European tendering is a procurement process that is required to meet specific mandatory conditions. In the legal sense, the University of Twente is a contracting entity. Until 2013, issuing tenders was mandatory under the Public Procurement Tendering Rules Decree (BAO). On 1 April 2013, this law was replaced by the Procurement Act, which was amended on 1 July 2016. The legislation aims for transparency of the European market and provides the legal framework within which a professional (objective, non-discriminatory, and transparent) procurement process has to be carried out.
In practice, it turns out that contracting entities benefit from this legislation, with savings of up to 30% of the contract sum. These savings are achieved because the process forces entities to strictly carry out the specification and selection phases.
What does European tendering mean in practice?
In practice, European tendering is mandatory for contracts above a threshold (€ 209.000 for services and goods, € 5.225.000 for public work). The contract must be published in the TED database, so all potential suppliers can take note of it. The contracting entity must select one of six possible procedures beforehand, and must respect the minimum processing times. A product or service may not be ‘tailored’ to a particular supplier or brand, nor may a job be split into parts in order to circumvent the European tendering rules. The legislation also gives a precise definition of the criteria for suitability and selection (the requirements the supplier must meet), and of the award criteria (the criteria for final selection of the winning bid).
Of course, the legislation does not concern itself with the content of a contract. The organisation is also to a large extent free in the selection of strategic procurement choices, such as contract duration, number of lots (partial contracts), and number of suppliers. After the contract has been awarded, the contracting entity must publish the result of the tender (the supplier who has won the contract) in the TED database.