The Finnish Government proposes amendments to the public procurement regime to encourage more sustainable procurements
On 25 August 2022, the Finnish Government submitted a proposal to the Finnish Parliament to reform the public procurement regime for the second time during this government term. The changes are intended to enter into force on 1 January 2023.
The aim of the proposed amendments is to increase the emphasis on environmental, quality and responsibility considerations in public procurements. The main changes include:
- More extensive powers for the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) to intervene in illegal direct awards of contracts (i.e., where no notice is published, and no competitive procedure is undertaken). If the amendment is approved by the Finnish Parliament, as from January 2023 the FCCA would have 12 months, rather than the current 6 months, from the date of the procurement contract to submit a proposal to the Market Court to impose sanctions. Investigative measures by the FCCA would continue to reset the clock for the limitation period, meaning that the FCCA would have up to 12 + 12 months to bring enforcement action against illegal direct awards of contracts.
- Serious environmental crimes would be added to the list of mandatory grounds for exclusion – i.e., candidates, tenderers or subcontractors found guilty of such offences would need to be excluded from the competitive tendering procedure.
- Contracting authorities would need to justify in the procurement decision how quality considerations have been taken into account in the procurement. While this obligation would be merely informative, it aims to highlight the need for contracting authorities to consider quality requirements in the planning and executing of procurements.
- In addition to Finnish and/or Swedish, contracting authorities would have the option of publishing procurement notices in one or more additional languages.
The proposed changes would apply to both national procurements, as well as to those exceeding the EU value thresholds. Similar amendments would be made both to the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts (1397/2016) and to the Act on Procurement and Concession Contracts of Entities Operating in the Water and Energy Supply, Transport and Postal Services Sector (1398/2016).