosen should be the one which is the least intrusive or onerous for the suppliers.
- The principle of mutual recognition
The ‘principle of mutual recognition’ means that diplomas and certificates issued by authorities authorised by a Member State shall also apply in other EU/EEA countries.