E-tendering is not the only area affected by the new Procurement Code.
It is designed to consolidate the process of digitalization of the public procurement market in our country, but is also set to produce an unexpected result: namely, strengthening the role of private entities in the tender management process and supporting the technical departments of Public Administration bodies.
This is what emerged during the course of the event held on Thursday, April 21 by IFABER - one of the leading Italian companies specializing in services and procurement - dedicated to the new Procurement Code.
"What we see above all from the new Code is that, if we look to electronic platforms, we are preparing to face a period of great dynamism." Luca Bondini, Head of Markets for IFABER, explains his vision for the Legislative Decree that has just been published. In many respects, this is a text that is yet to be fully completed: forty decrees is a very high number and in various cases, these are specifically concerned with digitalization. However, the intention behind these regulations is clear - to drive innovation in the sector.
"I think,” continues Bondini, “that this text represents a move forward from in-house management of electronic platforms. Now, companies are running out of time to make this choice. It is sustainable for groups like Consip that can pay the corresponding costs, but others will be forced to take a different route." Regional aggregators are top of the list. Some have already made the choice to entrust this service to a third party. Others use their own platforms. However, the Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale (Agency for Digital Italy) is readying itself for the revision of the technical standards regarding these platforms in a few months' time, rendering them interoperable and increasing security levels. All of these changes are at odds with a fully public approach to systems management.
But there is also a completely new path that the Code could potentially open up. "The Legislative Decree creates opportunities for greater involvement of private entities in the management of the selection process," says Bondini. Here, he is referring to Article 39 of the decree, which talks about ancillary procurement: these are the activities designed to support the contracting authority during preparation of the tender procedures. It remains to be understood how ANAC, the Italian National Anti-corruption Authority, will interpret this rule, but the article in the Code seems clear: contracting authorities may be helped by accredited central purchasing bodies or by other service providers, including private companies. "We could see a shift towards outsourcing of much of the tender process," continues Bondini.
The PA will remain responsible for publishing and checking the calls for tender. In this sense, it will be important to ensure that the private entities involved in the process are highly-qualified and able to support the development of the public market in a consistent manner. "Portugal, one of the first countries to trial this type of innovative approach,” concluded Bondini, “succeeded in making significant progress, in part due to the fact that only a limited number of certified players were involved in the process."
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IlSole24Ore | A New Code - The role of private stakeholders in digital tender management is growing
"What we see above all from the new Code is that, if we look to electronic platforms, we are preparing to face a period of great dynamism."