The Ministry of Finance is responsible for generally guiding and directing central government finances and for the development of the financial administration. The Ministry of Finance guides and directs procurement in central government, for instance through the Government Procurement Strategy, by deciding on centralised joint purchases, developing procurement procedures and maintaining responsibility for the general terms and conditions of procurement. Each ministry is responsible for procurement within its respective administrative sector. Central government procurement amounts to EUR 4-4.5 billion annually (excluding infrastructure and defence procurement).
The legislation on procurement specifies the competitive tendering rules for central government procurement. These regulations ensure transparent competition in procurement, equal and non-discriminatory treatment of bidders and efficient use of public funds. The legislation concerning public contracts is prepared by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy.
Goals of the central government procurement function
The procurement service for central government agencies and public bodies must be a coherent and managed entity. The goal is for all procurement to be well planned, efficient and of high quality. In their procurement, agencies and public bodies make use of framework arrangements put in place by Hansel Ltd through centralised competitive tendering.
Joint procurement in central government
Provisions on procurement to be tendered for centrally within government are laid down in the State Budget Act and the Government Decree on Joint Procurement in Central Government. This centralised competitive tendering applies to ordinary products and services and to widely used ICT equipment, software and shared administrative information systems. The products and services covered by the centralised tendering are defined in the Ministry of Finance Decision on Joint Procurement in Central Government. The Decision specifies which products and services in central government shall be procured centrally through competitive tendering. The Decision also specifies the joint procurement unit that will execute the tendering process. The central government joint procurement unit is Hansel Ltd, while Senate Properties is responsible for competitive tendering for construction and renovation contracts for central government premises and properties. The Government ICT Centre is responsible for central government joint ICT systems that are not dependent on any particular sector. The Explorepublicspending service provides citizens and companies with information about gov-ernment spending.
Digitalisation of government procurement
The Handi programme was in place between 23.5.2016 and 31.3.2020. It brought together government procurement professionals to develop the procurement process. The procurement process was developed in its entirety from identifying the procurement needs to the order, payment and reporting.
Objectives for the digitalisation of government procurement:
- Central government procurement will be carried out correctly, efficiently and economically, while also furthering competition on the market among suppliers.
- Procurement will be straightforward, standardised and controlled. Ordering will be easy.
- Contracts will be reviewed as a process from start to finish (from procurement need recognition and competitive tendering all the way to ordering, payment and reporting)
- The digitalisation of procurement will serve to support the actions of central government as a whole as well as the actions of individual agencies, and will produce savings for them.
- The automation rate in procurement will increase and the proportion of manual work will decrease.
- The division of responsibilities in government procurement between the corporate services entities and the agency organisations will be clear and will work well in practice.