International conference: Public procurement in Slovenia and the European Union focuses on the relevance of transparent and efficient use of public funding
Public procurement affects our lives significantly which is why the quality of how we implement public procurement procedures is in the interest of us all believe the participant of the International conference Public procurement in Slovenia and the European Union: Ensuring transparency and integrity in the use of public funding. Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy participated in the conference with the selected pilot project of energy-saving renovation of the Trbovlje General Hospital which was subject to EU funds support.
Public procurement makes up about 11% of Slovenia’s GDP with the European Union average standing at 14%. The European Commission decided to launch a project together with the NGO Transparency International which helped form integrity pacts in order to improve how public procurement procedures are implemented for projects receiving European Regional Development Fund and Cohesion Fund support. In the frame of the initiative 17 NGOs participated in 11 EU Member States observing the use of public funding during the implementation of public procurement procedures.
Slovenia also joined the initiative with the pilot implementation of the integrity pact in the frame of the project of energy-saving renovation of the Trbovlje General Hospital. The project is worth EUR 2.5 million of which 40% comes from Cohesion Fund. Energy-saving renovation of hospitals aiming to enhance energy efficiency is an important area in Cohesion Policy implementation is light of the fact that hospitals are the biggest energy consumers in the public sector. The average savings in energy consumption after the energy-saving renovation stands at 50%. The renovation also contributes to improving conditions for one of the most vulnerable groups, namely the patients, and the working conditions for the healthcare staff.
The project was successfully closed with its implementation during the public procurement preparation phase being monitored in the frame of the integrity pact by the independent observer Transparency International Slovenia. This resulted in the civil society being included in monitoring how the public procurement procedure was implemented, in checking if the public procurement procedure conformed with the legislation, ethical rules and provisions of the Pact, and in giving recommendations and proposals of how to eliminate any irregularities.
Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy, Managing Authority for Cohesion Policy in the Republic of Slovenia, is aware that efficient control and transparent monitoring of project implementation is very important. Control and monitoring should be subject to constant improvements in terms of detecting irregularities, errors or potential fraud sooner believes Director of the Managing Authority with the “close cooperation of the involved institutions and exchange of information at all levels of Cohesion Policy implementation being extremely important”. Other speakers at the conference also agreed that the Integrity Pact is a very good initiative. The participants also discussed the state of public procurement in Slovenia. The conference closed with an overview of some of the innovative methods of corruption prevention in public procurement with the help of information technologies.