Denmark at the forefront of digitisation of public procurement in Europe

13. May 2015

Denmark at the forefront of digitisation of public procurement in Europe

Denmark will spearhead the standardisation process of digitising public procurement across the EU. Danish Standards and the Danish Agency for Digitisation have managed to win the international secretariat that is to set the framework for common European electronic procurement processes. A kick-off meeting will take place on June 17-18.

The secretariat is a result of a multi-annual European cooperation, and is directly connected to the new EU directive on public procurement requiring that all public procurement of the EU member states must be electronic as from 2018. Digitising of procurement processes should be based on common international standards and open source to ensure the exchange of data of new electronic systems in all phases from invitations to tender to awards of public contracts and procurement. This will form the basis of increased competition and transparency to the benefit of Danish and foreign tenderers who will gain the benefit of reduced transaction costs in addition.

Jesper Jerlang, Director of Standardisation of Danish Standards:

- The cost savings potential is considerable in Denmark alone. Presumably 10 percent of the approx. DKK 300 billion annual public procurement turnover in Denmark make up the transaction costs. The annual public procurement in the EU amounts to approx. DKK 15,000 billion, so the potential for cost savings is large. The fact that Denmark will spearhead the work can turn out to be of great benefit to Danish developers and suppliers of procurement systems for enterprises and public procurement authorities, if they participate in the standardisation work. Participants of the standardisation work will gain early insight into and the ability to influence the development of the standards that will set the framework for a rapidly growing international market for procurement systems in the coming years.

Lars Frelle-Petersen, Director General of the Danish Agency for Digitisation:  

- Denmark is already a pioneer country when it comes to applying systems for e-invoicing and NemID (digital services to the public). Through NemHandel (system for e-trade with the public sector) Denmark has gained good experience with systems based on open standards and open source. Especially on the invoicing area, public authorities have reached various efficiency gains in the handling of the more than 18 million electronic invoices that are processed annually. Accordingly, e-procurement is a natural next step. By heading the standardisation work in Denmark, the Danish conditions to influence all the other e-processes to be standardised will favourable, e.g. electronic products catalogues and contract awards.

Anders Hoffmann, Deputy Director General at Danish Business Authority:

- Cross-border trade enhances growth in the Danish society, and international standards facilitate global trade. As standards will play an increasingly important role, it will become more important for Denmark to exert influence on the development of international standards. Consequently, it has been an evident objective for the Danish Business Agency to win the secretariat for Denmark, and I am very pleased that we succeeded. In our future work we can use our experience and expertise within electronic procurement to influence the development of new standards to the benefit of both Danish enterprises and public authorities.

The secretariat will be partly funded by the Danish Ministry of Business and Growth, the Danish Agency for Digitisation, with contributions from the national standards organisations of Sweden, Norway and Denmark.  

An international kick-off meeting will take place at the premises of Danish Standards, where Danish stakeholders are welcome to participate.

Read more about the committee for e-procurement (in danish).