Towards sound public procurement system in Serbia

The project Towards sound public procurement system in Serbia is being realized in the partnership with The Association of Professionals in Public Procurement of the Republic of Serbia, and with support of The Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia.

In December 2016, Serbia has opened Chapter 5 – Public Procurement in the EU accession negotiation process. Despite the legislation, the adopted strategy and other documents aiming to improve the public procurement area and to reduce the possibilities of corruption, the public procurement system is still being considered as one of the major corruption generators by all relevant sources.

This fact is clearly illustrated by the average number of bidders per tender (around 2), indicating low trust in the system by the business sector. The purposefulness of the specific procurements is often questionable (i.e. are the services, goods or works procured really needed in the first place? Have they had any positive effect to public interest?); feasibility of procurements has rarely being considered in the PP planning process (i.e. whether the procured items can be applied at all in a given situation) and the “best value for money” principle has not been recognized as a major factor of sound management of public funds and public needs.

All these factors greatly contribute to significant losses of the already scarce public funds: procurements of expensive and complex software solutions that have never been put in use due to incompatible infrastructure; pavement of the same streets every year due to underground infrastructure works that have not been coordinated between different public enterprises, or great losses in healthcare bills and workload due to the installation of too cheap and inadequate prosthetics devices. No one has been ever held accountable for such negligence. Therefore, the overall objective of this project is reduction of corruption by establishing an efficient public procurement system and accountability in spending of public funds.

The project is being realized in cooperation with the Association of Professionals in Public Procurement of the Republic of Serbia, and the three areas that will be analysed are health, infrastructure and the environment.

Specific objectives of the project are:

1) creation of the synergetic approach for fight against corruption through establishment of a network of CSOs, media, public administration, business associations and regulatory bodies, competent to influence policies and practices in public procurement system.

2) Building CS public procurement monitoring mechanism based on the public interest and the best European practices;

3) Increasing capacities of CSOs and media as well as business associations to monitor Chapter 5 harmonization and inform the experts community and citizens on key findings;

4) Increasing the role of CSO and media in decision-making processes and control over the use of public funds.

RELEVANT DOCUMENTS

Law on Public Procurement

Law on Public-Private Partnerships and Concessions

Public Procurement Development Strategy of the Republic of Serbia 2014-2018

Public Procurement Development Strategy of the Republic of Serbia 2019-2023

Public Procurement Corruption Map in the Republic of Serbia

EC Progress Report on Serbia 2018

EC Progress Report on Serbia 2019

ANALYSIS, REPORTS AND INITIATIVES

During the project implementation, several key documents will be produced:

1) Evidence-based analysis on the effectiveness of the public procurement system in Serbia in accordance with the new EU procurement and concession rules introduced on 18 April 2016 (reducing administrative burden, creating a culture of integrity, addressing societal challenges, and modernising public administrations);

2) Case studies of public procurement in three selected areas – health, infrastructure and environment;

3) Alarm report on current situation and findings in the field of PP in three selected areas – two editions per year;

4) Advocacy initiatives that are to be presented to decision makers and MPs;

5) Increased understanding among CSOs, media and stakeholders of the EU requirements related to the public procurement systems’ effectiveness.

RELEVANT INSTITUTIONS/STAKEHOLDERS