Implementation of joint procurements

Government agencies and institutions comply with the joint procurement obligation well, but there are deficiencies in documenting non-compliance. When planning framework agreements, Hansel observes the goals for environmental, economic and social responsibility. However, through joint procurements, it is difficult to promote goals related to innovativeness.

The National Audit Office examined whether government agencies and institutions had complied with the joint procurement obligation applied to them and whether the introduction of the Handi system had supported the automation of financial administration in the case of joint procurements. In addition, the audit examined the operations of the Ministry of Finance as the steering unit of centralized procurement and whether joint procurements had promoted the policy objectives set for public procurements.

The Ministry of Finance steers procurement in central government for example by the state’s procurement strategy and by making decisions on joint procurements. A government agency or institution shall organize its procurement function in such a manner that it applies the agreement competitively tendered for central government by the public sector joint procurement unit Hansel Oy.

Government agencies and institutions comply with the joint procurement obligation well. The audit found only individual cases of non-compliance with the obligation. However, procurement units should pay attention to documenting the special reason that entitles them to non-compliance with the joint procurement obligation in the procurement decisions.

Hansel strives to promote the policy objectives related to sustainability, but it is difficult to promote objectives related to innovativeness through joint procurements. Moreover, the opportunities of procurement units to utilize Hansel’s framework agreements have weakened recently, as Hansel has amended its terms and conditions of participation in these agreements because of the changed decision-making practice of the Supreme Administrative Court. In the autumn of 2019, the state sold part of its shares in Hansel to KL-Kuntahankinnat Oy. This transaction has an impact on the steering opportunities of the Ministry of Finance as Hansel’s ownership steering unit.

At present, the joint procurement obligation does not apply to a major part of joint procurements by Hansel, as the procurements of municipalities are not subject to the obligation. Changes in the operating environment will probably cause a pressure for the Ministry of Finance to redefine the content of the joint procurement obligation.

Public procurements have a significant impact for both the use of tax revenue and market participants. The volume of central government procurements, excluding transport network and defence purchases, amounts annually to EUR 4 to 4.5 billion. In 2019, the procurements of the entire public sector totalled about EUR 35 billion. The value of products and services purchased under Hansel’s framework agreements amounted in 2019 to more than EUR 900 million.