The Court of Auditors has detected “very significant” incidents in public procurement in recent years, both in the phases of preparation and awarding and execution of state sector contracts, which cast doubt on the fact that it is being signed with the best bid up for grabs
This is a summary report of previous audits by the Court of Auditors on public procurement in the years 2020 and 2021, mainly service contracts and, among them, those related to security and cleaning, fundamentally. In total, the Tribunal includes the inspection of more than 700 contracts with an accumulated cost, according to the award import, of 1,652.6 million euros.
The scope of the audit refers to all public sector entities, thus including the General State Administration and its dependent bodies and entities, as well as entities from the public business (financial and non-financial) and foundation sectors. , and to the administrations, entities and organizations belonging to the regional and local sectors.
Breach of the rules
In its examination, the Court has detected numerous “very significant” incidents, which are those that have involved a “substantial breach” of the rules that entail that the contracts “were not awarded to the best bidders” or that there was a “high risk ” “That such a thing would have occurred.”
These incidents are detected in all phases of contracting, beginning with the preparation of the contracts and the selection of the contractor. In this section, the formulas established to assess the price are questioned, where deficiencies are appreciated that “could distort the importance of this criterion”, which could lead to the choice of an offer that is not the most economically advantageous and to violate the equal treatment of the bidders.
“Lacks of coherence” have also been detected between the weighting given to the price criterion and the higher value that, de facto, was given to the improvements consisting of the offer of the companies awarded a bag of free hours.
There is also an impact on “inadequate and deficient” planning of contractual needs, as it did not start sufficiently in advance, or it was not processed with due diligence. He understands that according to this, the execution of contracts was prolonged “irregularly” by continuing to provide the service, in some cases “without the need for contractual coverage.”
The Court has remarked that the supporting reports of the contracts cannot determine, with “detail and precision”, are the real needs to be satisfied with the provision of the object of the contract. Likewise, it has installed “extreme rigor” in the planning phases prior to contracting, to thus ensure correct budgeting of contracts and the best selection of contractors.
The “very significant” incidents have also been seen in the contract award and formalization phase. It highlights the tenders carried out by negotiated procedure without publicity and without respecting the legal requirement that the minimum number of invited candidates to participate is three. An incorrect application of the award criteria has also been detected, given the evaluation of the offer that “obvious” that it is not consistent with the technical specifications of the contract; in addition to “insufficient motivation” both for the exclusion of one of the bidders and for the score awarded.
Already in the execution phase of the contracts, the Court detects incidents both in the modifications not provided for in the Particular Administrative Clauses Specifications (PCAP), as well as in irregular extensions of the contracts, giving rise to situations of continuation of the provision and payment for services not covered by a contract in force.