Could the COVID-19 be grounds for streamlining or simplifying acquisition procedures?

COVID-19-related events will enable Contracting Public Entities to adopt streamlined and simplified acquisition procedures. The urgent acquisition of goods and services necessary to control and tackle the pandemic is  subject to an exceptional regime, whose terms and conditions will be determined by the Head of the ministerial department in charge of public finance (article 30 of the Presidential Decree no. 128/20).

The same article establishes that essential goods and services, such as medication, hospital material, biosafety material and other essential material, may also be acquired through a simplified procedure, whose terms will be determined by the head of the ministerial department in charge of public finance, as well. 

The exceptional regime mentioned in article 30 of the Presidential Decree no. 128/20 is provided for in the Executive Decree no. 153/20 of 17 April, of the Finance Ministry, which established the following measures:

  1. Adoption of a simplified procurement procedure, on the basis of the material criterion of extreme urgency, with provision being made in this connection for a number of additional simplification measures such as waiving requirements applicable to procedural documents, waiving of qualification documents or waiver of the necessity of a written contract;
  2. Modification of the limits of competence for expenditure authorisation;
  3. Removal of the limit to additional works;
  4. Possibility of advance payments by the Contracting Public Entities;

 

Does the current context have an impact on the deadlines of ongoing public procurement procedures?

While its scope has been restricted to procedures related to the process of preventing and combating COVID-19, Executive Decree 153/20 provides, in article 5, that the deadlines relating to all ongoing public procurement procedures should be considered suspended, with effect from 27 March 2020, for the duration of the State of Emergency.

 

Can I withdraw a bid already submitted in a public procurement procedure claiming that because of COVID-19 I can no longer meet the requirements to which I am bound?

The disruption caused by COVID-19 could be grounds to release the bidder from the bid submitted provided that it is duly justified (such disruption must be an event which the bidder was not required to be aware of at the time of preparation of the bid and that demonstrably renders performance impossible or excessively burdensome).

 

 

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This information is being updated on a regular basis.

The information provided and the opinions expressed herein have been prepared with the help of VdA Legal Partners and are of a general nature. They are not in lieu of appropriate legal advice in connection with specific cases.