Public ElectronicTendering Model of the Basque Country (PETM-BCS)

Published on: 05/06/2007

The Basque Government is the first administration to introduce e-procurement in Spain, having developed an integral eTendering system for the entire procurement process. The system was developed to use eAdministration general architecture applications and provides for various levels of security and confidentiality. The PETM-BCS contribute significantly to the evolution of e-procurement organizational, procedural, technical and operational aspects. Special mention is made of the informational and training effort conducted for the 3,200 companies, training provided to officials and multi-channel support provided for all project areas. All applications and materials are considered “open source” and available to all interested administrations.

Policy Context

Currently, eTendering its'n compulsory in Spain. The general operational framework for the Basque Country Public Electronic Tendering Model is defined by: • European Parliament and Council Directive 2004/18/CE of 31 March 2004. • The General Judicial framework for public procurement in Spain. • European Parliament Directive 1999/93/CE, which establishes a community framework for electronic signatures. (PETM-BCS is fully compatible with this european framework). • The Judicial framework for registries and telematic notices in Spain. • Spanish Organic Law 15/1999, for personal data protection. • The Judicial framework for telematic processing in the Autonomous Basque Community. In future, the operational framework for the Basque Country Public Electronic Tendering Model will be established by: • European Parliament and Council Directive 2004/18/CE establishing the creation of exclusively electronic procurement typologies. • The future Spanish Law for Public Sector Contracts, currently being examined and debated in the Spanish Parliament. • The Europa i2010 initiative (European Information Society for growth and employment), that establishes the need for: - Trustworthy, secure and reliable ICT. This area is fundamental to the rollout of e-Procurement. - ICT deployment and adoption: The benefits of ICT come from their embedding into products and services and the adoption of new business models. - Inclusion: it is clear that e-Procurement practices should be extended to SMBs. - Finally, the i2010 initiative establishes that by 2010, 100% of public procurement will be available electronically, with 50% actual usage. As a consequence of the need to accommodate e-Procurement to the regulatory framework, the individuals responsible for the Basque Country’s Public Electronic Tendering Model actively participate in the E-Procurement Workgroup promoted by the Spanish Public Administration Ministry.

Description of target users and groups

PETM-BCS operates in the Basque Government. The Basque Country (population 2,133,000 inhabitants) is one of the 17 regions of Spain. The PETM-BCS target group is comprised of: - Suppliers - Public administrations - Officials Suppliers: The user group includes 3,200 suppliers. The main introduction difficulties relate to: - A large percentage are SMBs. - The suppliers come from a broad range of sectors. - 1/3 of the suppliers are from other Spanish regions. - eTendering isn't compulsory. Public administrations users: PETM-BCS system services are available to the Central Procurement Committee, the various Departments and Autonomous Bodies. Collaboration is provided, available resources permitting, for the adoption by Basque Country provincial and local administrations that so desire. Methodological, training and application support has been provided to the following: - Basque Health Service. - Police Academy - RTV. - Technology Parks. - University. - Provincial governments - Councils. The types of dossier handled: The PETM-BCS introductory methodology distinguishes between the following: - Dossiers for which electronic tendering is Compulsory. This relates to all dossiers that are not affected by potential digitalisation issues, of the following types: - Open by competition - Negotiated with advertising - Negotiated without advertising - Dossiers for which electronic tendering is Optional: those that involve the frequent appearance of Provisional Company Unions - Dossiers not apt for electronic tendering. Dossiers affected by digitalisation issues related to technical specification or administrative pages or bids. The range of goods and services procured via e-procurement is growing and diverse: Consultancy services, auditing, insurance, advertising, cleaning services, travel organisation, pharmaceutical, IT services. Officials: informational and training activities are aimed at all the officials involved in the procurement process: procurement technicians, unit administrators, IT technicians. 182 people were involved in the introduction in the Basque Government, 140 of whom attended training courses.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

