On the website of the Public Procurement Office, there is a report on the public procurement contracts controls carried out in 2013 by the PPO President, financed from the European Union funds. Public contracts co-financed by European Union is an interesting topic as it relates to the entities that are not obliged to apply the Polish Public Procurement Law on a day-to-day basis. “Business” purchasing is naturally very much different from public sector purchasing. I admit that I started to analyse the report with the presumption that entities which do not apply the Public Procurement Law on a regular basis would definitely face problems, and therefore the results would not be optimistic.
What is the actual situation? In 2013, the PPO President carried out 256 controls of procurement contracts co-financed from the European Union funds (in 2013 – 232 controls). The total value of the inspected procurement contracts amounted to over PLN 41 billion. In 138 cases (54% of 256) there were no PPL violations revealed. The great majority of these cases (133) related to the biggest procurement contracts of the value equal or exceeding EUR 10 million for supplies and services, and EUR 20 million for construction works. The controls revealed the PPL violations in118 procedures (46% of 256), and 67 controls (26% of 256) revealed violations that did not affect the results of the procedures, while 51 controls (20% out of 256) revealed violations that could affect the results of the procedures. According to the PPO, 20% of the inspected public contract awards could potentially be invalidated, with an obligation to return the received funds.
Eventually, in 16 cases a competent agent for finance discipline was notified or a request for imposing a financial penalty and starting a court proceeding for invalidation of the contract was made.
Considering the results, I have to reconsider my assumptions. Serious violations of public procurement were revealed in about 6% of the inspected procedures. The question is: is it due to better knowledge of public procurement or due to the threat of financial sanctions?
It can only be added that the number of controls that revealed no violations of the PPL decreased from 64% of all controls in 2012 to 54% in 2013. In the majority of cases these were procedural errors (lack of relevant letters, failing to comply with statutory time limits), which had no direct impact on supplier selection.