New European single procurement document to be introduced
On 26 January 2016, the European Single Procurement Document (ESPD) will be introduced.
The ESPD is a standardised document that focuses on self-declarations by tenderers in respect of mandatory and discretionary exclusion questions and selection questions. It provides a means for tenderers to prove the absence of grounds for exclusion from a tender and is aimed at reducing administrative red tape for tenderers. Only successful tenderers will need to submit documentation proving that they qualify for the contract.
The preamble to the Implementing Regulation states, "The ESPD should also contribute to further simplification for both economic operators and contracting authorities and entities by replacing various and diverging national self-declarations with one standard form established at the European level." The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) is in the process of discussing the most suitable option for ensuring that government's guidance and standard documents on selection are aligned with the ESPD.
Under Regulation 59 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, all contracting authorities must accept the ESPD as preliminary evidence that the tenderer does not meet the conditions for exclusion and meets the relevant selection criteria for the contract opportunity.
A Procurement Policy Note and accompanying guidance from the CCS is anticipated shortly.
In the meantime, the Government has advised that the advice in PPN03/15, the supplier selection guidance and the standard pre-qualification questionnaire template should be used until the publication of the Government's policy and guidance on the aligned ESPD/PQQ.
The ESPD must be provided exclusively in electronic form (see regulation 59(7) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015) so a free, web-based system is being developed to facilitate this. However, the rules on e-communication are being phased in with the mandatory obligation to use only electronic means of communication applying from 18 October 2018 so, in the interim, the ESPD may be printed, filled in manually, scanned and sent electronically.
The ESPD will apply across Europe from 18 April 2016, being the latest date for member states to implement Directive 2014/24/EU (which was transposed in England and Wales in the form of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 last February).
If you require further information please contact Simon McCann, below.