With a few exceptions, before public procurement contracts are awarded, there is a period of free competition to win the contract. This phase is launched by the publishing of calls for tender on the portal for public procurement contracts.
The preparation of the bid document and the tendering of the bid itself are therefore key steps in the procurement procedure.
The contract is not automatically awarded to the business (tenderer) which has tendered the lowest bid. During the procedure, the contracting authority (State, municipal authorities, public establishments or associations of communes) considers specific selection and awarding criteria.
Any financial operator may prepare a bid document, and then tender a bid as part of the public procurement procedure. Here, the term "financial operator" means:
who meets the conditions set forth in the tender specifications.
A business may choose between various types of public tendering processes:
The submission criteria are detailed in the tender documents accompanying the public contract notice or are sent directly to the business (procedure without publication). The following information is provided:
Once the business has identified a public procurement notice of potential interest, or been invited by a contracting authority to tender a bid, it must verify whether:
To be eligible, a company must meet the deadlines for submission of the application/tender.
NB: only the arrival date of the tender is taken into account, not the sending date. It is therefore important to consider postal-delivery times.
There are several types of public procurement procedures:
A business must meet all requirements detailed in the tender documents. This documentation defines:
However, since the reason for a rejection will be stated, any business that believes it has been treated unfairly may lodge an appeal.
The bid document allows the business to:
The business may, within a reasonable time limit, request clarifications concerning the contract from the contracting authority. Answers are sent to all participants in the procedure.
Bids may be submitted:
For any contract whose value exceeds the threshold set by the European Union: tenders must be submitted electronically using the Portal for public procurement contracts.
Depending on the procedure, the business must also prove that it has fulfilled its professional obligations by attaching the following documents to its tender:
Where applicable, national and foreign subcontractors must also provide these certificates.
As of 18 May 2022, in the context of a public procurement contract, businesses must issue and transmit electronic invoices which comply with:
However, this requirement only comes into force on:
This requirement does not apply in the case of public procurement contracts awarded:
The tendering authorities and entities must use the Peppol (Pan-European Public Procurement OnLine) network to automatically receive electronic invoices. The network can also be used to automatically issue and send electronic invoices.
A business operator has a range of options in order to be able to issue and send compliant electronic invoices through Peppol:
N.B.: before the obligation to use electronic invoicing becomes incumbent upon business operators, online forms will be made available to them. Hence, business operators who are not yet using the Peppol network can still issue and send electronic invoices. These forms can be used: