The term Public eProcurement (electronic procurement in public sector) refers to the use of electronic means in conducting a public procurement procedure for the purchase of goods, works or services.
The term of the Electronic Public Procurement can be defined as the usage of e-Government platform over the electronic resources (Internet and Web-based applications) to conduct transactions for purchasing the products and services from suppliers to authority's buyers.
The following sub-phases of the electronic public procurement process could be identified:
- eSourcing: preparatory activities conducted by the contracting authority/entity to collect and reuse information for the preparation of a call; potential bidders may be contacted, if admitted by the legal rules, by electronic means to provide quotations or manifest interest.
- eNoticing: advertisement of calls for tenders through the publication of appropriate contract notices in electronic format in the relevant Official Journal (national/EU); electronic access to tender documents and specifications as well as additional related documents are provided in a non-discriminatory way.
- eAccess: electronic access to tender documents and specifications as well support to economic operators for the preparaton of an offer, e.g. clarifications, questions and answers.
- eSubmission: submission of offers in electronic format to the contracting authority/entity, which is able to receive, accept and process it in compliance with the legal requirements.
- eTendering: is the union of the eAccess and eSubmission phases.
- eAwarding: opening and evaluation of the electronic tenders received, and award of the contract to the best offer in terms of the lowest price or economically most advantageous bid.
- eContract: conclusion, enactment and monitoring of a contract / agreement through electronic means between the contracting authority/entity and the winning tenderer.
- eOrders: preparation and issuing of an electronic order by the contracting authority/entity and its acceptance by the contractor.
- eInvoicing: preparation and delivery of an invoice in electronic format.
- ePayment: electronic payment of the ordered goods, services or works.
To successfully conduct electronic procurement across borders, eProcurement systems rely on some “key-enablers”
- eSignature: data in electronic form which are attached to or logically associated with other electronic data and which serve as a method of authentication with regard to this data.
- eIdentity: dynamic collection of all attributes, in electronic format, related to a specific entity (citizen, enterprise, or object) which serve to ascertain a specific identity.
- eAttestations (Virtual Company Dossier): set of certificates and attestations, in electronic format, to be provided by a supplier to prove compliance with the selection and exclusion criteria of a procurement procedure.
- eCatalogues: electronic supplier catalogue prospect uses used to prepare and submit offers or parts of them.
- eArchiving: use of electronic means for long-term preservations of documents in digitalised format, ensuring that they can be easily retrieved without conversions.
- Most information on European public procurement can be found at the European Commission web site.
- In addition, the eProcurement forum is a source of knowledge and an exchange platform for eprocurement professionals