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Civil watchdog objects to tender published by Polish ministry

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A Polish civil IT procurement watchdog has filed legal objections to a procurement notice published by the Polish Ministry of Regional Development. In August the ministry posted a request for licences for a specific proprietary computer operating system. European procurement rules forbid requesting specific brands or products.

The Polish watchdog 'Proper Public Procurement of IT' is calling on the ministry to cancel the tender. Pppit filed complaints to the country's National Board of Appeal, a court specialised in public procurement. In their letter to the ministry, Pppit points out that the ministry's project is co-financed by the European Union. "Violating the (procurement) rules could result in refusal of financing by the EU and thus expose the Treasury to losses."

The ministry's procurement notice requests several hundreds of new unused computing devices, desktops and laptops. In the technical annexes the ministry states the computers must run a specific version of a ubiquitous proprietary operating system as well as a proprietary suite of office applications. Reviewing the request, the watchdog's comments on its web site: "The ministry adds that equivalent alternatives are allowed, as long as these work properly with previous versions of the same proprietary operating system and office suite."

In a letter to the ministry, Pppit points to guidelines made by the Public Procurement Office, that could have helped to avoid the breaking of procurement rules. "The office provides a 'cheat sheet' and a model for optimal and consistent procurement. If the ministry had taken advantage of these guidelines, this publication could have been avoided."

Pppit, a project by the Polish Foundation on Open and Free Software, offers to provide the ministry with information about the benefits of using free and open source alternatives.

More information:
Pppit on the ministry of Regional Development (in Polish)