ESPD – an instrument facilitating the activity of public authorities and the participation of economic operators in public procurement

Fifty-five participants, including representatives of institutions of control, contracting authorities, economic operators and civil society, have discussed extensively about the ESPD at the European Single Procurement Document – a new instrument in the public procurement of the Republic of Moldova round-table organized by IDIS “Viitorul” on 23 May within the «Îmbunătățiri innovative în sistemul de achiziții publice din Republica Moldova prin incluziune, creativitate și practici de respectare a legislației / Cutting edge improvements in the public procurement system in Moldova through inclusiveness, creativity, and law-abiding practices» Project, funded by the EU through the Civil Society Strengthening Program to Monitor Budget Support Operations, and co-funded by UK Aid from the UK Government.

The ESPD (European Single Procurement Document) allows economic operators to demonstrate compliance with the qualification and selection requirements of a procurement procedure by means of a declaration on their own responsibility instead of certificates issued by other authorities. Only the economic operator whose tender is under examination is obliged ( at the request of the authority) to submit all supporting documents as proof of the information contained in the ESPD. Moreover, in order to facilitate the process, the submission of upporting documents is not mandatory for information and certificates that can be obtained directly by the authorities by accessing other national databases.

The ESPD is an instrument that facilitates the participation of economic operators in public procurement procedures and reduces administrative burdens for authorities, being set up at European Union level through the regulation of the EC no. 7/2016. Under national law (amendments to Law 131/2015), this instrument became mandatory to be used both by contracting authorities and by the economic operators participating in the awarding procedures (depending on their status in that procedure award - candidate, bidder, third party, subcontractor), together with the approval of the standard form by order of the Ministry of Finance no. 177 of 9 October 2018.

In order to streamline the use of the ESPD, it is necessary to remove the ambiguities in the legislation (how to file it, who files it, requesting documents related to the ESPD, etc.), as well as to modify and adjust the ESPD to the existing legislation and to the particularities of the public procurement system. At the same time, it is necessary to develop an instruction with clear indications on how to fill in the ESPD, but also to introduce the usage of the electronic ESPD, steps which will eliminate the multiple filing errors and will reduce the time needed to complete and submit this document.

"Only the bidder ranked first in the interim ranking at the evaluation stage of the submitted bids - according to the award criterion specified in the contract notice, will need to provide the supporting documents indicated in the procurement data sheet in order to prove those details specified in the ESPD" explained, Ecaterina Meaun, Public Procurement Specialist.

The implementation of the ESPD in the Republic of Moldova would bring savings to participating companies in public procurement. For example, in Denmark, the benefits are estimated at around EUR 12 million per year, while in Croatia there was a reduction of 83% in the costs of preparing the bids for the data demonstrating the fulfillment of the requirements.

According to public procurement specialist - Diana Enachi, the ESPD form is a novelty in the procurement system of the Republic of Moldova and therefore needs to be discussed by all actors in order to identify the existing challenges and solutions that would shape the ESPD in an effective tool, and not a burden for contracting authorities and economic operators.

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