Tightening up the procurement rules

Press release

The unlawful direct award of contracts is one of the most serious legal infringements within the area of procurement. After a year of reinforced legislation the first matters have now been taken to court for consideration. This is shown in a written communication submitted to the Government by the Swedish Competition Authority.

One year after the tightening-up of the law, thirty or so investigations are being conducted at the Swedish Competition Authority that may lead to fines, a ‘procurement fine’. Two matters have already been taken to court: Akademiska hus and the Swedish Migration Board.

In a report to the Government, the Swedish Competition Authority, which is the supervisory authority, describes its experiences of how the reinforced rules in the procurement legislation have functioned. The findings show that the tightening-up of the law has resulted in measures being taken. The Swedish Competition Authority has initiated systematic work to identify suspected infringements of the law. A number of matters with demands for fines – ‘procurement fines’ – for contracting authorities and units are now being prepared. They will go to court in the near future.

A surprisingly large number involved

“We are surprised to find so many instances of the unlawful direct award of contracts. And we are not seeing the full story. The hidden statistics are probably substantial,” says Dan Sjöblom, Director-General of the Swedish Competition Authority.

The Swedish Competition Authority is finding new examples of the unlawful direct award of contracts every week, where municipal authorities, municipal companies or central government authorities are making large purchases without following the rules and opening up competition by publishing contract notices.

Serious infringements

“The unlawful direct award of contracts is one of the most serious legal infringements within the area of procurement. Sweden and the EU have a common understanding on this point.”

“Our work with taking those who are not complying with the law to court and demanding fines will eventually lead to more public procurement being opened up to competition. This will benefit both the taxpayer and the competing businesses,” says Dan Sjöblom.

For more information, please contact:
Ulrica Lindström, Information Officer, tel. +46 (0)8-700 15 05
Malin de Jounge, Senior Legal Advisor, tel. +46 (0)8-700 15 86

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