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This is our weekly European public procurement news roundup, reporting on how more than a trillion Euros of taxpayer money is being spent. 

Two DIT Contracts May Be Breaking UK and EU Public Procurement Rules

Department for International Trade advertisements asking tech firms to bid for work with government contain criteria that have been called too subjective and in breach of public procurement rules. Good to see Albert Sanchez-Graells being quoted as expert advice in The Guardian, he says “… the ‘cultural fit’ criteria … were too subjective to comply with EU procurement rules.” There’s more on this story here.

Latvian Public Procurement Laws Revised for Construction Contracts

The Baltic Times reports that the new Public Procurement Law comes into force this week. It was updated to transpose the relevant EU directives that deal with public procurement procedures for construction, supplies and services contracts. Several provisions have been revised to make it easier for small and medium-sized companies to compete for public procurement tenders.The thresholds for subjection to public procurement procedures have been changed including contracts up to EUR 42,000 for services and supplies, and worth up to EUR 170,000 for construction works.

Mounting Pressure on Key Public Services – Treasury Pushed to Avert ‘Disastrous Failures’

Institute for Government and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy report says UK government could face “a disastrous combination of failing public services and breached spending controls.” It urges the chancellor to push for ‘meaningful public service reforms and major changes to the way spending decisions are made …’ as pressure grows on key public services as departments are asked to ‘crack on’ with pre-announced £3.5bn in efficiency savings by 2019/20. Full story on Civil Service World.

Could UK Taxpayer Money Be Used To Support Supply Chains?

Certainly in the case of Nissan, which is suggesting that the Government help it to rebuild its car parts business once it leaves the EU. Fears of increased prices on its components, of which is uses 5 million a day, has led to the car manufacturer in Sunderland asking for £100 million to £140 million of investment for a supply development fund. A senior Nissan executive has said that the company sources up to 85% of its components from Japan, China and Europe, and that if these parts were produced in the UK, Nissan would spend up to £2 billion a year with British suppliers. More in The Guardian and slightly different angle in the northeast’s The Chronicle.

And on a similar subject, organisations ‘across the pond’ that rely on Mexican manufacturing (doubt they will be asking the administration for financial support) are being forced to revisit and shorten their supply chains they enter a new phase of ‘protectionism.’ Forbes offers Six Tips To Survive In A Protectionist World.

Public Sector Supplier Hiding Behind ‘Go-Between’ Gets Fined, Then Less Fined

A Slovakia-based company that supplies specialised medical materials and devices to hospitals is being fined for ‘unclear ownership.’ Apparently this is a common phenomenon, where the real owners of a company hide behind a go-between, often in Cyprus. It’s interesting because while the Public Procurement Office (ÚVO) issued the fine in October, at €50,000, the firm appealed and got it reduced it to €10,000 in February. Also because authorised representatives of these firms are not obliged by law to disclose the names of their owners. This decision is being called groundbreaking. More on this and a Cautionary Tale can be read in The Slovak Spectator.

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