A contracting authority carries out a public procurement procedure when it does not have the capacities to supply the goods or services by itself and the value of the procurement exceeds the legal thresholds. The aim of the procedure is to choose the most advantageous supplier, service provider or contractor for the execution of works and, at the same time, to ensure an economical, efficient and transparent use of public funds.
According to the relevant Slovenian legislation, the liable parties for public procurement (contracting authorities) are the following: authorities of the Republic of Slovenia, authorities of self-governing local communities and other bodies governed by public law, including public funds, public agencies, public institutes and public utility institutes, and other legal entities which are established for the specific purpose of meeting needs in the general interest, not having an industrial or commercial character, and which are financed, for the most part, by state or local authorities or by other bodies governed by public law or which are subject to management supervision by such authorities or bodies.
Contracting authorities also include public undertakings which pursue activities in the field of infrastructure and other entities which pursue activities in the field of infrastructure and were granted special or exclusive rights by a state authority.
Other entities which are not liable parties for public procurement also need to follow public procurement rules if the contracts are subsidised or co-financed by contracting authorities and the conditions referred to in Article 23 of the Public Procurement Act are fulfilled.
Strategic public procurement: social, environmental, innovative and other aspects
Public contracts are an important factor for economic growth. They can have an impact on market production and supply and can also be a valuable tool for achieving strategic goals and goals pursued by secondary policies (for example environmental, social and sustainable policies and research and development).
The use of more strategic approaches in public procurement is promoted among contracting authorities and tenderers. Their advantages are numerous, including savings, better quality, price standardisation, enhanced economic efficiency, access to new suppliers, the creation of partnerships with suppliers, the promotion of an innovative environment for a high economic growth and the promotion of socially responsible management. It is encouraged to take into account the total costs (i.e. the life-cycle costs) and to include other criteria and additional requirements in public procurement that bring added value for the contracting authority and the wider community.
Buying Social. A Guide to Taking Account of Social Considerations in Public Procurement was published by the European Commission in 2010 to address the social considerations of strategic procurement. Its purpose is to raise contracting authorities’ awareness and explain how contracting authorities can take into account social considerations within the limits of the public procurement legislation.
In 2021, the European Commission published an updated 2nd edition of the Handbook Buying Social - a guide to taking account of social considerations in public procurement.