Poland missed the 18 May deadline set by the European Commission to put into force the Public Procurement Law implementing in Poland the EU Directive from 2014. Poland's laws have still not been amended to reflect the far-reaching changes in the Directive. Public procurement and the way it works in practice in Poland has been heavily criticised by foreign - and Polish - business.
While the Directive provides some legislative answers, there are still many questions that contractors bidding for public-sector projects feel have been left unanswered. These include:
Conditions for participating in the bidding process
Potential of third parties named in bids, resulting in trade in references for sub-contractors
Criteria used by procuring parties for assessing bids
How to deal with the problem of extremely cheap bids
There is a concern that the level of professionalism among those responsible for procurement of large infrastructure projects in Poland is still low. Training and professional qualifications are part of the answer. This meeting addressed the main issues concerning the amendments to the law, asking how standards can be raised so that the Polish taxpayer receives the best value for money in the long term.
The event was opened by Ewa Veenendaal Rawicz, head of the UKTI team at the British Embassy, after which Duncan Brock, the group customer relationship director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply spoke about the key challenges facing the procurement function worldwide.
Whilst Poland still does not have the new procurement law in force, there is a draft, which was discussed by lawyers Katarzyna Kuźma and Wojciech Hartung from Domański Zakrzewski Palinka. They focused on the practical repercussions on suppliers that are likely to arise when the new law does come into force.
Best practices in public procurement from around European were showcased in a presentation by Mariusz Turek from Profitia, after which a panel of experts moderated by Łukasz Rozdeiczer, CIPS’s country manager discussed the main issues. The panellists were Duncan Brock, and Wojciech Hartung, joined by Łukasz Mazurowski, the managing partner of Profitia and Krzysztof Kwiatkowski, the president of Poland’s supreme audit office, NIK.
There was a chance for further discussions and one-t0-one with the speakers at a networking lunch at the Embassy.