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The Public Procurement Act in brief

When the public sector purchases goods, services or construction work, this is usually done through a public procurement. Public procurement is a statutory purchasing process that aims to ensure that public purchases are opened up to competition and that public funds are used as effectively as possible.

In Sweden, public procurement is governed by the Public Procurement Act (commonly referred to as the LOU, the abbreviation of its Swedish name). The rules for public procurement are based on EU directives. Directives are an important part of promoting the free movement of goods and services within the EU. By complying with the Swedish procurement rules, contracting authorities and entities comply with the obligations arising from EU law.

The translation of the Swedish Public Procurement Act
Note! This document is from November 2017 and has not been updated based on the changes in the law that entered into force on February 1, 2022.

The EU directives 2014/24/EU on public procurement, 2014/25/EU on water, energy, transport and postal services sector, 2014/23/EU on concessions and 2009/81/EC on defence and security on the website of the European Union

In Sweden, public procurement is governed by the Public Procurement Act (2016:1145).

Objectivity and transparency

The basic principles of public procurement are objectivity and transparency. Contracting authorities are not permitted to remain loyal to their own country’s suppliers or to previous suppliers. The selection of a supplier must be made on a strictly commercial basis. The choice should be based on which supplier offers the best product or service on the best terms. In a procurement, all suppliers must be given the opportunity to compete for the contract on equal terms.

When is the the Public Procurement Act used?

The Public Procurement Act applies to all public procurements of goods, services and construction work not covered by some other procurement law or by any specific exception that applies to the specific procurement in question.

Who uses the the Public Procurement Act?

The Public Procurement Act is applied by contracting authorities. A contracting authority is a state or municipal authority. The decision-making assembly in a municipality or region is also considered to be equivalent to a contracting authority.

The term also covers certain publicly run bodies, such as most municipal and some state-owned undertakings. Associations comprised of one or more government authorities, assemblies or publicly governed bodies are also covered by the Public Procurement Act.