Fazekas, M. (2019). Single bidding and non-competitive tendering procedures in EU co-funded projects. Brussels: European Commission Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy.
Transparency, efficiency and competition in public procurement are essential for ensuring sound investments resulting in concrete benefits for both businesses and citizens. The 7th Cohesion Report pointed out that open and transparent public procurement is essential to promote development and reward the most efficient firms. However, the use of open procedures, the intensity of competition and the speed of decision-making as well as the risk of corruption varies markedly between regions.
In particular, single bidding, or procurement procedures with only one bidder, could hamper the way public money is spent and projects implemented. In order to look more into depth into the grassroots and possible implications of the phenomenon from the point of view of cohesion policy funding, the Commission’s Directorate-General commissioned a study on recent trends and policy implications in selected 10 Member States.
On the basis of the analysis of the available data at EU and national levels, the study “Single bidding and non-competitive tendering procedures in EU co-funded projects” draws a number of lessons common to all analysed countries:
- Speedy and timely action has the potential for lowering single bidding rates. This calls for investing into administrative capacities of procuring entities, as it is likely to pay off in terms of lowering single bidding rates and consequently obtaining better value for money in the public tenders.
- Excessive use of non-open procedures and very short advertisement deadlines should be discouraged. Pursuing open tendering procedures with adequate advertisement (rather than direct contracting or negotiated procedures without prior publication) can lower single bidding percentages and deliver better value for money. Strengthening public sector integrity promises to lower single bidding and the associated risks.
- Demand aggregation, that is larger contract (lot) values, can have a considerable positive effect on single bidding rates, even though the effect does overall depend on specific market conditions.
- Shifting spending more equally over the year (instead of bulking at end of year) could lower overall single bidding.
- The study concludes that there is a need and rationale for a robust system of public procurement data collection and publication, and the setting up of a regular monitoring mechanism of single bidding.
This makes a strong case for the Commission’s legislative proposals for Cohesion policy 2021-2027 where the enabling condition on public procurement, aims to improve and facilitate reporting, as well as to broaden the scope of data available to the Member States to better inform policy-making at national level.
In order to better illustrate its findings and allow experts to further explore and combine the data available, the study includes an online dashboard available at the following link: