Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Action 23: Provide guidance on ICT standardisation and public procurement

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The action aims at issuing a Communication to provide guidance on the link between ICT standardisation and public procurement to help public authorities using standards.

The Commission has drawn up detailed guidelines on how to make best use of ICT standards in tender specifications. The Commission also issued in June 2013 a Communication on standardisation and public procurement.

What is the problem? Vary specifications for tenders on public procurement

Public authorities should make the best use of available standards when commissioning hardware, software and IT services from external suppliers. Yet, the practices of public authorities across the EU vary greatly when it comes to writing tender specifications for public procurement. In some cases, public authorities find themselves unintentionally locked into particular IT solutions for decades, simply because they failed to draft sufficiently flexible tender specifications allowing for open choices in technological evolution.

Why is EU action required? Public authorities lose out

The Commission has drawn up detailed guidelines on how to make best use of ICT standards in tender specifications. For instance, public authorities should select standards which can be implemented by all interested suppliers, allowing for more competition and reducing the risk of lock-in (See also action 26).

What has the Commission done?

More specifically, the European Commission:

In 2011:

In 2012:

In 2013:

What will the Commission do next?