The PETM-BCS is promoted by the Basque Government and is integrated in its Strategic Plan for Electronic Administration and Governance. Said Strategic Plan is an initiative of the Basque Government, the aim of which is to coordinate the advancement of Basque e-Administration, in order to improve, on the one hand, its relationship with citizens and businesses in addition to service provision, and, on the other hand, its internal efficiency. The PETM-BCS is managed and empowered by the Technical Secretariat, and is articulated around the following axes: • Management. • Technical and Training Secretariat. • Marketing and Promotion. Collaborations have been developed with other administrations and bodies involved in the advancement of the Information Society and a eAdministration in the context of the PETM-BCS. The Basque Government has included PETM-BCS in its offer to Regional and Local Administrations participating in the Inter-administrative Forum, a space for inter-institutional collaboration for the advancement of service digitalisation and the coordination of initiatives in the Basque Conutry. All applications, informational and educational materials are considered “open source” and available to all interested European administrations. To them the PETM-BCS others methodological, training and application support. Multi-channel issues: A large part of the digital mechanisms used in eProcurement are new for companies. For this reason, an important effort has been undertaken regarding promotion, training and support for the more than 3,200 companies. The PETM-BCS employs the following channels: • Direct: at the Official Register of Contractors. • Post. • Email: employed for promotion, training registration, etc. • Telephone for the user Support Centre. • Internet. Multi-channel features vary in scope as a function of the specific nature of the services offered: training, promotion, tender support, etc. Multi-channel in the User Support Centre: The Support Centre aims to develop multi-channel features in order to provide a constant level of service and quality, 11 hours a day, 6 days a week. The Support Centre provides three levels of support, the first being of a general nature, the second specific provided by a group of specialised tele-operators. A third level is provided by technicians and tele-operators at the PETM-BCS Technical Secretariat. The Support Centre also provides “remote collaboration” access over the Internet for incident resolution. Multi-channel nature of Training provided to companies: eProcurement adoption is not something the 3,200 supplier companies will have to embark upon alone at the last minute. The following has been prepared: • Direct training: 5 courses/month provided at public Internet access centres. • On-line training. • Fee trial tenders. Multi-channel nature of informational activities: Despite the benefits of eProcurement appearing obvious, it is necessary to make a particular effort to raise business awareness via: • Postal mailings. 6 mailings in 2006 and 2007 to 3,200 suppliers. • Internet. • 18 promotional days/conferences with over 900 individual attendees. • “Early Warning” system launch and other messages promoting the adoption of e-procurement.

Main results, benefits and impacts

Through the introduction of PETM-BCS the goal is to: • Promote competition. • Use the purchasing power of the administration to advance the information society. The PETM-BCS will generate the following benefits for companies: • More time to prepare bids. • Shorter processing times. • Reduction in errors. • Reduced mail costs. • Less stress. • The opportunity to gain familiarity with a mechanism set to be adopted by the entire European administration. Prior to the initiation of PETM-BCS activities, each Basque Government procurement dossier received, on average, 4.53 tenders from bidding companies. Today, 6 bidding companies e-tender for each dossier. The pioneering character of the PETM-BCS: • The Basque Country (population: 2,100,000 inhabitants) is the first administration to implement e-procurement in Spain and developed the first Regulatory Framework. • The Basque Health and Police Service were the first health and security organisations to implement e-procurement in Spain. • The range of services contracted using e-procurement is growing and diverse: Consultancy services, auditing, insurance, advertising, travel organisation, drugs, IT, etc. • 12 Government Departments, Autonomous Bodies or Public Entities have issued electronic procurement dossiers, 65% of which have received digital bids, 30% digital offers, worth 50 million Euros in contracts. Strengthening the participation in the PETM-BCS by: • Production of a set of 14 leaflets covering all areas of e-procurement • Free courses in public Internet access centres. • Development of Early Warningst. A system for providing companies with advance notice so that they can learn and act. • All elements required by companies are provided free of charge. Evidence of the promotional effort: • All information about the PETM-BCS is available over the Internet and has also been produced in English. • Holding of promotional days/conferences. An important “mission” has been undertaken, as few companies are aware of e-procurement. (Days held: 18, Participants: 900). • Provision of company training. The following has been provided: - Direct training: 5 courses/month held in Internet access centres. - Online training. - Free trial tenders. • Provision of direct training courses for officials. 13 courses have been held, 20 hours each, for 140 technicians. Transferring the PETM-BCS to other Spanish Administrations. Methodological, training and application support has been provided to the following: • Basque Health Service. • Public Administration Institute • Police Academy • RTV. • Network of Technology Parks. • Country University. • Various Provincial Governments (Guipuscoa, Alava, Biscay). • Councils. Representatives of the PETM-BCS have exchanged their knowledge with: • The “Interoperation Forums” of the Public Administration Ministry. • The European Public Administration Institute. • Spanish regional administrations: Catalonia, Andalusia, Navarre, Galicia and Valencia. Awards: • 2003 – ETI Award, awarded by PricewaterhouseCoopers • 2004 – Tecnimap Award, awarded by the Spanish Public Administration Ministry for the best business digital service. • 2006 – Award for Spanish Electronic Administration Best Practice. Recognitions: • Inlusion in the IDABC Programme studies on European eProcurement projects • Presentation of the PETM-BCS to the Spanish Parliament Legislative Committee that is working on the new public sector contracts act. Sponsorship of International Seminars. The PETM-BCS organised the 1st and 2nd Public e-Procurement International Seminars in (2005) and (2006). Innovation: Australia has historically been considered a World leader in eProcurement. Both the Australian Government system (Austender), and the various regional systems (Queensland Purchasing, SmartBuy, etc), have led the way for the rest of the world. Later, eProcurement practices spread to USA (California, North Carolina), Asia (Singapore, Japan) and Europe. The most thorough analysis of the evolution of e-procurement was undertaken by: • The World Bank via the e-Government Procurement Program. • The European Commission through the IDAbc Programme. The IDAbc study analyzed 21 European systems and identified best practice in four areas (organizational, procedural, technical, operational) that we will use to analyze the PETM-BCS contribution. Improvement of organisational aspects: • Development of a Rollout/Introduction Methodology considers: - Procurement historical profile. - Digitalisation issues. - Criteria for dossiers to be tendered electronically. - Rollout strategy. - Support Centre services. - Training. - Marketing. Improvement of procedural aspects: • Development of e-procurement regulations via an Order that regulates the “telematic transfer of procedures and activities contemplated in Public Administration contract legislation”. • ePprocurement extension to services and intellectual supplies. • Pilot Tender Launch Protocol to help officials to prepare their first dossiers. Improvement of technical aspects: • Traditionally, e-Procurement applications have been developed independently, and have had to cover every function (bid receipt, notification, dossier queries. However, the PETM-BCS employs general eAdministration architecture applications: - eNotification. - Register of Receipts/Dispatches. - Dossier queries. • Electronic tender openings via live images over the Internet. • Development of the Early Warning . A system for providing companies with sufficient notice so that they can learn, prepare and act on them. Improvement of operational aspects: • Promotional and training elements for companies and officials.. • Multi-channel Support featuring “remote collaboration” over the Internet for incident resolution.

