Central government procurement procedures

Every year central government buys goods and services worth over €10 billion. In doing so, it always takes account of the impact on people, the environment and the economy, and requires its suppliers to do the same. Businesses can view information about central government procurement procedures online.

Central government wants its procurement procedures to be sustainable and innovative, and have social impact. It also seeks to ensure maximum transparency for suppliers, at every stage of the process. From the information provided about contracts to the final invoicing for the goods or services supplied.

The procurement process

This animated video about improvements to the procurement process shows what central government has done in recent years. The central government procurement strategy ‘Procurement with Impact’ provides more information about sustainable purchases that also have social impact. The Denk Doe Duurzaam website presents practical examples and explains the procurement strategy objectives in more detail.

Central government transparency in procurement procedures

Transparency on the part of central government strengthens public trust in democracy. That’s why central government actively engages in dialogue with its partners. Market consultations are one example. In the case of contract award procedures, central government enters into dialogue with suppliers. This openness increases the chance that the bids central government receives for its contracts will have the best price-quality ratio and make the best contribution to a more sustainable, social and innovative Netherlands.

Viewing central government procurement plans online

Businesses can view information on central government procurement procedures online. This includes the following documents:

  • Category plans: These explain central government’s long-term strategy for each procurement category.
  • The central government procurement calendar: This sets out which central government contracts in each procurement category will (or may) be put out to tender over the coming period, and when. The calendar is updated every quarter.
  • Central government contracts: This overview sets out the nature and duration of current central government contracts, and when they will be renewed. It is updated every three months (in March, June, September and December).
  • Central government expenditure: This shows, by ministry, the goods or services for which there is demand, and whether demand is increasing or decreasing.

These documents enable businesses to prepare for contract award procedures and submit their tenders on time. Once a procurement procedure has closed, businesses can see which supplier has been awarded the contract. They can also see the annual expenditure for each procurement category and supplier. This enables them to make new plans.

Input on central government procurement procedures

Businesses can provide input on central government procurement procedures at various times. For instance, talks are often held with suppliers (in the form of a market consultation) when new plans are drawn up for the various procurement categories. This enables new ideas and developments to be taken into account. In principle, all central government procurement is designed to enhance sustainability, social impact and innovation.

Talks are also often held with suppliers before a framework agreement is concluded. Or if central government needs to conclude a call-off contract under a framework agreement. A framework agreement is concluded between the client (in this case central government) and the supplier for the delivery of a product or service for a fixed period and subject to agreed prices and conditions. During such talks, central government asks suppliers to explain their bids.

Tendering for central government contracts

Central government publishes nearly all its procurement procedures online. Businesses can submit a bid for central government contracts via TenderNed.

Electronic tendering simplifies contract award procedures and saves time and money. For instance, it means companies only have to enter their details once. This makes it easier for businesses to bid for contracts. And the authorities have more and better tenders to choose from.

EU contract award procedure

An important factor is whether the value of a contract is above or below the relevant EU threshold. If the value is higher, an EU contract award procedure is required. Such procedures must be conducted fully digitally. Central government announces these contracts via TenderNed. These procedures are also listed in the central government procurement calendar.

National contract award procedures

If the contract value is below the EU threshold, EU contract award procedures are not required. National contract award procedures are listed on PIANOo.nl. In most cases, central government will approach the suppliers itself.

Transparency during contract performance

Central government also strives for transparency during the performance of a contract. In this phase, too, the supplier and central government will keep a close watch on each other to ensure that the agreements made are complied with and that sustainability, social impact and innovation targets are met.

Electronic invoicing

When awarding contracts, central government requires businesses to use electronic invoicing. This simplifies the invoicing and payment process. It also reduces the administrative burden for businesses. Suppliers can consult the e-invoicing guide to learn how to send an electronic invoice to central government.