e-Procurement System of the Republic of Cyprus (Cyprus ePS)

The scope of the project is the introduction, application and deployment of a total solution for conducting public procurement competitions in Cyprus using electronic means. The project is carried out under the responsibility of the Public Procurement Directorate (PPD) of the Treasury of the Republic of Cyprus which is the Competent Authority for Public Procurement. The PPD, headed by the Deputy Accountant General, comprises professional accountants, accounting officers, engineers and clerical staff. The Beneficiary of the contract is the Republic of Cyprus. Cyprus, as an EU Member State, is deploying a system in order to support the electronic preparation and execution of public procurement competitions. The system will be in a position to be accredited by a competent organisation as being transparent, non-discriminatory, reliable, interoperable, unhindered, secure, easily accessible, supportive of fair competition and facilitative for equal market access. The system will cover the full range of Public Procurement in Cyprus, while it will also support the electronic submission of notices to the EU Publications Office as an e-Sender.

Policy Context

The project operates in the following legal framework: 1. EU Directives 2004/17/EC and 2004/18/EC: the main EU legislative package regulating procedures and conditions for public procurement contracts. 2. Laws N.11(I)/2006 “The Coordination of the procurement procedures of entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors” and N.12(I)/2006 “The Coordination of Procedures for the Award of Public Works Contracts, Public Supply Contracts and Public Service Contracts and Related Matters” and the Relevant Regulations. 3. The e-Procurement System is built based on the Functional and Non-functional requirements as adopted by the European Commission and is taking into consideration the interpretative document on electronic procurement. 4. The Project implementation is Co-financed by the 2006 Transition Facility and thus all the relevant regulations are applied

Description of target users and groups

The target users of the e-Procurement system are the following:All Contracting Authorities in the Republic of Cyprus; Economic Operators participating in public procurement competitions procured by Contracting Authorities of the Republic of Cyprus; General Public interested in information related to public procurement in the Republic of Cyprus and abroad

Description of the way to implement the initiative

A Project Steering Committee has been set up with the responsibility of managing the Project. The project management methodology used in the e-Procurement project for the Republic of Cyprus has evolved through practice, taking into account all the significant aspects of three widely accepted methodologies and standards affecting project management that have become international best practices, namely the PRINCE2 (Projects in Controlled Environments) method for IT project management, IBM’s Rational Unified Process (RUP) for system implementation, as well as the ISO 9001-2000 Quality Management System. The Contractor of the project is EUROPEAN DYNAMICS S.A. (ED) with its headquarters located in Athens, Greece.

Technology solution

The standards/technologies used in the project comprise amongst others, UML language, J2EE, XML. HTML, LDAP, JDBC, timestamping, data encryption (symmetric & asymmetric) and JAVA script. To ensure non-discrimination, all tenders received electronically are time-stamped by an external Time-Stamping Authority. All notices created through the system abide to the DTD 2.0.6 specifications of the EU Publications Office and are submitted through an e-Sender implementation, in line with the communication standards set by the Office. The system is accessible by end-users through Internet-enabled workstations, by the use of a standard web-browser application, ensuring that all users require minimum system configuration for using the e-Procurement system. In addition, the e-Procurement system provides a desktop, offline application, implemented in the Java language, guaranteeing that its users can use the offline application in any operating system, further promoting the equality of treatment of users. The architecture of the system is intended to provide security/confidentiality of data and no single-points-of-failure.

Technology choice: Standards-based technology, Mainly (or only) open standards, Accessibility-compliant (minimum WAI AA), Open source software

Main results, benefits and impacts

• High quality of adherence to the legal environment: transparency, compliance, and convergence of the system with the EC directives. • Interoperability: tools and services will be based on Open Source Software (OSS) and the use of Open Standards. Interface with EU Official Journal and the Cyprus Official Gazette. Support of UBL standard for e-Catalogues and e-Orders. • State-of-the-Art technical infrastructure: focus on equal treatment, non-discrimination, transparency and security, through a technical architecture that contains specialised security equipment and no single-point-of-failure. • Increase productivity: reduced usage of paper, postage and printing while drafting notices, tenders, participation requests, orders, invoices, etc. • Better management of information: data entry errors and repetition of information will be reduced, providing highly detailed and easily accessible data through electronic documents, as well as advanced searching and auditing facilities. This will facilitate the expansion of management reporting, monitoring, financial analysis and forecasting capabilities. • Transparency through wider market participation and easier access: public administrations will be able to reach more suppliers, resulting in increased competition levels and lower costs. Suppliers will have access to government CfT information at their convenience, expanding the reach of government to new suppliers and participants worldwide. • Faster procurement through better efficiency: the procurement cycle will be reduced due to capability to re-use previous competition information, electronic completion of notices and authomated evaluation. • Reduction of off-contract buying: low-value purchases will be possible to be achieved through Framework Agreements and e-Catalogues. All public sector purchases will be traced within the system • Transparency in monitoring public expenditure information: public can easily access and “have a say” in public sector purchases. Public and private sector entities are involved actively in the project through interviews/meetings for requirements collection, training and participation in Information Days. Up to date information on the project is already available at: www.eprocurement.gov.cy, while informative articles have been published on Internet and press (including ePractice.eu). One of the innovations of the project relates to the automated evaluation mechanism used in the e-Awarding module, where tenders can be fully evaluated by the system provided that they comply with pre-defined tender templates. The system operates as a portal that can accommodate the needs of any CA, as such could be used by non-domestic CAs. In addition, there is no geographic limitation as regards the use the system by EOs.

Return on investment

Return on investment: Larger than €10,000,000

Lessons learnt

1. The technical specifications for the e-Procurement project of the Republic of Cyprus have been based to a large extend to the Functional Requirements on Public Procurement documents disseminated by the EC in 2004. As such, these documents have not only provided a good starting point for the specifications of the e-Procurement system in Cyprus, but also proved that similar initiatives by the EC can significantly assist Member States in designing ICT systems in line with EC Directives/Regulations. 2. During this project, it has been confirmed that the majority of rules/regulations described in the EC Directives (2004/17/EC and 2004/18/EC regulating Public Procurement procedures in the European Countries) can be implemented in an ICT system that controls and guides users on the procedures/actions to be performed for conducting public procurement competitions. 3. Furthermore, it has been made clear that in order for an electronic system to be fast and widely adopted by the public procurement community, effort should be dedicated in aspects related to change management, promotion and dissemination of results. These aspects play a major role for building trust and getting end-users (Contracting Authority users and Economic Operator users) familiarized to the concepts of electronic public procurement.

Scope: International
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