Coordinated framework agreements in Sweden
In 2010, the Swedish government decided to centralize certain coordinated public procurement activities that up to then had been carried out in ten different central government authorities. The new organization, the National Procurement Services, was established in January 2011. The National Procurement Services is a department within the central government authority Kammarkollegiet. The main task of Kammarkollegiet comprises administrative, legal and financial services to other public organizations.
The task of the National Procurement Services is stated in the government regulation concerning Kammarkollegiet and in the ordinance on coordinated public procurement (1998:796). In short, the task is to offer central government authorities coordinated framework agreements for goods and services of general use. In the area of information and communication technology (ICT), local and regional authorities as well as central government authorities can use these framework agreements.
Central government authorities should use the National Procurement Services framework agreements unless they find other forms of contracts better all in all. If an authority does not wish to use these framework agreements they should notify the National Procurement Services.
The National Procurement Services administers more than 1000 unique framework agreements in mainly the following areas:
- ICT products and services
- Office furniture and office equipment
- Services, hotels and conferences
- Safety and security
- Transport and vechicle
- Other services
There are two exceptions to the task of the National Procurement Services:
- Coordinated framework agreements concerning financial and management systems are supplied by the National Financial Management Authority (ESV).
- Coordinated framework agreements concerning payment services and debt cards are supplied by the National Debt Office (RGK).
The National Procurement Services is financed by fees which are charged by the suppliers in proportion to turn-over. The economic goal is full coverage of costs. Every year, the government decides how the financial results should be disposed. In recent years, the total turn-over derived from these coordinated framework agreements has approximately amounted to EUR 1 billion annually. This can be compared to the total value of goods and services procured by all central government authorities in Sweden which amounts to more than EUR 15 billion annually, or to the total value of goods and services procured by central, regional and local public authorities in Sweden which amounts to approximately EUR 50 billion annually (about 17 % of GDP). These figures are very rough but they might provide a reference as to the economic scope of the national framework agreements in Sweden.
The National Procurement Services has developed a fixed work process in order to safeguard quality in the procurement activities. An electronic procurement system was implemented right from the start, in 2011. Feasibility studies are carried out in cooperation with users, i.e. representatives from central government authorities and, in the case of ICT products and services, regional and local authorities. In the procurement phase, social and environmental aspects as well as the possibility for small and medium-sized enterprises to place tenders are taken into account.
An important part of the work process comprises active contract management. This means that the framework agreements are followed up continuously during the duration of the contracts. The contract managers help the procuring entities to call off from the framework agreements and follow up the terms of delivery in close contact with the users as well as the suppliers. External audits of suppliers are carried out by professional audit firms according to plan. In order to offer structured support to both procuring entities and suppliers, electronic forms have been developed for the call-off process.
The website avropa.se
This website, avropa.se (“avropa” meaning call off in Swedish), is the primary means of communication with procuring entities and suppliers. The website has approximately 1500 visitors daily.