Digital public procurement today is still facing challenges related to lack of quality data, insufficient sharing and re-use of data, inability to match related data from different databases and systems preventing effective data-driven decisions. Shortage of skills that could leverage emerging technologies for advanced analysis of the data available is also a show-stopper.
Against this backdrop, AGID recognised the need to have a common European approach that could address some of these challenges that many EU countries are also facing. In October 2020, AGID submitted the first Italian proposal to the ISA2 (Interoperability Solutions for European Public Administrations) Committee, the eProcurement Analytics initiative, which identified the key components for a EU-wide solution. The proposal was approved and, as a result, the European Commission has launched a pilot to implement it.
The initiative is coordinated by the European Commission in collaboration with AGID (Italy) and the pilot members including ANAC (Italian National Anti-Corruption Authority), Consip (Italian national purchasing body), and IMPIC (Portuguese Institute of Public Procurement, Real Estate and Construction) acting as data providers. The objective of the pilot is to establish a common framework and infrastructure for monitoring public procurement in the EU, through a set of analytical services and tools based on a common data model, in order to foster effective government spending, active common policy-making and competitiveness.
In particular, existing data in different formats (Open Data (csv) from the ANAC BDNCP – the Italian National Database for Public Contracts; RDF data from Consip, and Json OCDS from IMPIC) together with data from TED (Tenders Electronic Daily) are being harmonised, mapping them to the eProcurement Ontology. TED publishes 746 thousand procurement award notices a year, including 235 thousand calls for tenders which are worth approximately €545 billion. The data analytics tools to be developed will be made available and will allow for a more granular analysis and monitoring. These data will be used to carry out analysis to ensure a better understanding of market dynamics in the European public procurement context and also improve operational aspects of digital procurement.
“This pilot puts Italy at the forefront of the developments in the European digital public procurement context. We should be very proud of the significant effort being made in particular by the Italian data providers, ANAC and Consip, that through this pilot are paving the way for the establishment of the European Data Space for Public Procurement”. – stated Carmen Ciciriello, CEO, Celeris Group.
The Pilot represents the first implementation of the EU Public Procurement Data Strategy (as already foreseen in the European strategy for data) focused on the development of an infrastructure where data from various sources, such as TED and Member States’ systems are harmonised and then made available for re-use and analysis. In a first development phase, the European Commission is planning to use data from TED as its main data source, taking into account the migration from the current standard forms to the eForms, the new standard for sending notices to TED. The eForms have been introduced through the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1780 that will mark a major improvement in terms of data quality and will become mandatory from October 2023.
The European Commission is monitoring the developments in Member States and has established the eForms subgroup within the Expert Group on eProcurement, which is led by French representatives and DG GROW.