The Public Procurement Office surveyed 11.5 thousand of respondents. The results show that the awarding entities are still reluctant to use electronic equipment in tender procedures – as reported by the Dziennik Gazeta Prawna daily.
Over 43% of the awarding entities did not offer the possibility to exchange information with contractors in an electronic form in any of their proceedings. 22% accepted e-mails, but only in few cases. Using Internet for all or at least majority of tenders was a standard solution for only 35%, as reported by the Dziennik Gazeta Prawna daily. The data refers to 2013 and the sample of 11.5 thousand respondents surveyed by the Public Procurement Office.
The same survey provides some further interesting findings: the awarding entities that conducted only a few procedures were the least willing to communicate with their suppliers electronically. Among the awarding entities that did not permit this form of communication, 59% awarded annually 3 or fewer contracts, 19% – between 4 and 10 contracts, 12% – between 11 and 25 contracts, and 10% – over 25 contracts.
Moreover, 80% of the awarding entities have never allowed this option in their tender procedures. Only 15% of the respondents stated that they occasionally made such a possibility available to their contractors, but it was in rare cases.
The survey’s results could be found startling, in particular, considering the latest European Union Directives that provide for dominance or, at least, equivalence of the electronic and paper forms of proceedings, or given the fact that many companies regularly use purchasing systems that enable them to select suppliers electronically and, consequently, place electronic orders.
What is the reason for such results?
The awarding entities surveyed were, in majority, the representatives of central or self-governing administration. It has to be noted, however, that the provisions of the PPL do not make the situation easier as paper is still considered a basic form, although the electronic form of a tender offer is permitted. In such a case, it has to be signed electronically with a valid qualified certificate. The formal requirements related to, for example, the procedure of eSignature verification may be discouraging.
We should also mention the ex-post audits. An image of a controller going through a pile of documents is actually still up-to-date.
Additionally, the transition into electronic forms also requires a mental change, and as we all know, this part is the most difficult.