The impulse given to the centralization of procurement in Spain and the central state purchasing body is in line with the trends in public procurement on a European level. the majority of Member States of the EU have central state purchasing bodies that, although perhaps very different in terms of organization, respond to the same necessity for professionalisation and specialization of public procurement.
Directive 2014/24/EU asserts this reality, stating that the techniques for the centralization of procurement are used by an increasing number of Member States and stating the advantages of establishing a definition, at EU level, of the purchasing bodies at the service of the awarding authorities. Article 37 of the directive is dedicated to the activities of centralized procurement and the purchasing bodies.
With the aim of exchanging different experiences between different European procurement bodies that work within a common regulatory framework, the Central Purchasing Bodies Network was set up, an informal network that groups together the state purchasing bodies of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and, since May 2014, Spain, represented by the DGRC.
The CPB-Network holds two meetings annually in which different organizational models are studied, along with the common problems in relation to the regulation of purchasing bodies and the management of contracts and framework agreements. It also works on the preparation of indicators of common activities, which allow for analysis and comparative studies on the functioning of such organizations.
In addition to representatives of state purchasing bodies, senior members of the European Commission also attend, given the strategic role that this institution attributes to the procurement bodies as a means of applying EU policies in the area of public procurement.
To date, the DGRCC has attended meetings held in Lisbon (2014), Reykjavik (2014), Paris (2015), Zagreb (2015), Vienna (2016), Ljubljana (2016), Stockholm (2017), Madrid (2017) and Helsinki (2018).
On 19 and 20 October, 2017, the biannual meeting of the CPB-Network was held in Madrid, where the DGRCC was the hostess. At the meeting, which was attended by hiring centres from 14 European countries, organisational and functional aspects of the hiring plants were discussed. Likewise, three working groups were formed, related to dynamic systems on procurement, sustainability and award criteria in service contracts.
Meeting of the CPB-Network in Madrid
In Helsinki, the DGRCC presented, as an example of good practice to be considered by the other states, the creation of administrative courts of contractual resources (both central and regional) and the management they perform, facilitating the resolution of resources to public contracts in limited terms and prior to the filing of contentious-administrative appeals in ordinary courts. The next meeting will be held in Dublin (Ireland) in January 2019.
In the international context, it is also important to point out that the DGRCC has been invited on many occasions to present its project, which has given such impetus to centralized procurement and to representatives of central purchasing bodies of other EU Member States.
In October 2014 this Directorate General presented its procurement process being carried out through the Directorate General of Rationalization and Centralization of Procurement to the European Union Expert Group on Public Procurement. The group praised the excellent progress made by the Spanish Administration in such a short space of time.
In December 2014 the DGRCC participated in the series "Electronic Administration Open to Citizens. Towards a New Paradigm based on Transparency, Participation and Collaboration," held in Cartagena, Colombia, at which the new model for the state purchasing body in Spain was presented: its impact on the improvement in efficiency of public spending, on guarantees and on the transparency of procurement was debated. As were similar experiences of the purchasing bodies of South American countries. This conference series was attended by several civil servants from South American countries.
The Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the European Commission, in April 2015, invited the DGRCC to Warsaw to present its project to representatives of the Bulgarian, Ukrainian and Polish Administrations.
Also, the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Instrument of the European Commission (TAIEX), dedicated to facilitating compliance with the requirements demanded by the EU of countries aspiring to integration, invited the DGRCC to present at two seminars in Belgrade (Serbia) in November 2014 and in June 2015, before representatives of the Serbian CPB as well as staff of public agencies and companies, the strategic plan for the creation of a central state purchasing body, giving the Spanish example. Also discussed was good practice for centralized procurement in the areas of definition, tendering and management of complex centralized contracts, such as that for travel agency services to the Spanish General State Administration.
On 2 and 3 December 2015, we participated with the European Union in a public procurement workshop held in San Salvador in the framework of the TAIEX projects in Central America. The workshop was attended by representatives from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. These meetings allowed for the exchange of procurement best practices and advice on certain issues regarding the operation of procurement bodies.
Likewise, the Portuguese Purchasing Centre (ESPAP) invited the DGRCC to take part in the 2nd Annual Conference on Shared Services and Public Procurement, held in Lisbon on 2 December 2015. During the Conference, mainly addressed to Ministries and bodies within the Portuguese administration and attended by experts from Portuguese and international bodies, general details on the advances made in relation to centralization of procurement in Spain were presented, building on the CORA Report.
On 23 April 2016, the DGRCC participated in the conference organized by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Tunisian High Authority for Public Procurement in Tunis, on public procurement, aimed at public bodies and companies, with speakers from the EBRD, from various European purchasing bodies and from the Administrative Court in Strasbourg.
On 7 June 2018, a delegation from the Ministry of Economy, Development and Trade of Ukraine has visited for working purposes the DGRCC in order to learn about the organisation and operation of the State Procurement Centre in Spain, within the framework of the visits made to several European countries in order to know the different models of implementation of public procurement policies and rationalisation.