As of October 23, 2023, the EU will finally switch to a standard use of so-called eForms. Those eForms are electronic standard forms that can be used to publish notices of EU-wide award procedures for the award of public contracts.
For contracting authorities, this means a departure from the previous practice of using the notice forms in "Tenders electronic daily" (TED) in the Supplement to the Official Journal of the EU. In the future, eForms will become mandatory for contract notices as well as notices of completed procurements. Contracting authorities will then be able to use eForms via the TED platform. Until the actual obligation in the last quarter of this year, contracting authorities can already use eForms on a voluntary basis. The legal basis for the use of eForms is the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1780 of September 23, 2019.
The aim of the changeover to a uniform, electronic procedure is to improve data quality, as well as data analysis.
In the conversion process, in addition to simplification, the aim is to be able to find relevant notices quickly and also to increase transparency vis-à-vis citizens. In addition, administrative expenses are to be minimized and the working methods of the responsible authorities are to be optimized in data-based decision-making on public expenditures.
To ensure the practicality of eForms, a communication process between public procurement decision makers and stakeholders is foreseen during implementation. At the end of the implementation process, the eForms are to be integrated into the eProcurement systems of the member states. In Germany, this coordination is taking place between representatives of the federal government and the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate and the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen. Other key players in the implementation process are the Federal IT Cooperation (FITKO) and the Coordination Office for IT Standards (KoSIT). The following points, among others, are currently being debated in the implementation process:
The question of whether TED is sufficient or whether an additional national platform should be established has already been answered by the establishment of the announcement service (BKMS). TED will continue to exist regardless of the BKMS, so that from October 24, 2023, in addition to the current notices, those corresponding to the eForms will also be available on TED.
Only minor conversion-related effects are expected for public procurement agencies. It is envisaged that the previous specification portals will continue to be usable and that the data to be recorded will also be specified as before. The transmission of such data to the EU Publication Office is also to remain in place. The exact scope of the changes cannot be determined at this time due to the partial obligation to collect certain data and the partial optional collection. The changeover of the awarding portals will be automatic. No significant changes are expected for the bidder side of award procedures due to the continued use of the previous award portals such as TED. Attention should only be paid to whether individual announcement types continue to exist at all after the changeover and what changes may have been made within the eForms.
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