- Under the Public Contracts Act, public administration must put out to tender its contracts that exceed a threshold value.
- If your company participates in a competitive bidding process, prepare your offer carefully, following the instructions.
- If you think that your company has been treated unfairly in the process, you can file a claim for a revised decision, an appeal or a request for action to be taken.
- Follow competitive tendering closely and participate in market prospections.
The Public Contracts Act relates to procurement undertaken outside a public entity’s own organisation. Public entities are, the example, the central government, municipalities and their institutions. The Public Contracts Act may also apply to a company if it receives public aid for its procurement worth in excess of half the total value of the contract. Procurement may entail buying, renting or contracting.
Public contracts must be put out to tender if their value is estimated to exceed a specific threshold:
- For national contracts, the threshold value is between EUR 60,000 and 500,000, depending on the contract type.
- For EU contracts, between EUR 140 000 and 5 382 000.
The threshold value depends on the subject of the contract, in other words the procurement type. For example, the threshold value applied to construction contracts is different from the threshold value used in health and social services. In EU contracts, the applicable threshold value also depends on who purchases the products or services.
If the value of a public contract is under the national threshold, this counts as a small contract. These do not need to be put out to tender. The contract may not be artificially split so that it could be kept under the threshold value.
In special sectors, the Act on Public Procurement in Special Sectors applies. Special sectors are water and energy supply, transport and postal services.
Additional information on other websites:
- You will find more information about public procurement on publicprocurement.fi website (in Finnish and Swedish).Opens in a new window.
- The threshold values are available on the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment website.Opens in a new window.
- More information on EU contracts is available on the Your Europe website.Opens in a new window.
Follow these steps:
- Follow the competitive tendering of public contracts on the HILMA websiteOpens in a new window..
- If you find a suitable competition, look carefully at the invitation to tender and its accompanying documents.
- Make your offer in full compliance with the instructions and by the deadline given.
Public contracts are announced openly, and the competitive bidding process is undertaken electronically. All contracts exceeding the national and EU thresholds in terms of value are announced on the HILMA website. Carry out market prospection too, in areas of interest to you.
Large contracts may be divided into smaller parts. In that case, your company can submit a tender for one or several sub-contracts. If your company does not have enough resources to take part in the competitive tendering alone and to manage the contract on its own, you can submit a joint tender with other companies.
Although there is no need to put small contracts out to tender, the government and many municipalities do so anyway. You can see small contracts in the central government’s Hanki service (eTendering tool)Opens in a new window. and the local authority procurement calendars and portals. Small contracts can also be found on HILMA.
You should take into consideration at least the following aspects:
- Make your offer in good time. Familiarise yourself fully with the contract notice and invitation to tender and its accompanying documents
- If necessary, request further information. Remember that you can only usually request further information within a certain, well defined period. This period often ends well before the last day for the submission of tenders.
- Prepare your tender and its accompanying documents precisely and exactly in accordance with the rules and instructions.
- When you have drawn up the tender and other documents, read it through and check it again very carefully. Make sure it reflects the content of the invitation to tender, its accompanying documents and the contract notice. Check that your tender meets the requirements and does not contain anything that has not been requested.
- Remember that your tender will be automatically rejected if it fails to meet all the procedural and content-related rules set out in the invitation to tender. Your tender will also be automatically rejected if it is submitted after the deadline given in the invitation to tender.
The minimum time reserved for submitting a tender depends on the value of the contract. The minimum statutory time limits for contracts with a value exceeding the EU thresholds have been compiled on the hankinnat.fi website (in Finnish). Opens in a new window.
There are no statutory minimum time limits for procurements the value of which is below the EU thresholds. However, the time limit must be reasonable and for example the size and nature of the contract and the time it takes to prepare the tender must be taken into account. The exact time limit for submitting the tender is indicated in the invitation to tender.
As a rule, tenders submitted in competitive bidding processes for contracts with a value exceeding the EU threshold value must be submitted electronically. Read about electronic participation in public competitive bidding processes on the Your Europe website.Opens in a new window.
In competitive bidding processes with a value below the EU threshold value, it depends on the invitation to tender whether it is possible to participate through an electronic service, by email or by sending an application on paper. Participate in the process in the manner indicated in the invitation.
If you use an electronic service to participate in a procurement the value of which is below the EU threshold value, go the website of the service provider in question for more detailed technical instructions on how to submit the tender.
If your company is located in the EU, it can participate in public competitive bidding processes in any EU country.
Who is allowed to participate in the procedure may also depend on the procurement procedure and the terms and conditions on suitability determined in it. A variety of procurement procedures are used in public contracts. The different procurement procedures are introduced in more detail on the Your Europe website. Opens in a new window.
In national contracts, the contracting authority's discretionary power regarding the implementation of the procurement procedure is wider than in EU contracts. However, national contracts must be put out to tender in such a way that the following are taken into account in the procedure:
- equal and non-discriminatory treatment of the tenderers
- proportionality of the requirements set.
The procurement procedure must always be described in the notice on public procurement.
A company may be excluded from a competitive bidding process in some cases. For example, this is possible when a company or its representative has within the past five years been convicted in connection with:
- operation of a criminal organisation
- human trafficking
- tax fraud
- money laundering
- certain labour offences
- failure to pay taxes or social security contributions.
A company may also be excluded from the competitive bidding process if it
- is bankrupt
- has committed a serious error in its professional activities
- has tried to distort competition
- has submitted substantially wrong information in the competitive bidding process
- has improperly tried to influence the decision-making of the contracting authority.
- submit a claim for a revised decision to the procuring authority
- submit an appeal to the Market Court
- submit a request for measures to be taken to the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority
- tip off the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority.
If you believe that there has been a contravention of the Public Contracts Act or the terms and conditions of the invitation to tender in the competitive bidding process, present the contracting authority with a claim for a revised decision. Make the claim within 14 days of the time the decision reached your attention.
You may also file an appeal with the Market Court for a procedural error on the part of the contracting authority. File the appeal within 14 days of the time the decision reached your attention. You can file an appeal if you are party to the matter. For example, this applies to situations in which your company has taken part in a competitive bidding process or in which your company's participation in a competitive bidding process has been prevented due to a suspected procedural error. You will often incur costs if the Market Court hears your case.
You find more information about the appeal procedure on Market Court's website (in Finnish and Swedish).
In general, you should present the contracting authority with a claim for a revision of the decision and the Market Court with notice of appeal at the same time. This is because the 14-day time limit for both will run concurrently. If your claim for a revision of the decision produces a result, you can withdraw the appeal. If, however, the contracting authority does not amend the decision, you can continue to appeal to the Market Court.
The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority supervises public procurements.Opens in a new window. If you suspect that the procurement has not been made in accordance with the Act on Public Contracts, you can submit a request for measures free of charge or tip off the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority.
However, the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority will not take action concerning all of the requests and tip-offs as it focuses its supervision on contracts that have been made entirely without regard to the Public Contracts Act, such as illegal direct procurements.
Your company should carry out market prospection for contracts of interest to it. If you do, you will know in advance about a future contract. You may also present your company and products to the contracting authority.
Market prospection might allow you to have an influence on the details of the actual contract notice. If, for example, the contract is for something big, but your company is small, you could suggest splitting it up into smaller parts. In this way you could focus your offer on just one or a few parts of the competition. That would improve your company’s chances of taking part.
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