Access to public procurement – Charter of Federal Department of Economy

on Feb 26, 2018 in News

On 14 January 2018, the Federal Department of Economy issued a charter on the access of SMEs to public procurement. The Charter is part of the aim of the State of Belgium to attract more SMEs in public procurement procedures as studies have shown they are usually excluded when it comes to bigger contracts.

The Charter must be regarded as a guideline for contracting authorities to balance the scale and to eliminate imbalances on the part of SMEs. To this end, the Charter introduces 13 principles, all to be regarded as further clarifications of the national implementations of the European Directives, for example:

  1. Dividing into parcels to scale a bigger assignment in several smaller parcels, so as to facilitate SMEs to make a competitive offer for one or more of the parcels.
  2. Making an appropriate announcement even when no announcement is necessary, as not to hinder SMEs to acknowledge the assignment.
  3. Using required, permitted and/or allowed variables as an alternative for certain aspects of the assignment to allow SMEs to draft an offer in which they can participate, even if it does not meet the original requirements.

The main goal of the Charter is to encourage and enable SMEs to have access to public procurement. The Federal Department of Economy wants to quantify the access and expected participation as to be able to monitor this.

To accommodate and perpetuate the Charter’s objectives, the legislation introduces a form of monitoring. To this end, a Strategic Federal Purchase Dialogue (SFPD or in Dutch ‘(Strategisch) Federaal Aankoopoverleg’ or ‘SFA’) will be established by Royal Decree in a later stage.

For more information, please contact Els Empereur.