Days of chaos and frustration in many state administrations due to new procurement rules that came into effect on January 1. Fear is the one shopping paralysis and tenders or at least their sharp slowdown with cascading problems for the entire market of PA supply companies.
So much so that the president from Anac (The National Anti-Corruption Bureau) had to partially back down on January 10 and extend the old methods until September, but only for public purchases under 5,000 euros.
Protests against the new methods especially from Ordinary, through their association Anci; but also from schools, through unions. “After the entry into force of the new obligations laid down by the Public Procurement Act on the digitization of the contract cycle, schools cannot carry out procurement procedures,” reads a Flc-Cigl note from the last few days.
The point is that the regulations on the digitization of the entire cycle of public procurement entered into force on January 1. Now, PAs calling for bids can only do so through certified digital procurement (PAC) platforms. As Anac explains in a note, “this provision is functional to guarantee a number of services through the national public procurement database, such as legal advertising and transparency of tender documents”, “allowing the transmission of the necessary real-time information as well as the possibility of full use of the economic entity’s virtual file for planned inspections’.
“The new provisions represent a revolution in the world of public procurement, which, after overcoming the initial phase of necessary adaptation, will bring significant benefits in terms of simplification, rationalization and acceleration of procedures with obvious and tangible savings in costs and time”.
So far the benefits. Problem: this transition phase has actually caught many PAs and market players unpreparedalthough Italy has already delayed the entry into force of the changes by six months (first scheduled for July 2023).
Therefore, the entity can now only use certified platforms, i.e. Mepa of Consip (Ministry of Economy and Finance), a region or a platform of a private operator. “Not all private platforms now used by municipalities have adapted to the new rules. They do it in these hours,” they explain from Anci. “Among the regions, only Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany can be used so far. It can also be used by municipalities in other regions, for a fee. But these regional platforms, scaled by resources to serve the municipalities in the territory, strive to provide access for all.”
Of course you can use Mepa, but criticism comes from many quarters regarding the excessive complexity of use. ASL complains about it – on the Appalti&Concontri website: tried for two and a half hours, without success. Especially some have difficulty understanding how to get CIG from the platform, the offer identification code, without which they cannot announce it. Consip posted a video guide “but it’s not complete: after watching it, it took me six hours to do everything,” he explains Antonio Cisterninotechnology manager at the University of Pisa, where he is also a researcher at the Department of Informatics.
Another problem: even if everything is done well, “then you have to wait for Anac to tell CIG; a few days ago you had to wait up to five days. Now the times have shortened, but not completely: before, the CIG release was instant,” Anci explains.
It is now unknown how long the settling times of the system will be; this means that private operators adapt all their platforms used by contracting authorities and that users familiarize themselves with the new methods.
However, below 5 thousand euros, as we said, non-certified methods can be used. “The authority – writes Anac – in order to encourage administrations to adapt to new systems that include the use of electronic platforms and thus guarantee a better transition to digital administration, after consultation with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, considers it necessary to specify in any case that the it will be possible to carry out normal procurement activities in accordance with the goals of digitization, it will also be possible to use the web interface made available by the public procurement of the office – the PCP platform, available at this link available for direct loans for amounts below 5,000 euros until September 30, 2024″.
“This tool represents a supplementary method that can be used in case of impossibility or difficulty in using pads, for the first period of digitalization operation”.
“It should be noted that even in this case, the contracting authority must in any case guarantee the timely transfer of information to the BDNCP by filling in a specific form (AD5) to enable the performance of the functions delegated to it, incl. transparency obligations’.