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Track record of sharing

Evidence of having influenced other initiatives: • Inclusion of the PETM-BCS in IDABC Programme studies. (“State of the art report: case studies on European electronic public procurement projects”. Under the heading DFPA (Spain-Basque) the PETM-BCS is mentioned (Page 15) as one of the reference in e-Procurement projects in Europe). • Presentation of PETM-BCS experience to the Spanish Parliaments Legislative Committee, for the drafting of the new public sector contracts act. (See: Evidence of having shared good practice: • All information about the PETM-BCS is available via Over 17,000 documents have been downloaded from the site. • Spanish regional and local government technicians have participated in free PETM-BCS courses. • Collaboration is provided (available human and technical resources permitting) for the adoption of PETM-BCS by any Administration that so wishes. • PETM-BCS representatives have exchanged knowledge with: - Public Administration Ministry “Interoperability Forums”. - European Institute of Public Administration. - Spanish regional Administrations: Catalonia, Andalusia, Navarre, Galicia and Valencia. • PETM-BCS has been presented at the last two Tecnimap fairs, organised by the Spanish Public Administration Ministry. It won the Tecnimap Award at the 2004 fair. Cross-border and/or exchange of experience with other European administrations: • The PETM-BCS and the European Institute of Public Administration organised the 1st and 2nd International Seminars on Public e-Procurement held in Sebastian (2005) and Bilbao (2006). (For more information see:…). • PETM-BCS technicians will take responsibility for the “Study visit: e-Procurement / Electronic Public Procurement Model” to be held at the 2007 Annual Conference of the Innovative Actions Network for the Information Society Plus. (Bilbao, 13 to 15 June 2007). • PETM-BCS representatives have participated in a number of courses organised by the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) on extending knowledge about e-Procurement.

Lessons learnt

• It would be good if European Directives were more authoritative. Likewise, the rapid transposition of European Directives is needed. • Also, it would be good if all European Directives were accompanied by the support of a “strong nucleus” of EU countries willing to resolutely drive directive adoption. • Firm political will for e-Procurement adoption is essential. • SMBs are decided adopters of e-Procurement. • Interoperability between institutions providing electronic signatures needs to be improved. • The multiplicity of platforms is an obstacle to e-Procurement adoption. • Incentives need to be provided for adopting new e-Administration practices. • The various forms of e-procurement, due to the strictness of the regulations that apply to them, are ideal for studying and establishing the control and monitoring mechanisms required by the regulatory and legal aspects that govern the administrations digital services. • Training in e-Procurement has been very well received by Companies. Given the complexity of e-Procurement processes, the extension of its knowledge is fundamental to e-Administration promotion. • The technical usage issues that surround e-Administration platforms promote scepticism and dampen the motivation of companies.

Scope: Regional (sub-national)