The digital transformation of public procurement is one of the strategic objectives of the Italian and European Digital Agenda. The target is the simplification, digitisation and transparency of the awarding procedures, in accordance with the logic of a Digital Single Market. AgID acts in a coordinating role of the central bodies, seeking the conditions that will enable the development of e-Procurement.
e-Procurement will positively impact on contracting Authorities (over 30,000 in Italy), the economic operators that participate in tender procedures, the Central Bodies that have coordinating and monitoring roles as laid down by the Italian Code of Public Contracts and the providers of services to the public administration. According to the estimate of the ‘Osservatorio del Politecnico di Milano’, this could bring savings of between 6 and 13.5 billion euros a year for every 100 billion euros of public spending.
The transformation of public procurement requires the definition of digital processes in the management of a tender procedure. The preparation and publication of the call for tenders, the submission of the bid and the awarding of a tender are separate phases in the awarding procedure, culminating in the stipulation of the contract. The execution of the contract is a macro-phase following the awarding and requires the purchase order of the Public Administration, the delivery of the start-of-work notification by the supplier, the issuing of an electronic invoice and the subsequent payment by the public body.
Digitizing all these phases requires the selection of the electronic format for business documents, along with the protocols, in order to guarantee data interoperability, both at the national and European levels, in line with the Digital Single Market, and to pave the way for economic operators to take part in tenders issued by the public bodies of other Member States.
The digital transformation of the phase before the tender is granted, including all of the pre-contract formalities, will simplify procedures and make the participation of economic operators easier, thereby increasing competitiveness and benefitting the State. The digitization of the subsequent phases is vital in order to monitor public spending and ease payment flows to suppliers.
The approach identified by AgID, in agreement with other stakeholders, is to identify systems and infrastructure that allow the creation of a Data Driven model, that is, a framework within the national system, based on the once-only principle (citizens and enterprises share their data only once with administrations, which can then share them through processes of interoperability). The public administration and enterprises can then take part in processes guided by an assessment of the data exchanged through the various tender phases.