About Public Procurement

Public procurement is the purchasing process used by public sector organisations. There are rules governing how this is conducted. Public procurement can also be used to contribute to sustainable societal development.

New rules from 1st of February 2022 

New and simplified rules for public procurement came into effect on February 1, 2022. The new rules apply to procurements below the EU thresholds and to procurements of social services and other special services. Older rules still apply to procurements that have been started before the new rules came into effect.

New procurement rules 1st of February 2022 (in Swedish)
Rules for procurements started before 1st of February 2022 (in Swedish)

Shall safeguard tax funds and ensure healthy competition

Public procurement shall ensure that organisations within the public sector open their purchasing to competition. This is to ensure that tax funds are used as effectively as possible and that businesses within the European Union can trade with public sector stakeholders on equal terms.

For major procurements, which entail a duty to advertise, the public is also given insight into the process and how their taxes are being used. In other words, it is easier to check whether purchases are made for business rather than personal reasons.

Differences between public procurement and private-sector purchases

The procuring organisations finance their purchases with public funds. For this reason, they must abide by stricter procurement rules than private stakeholders. For example, procuring organisations cannot directly contact a previous supplier, or someone recommended to them, when purchasing goods or services. 

A public procurement often takes longer than a private-sector purchase, particularly for major procurements. Depending on the value of the procurement, different rules apply. Minor transactions, so called direct awards, are more similar to private-sector purchases than major transactions, where more procurement rules apply.

Contributing to sustainable development in society

Swedish public procurements amount to more than 800 billion krona each year. This corresponds to almost one fifth of Sweden’s GDP. 

When public procurements are used strategically there is every opportunity to 

  • drive developments to a more sustainable society by demanding socially and environmentally sustainable products and services
  • using suppliers’ capacity for innovation in order to develop new solutions.

Public purchases are subject to certain rules

More or less all purchasing done within the public sector, including rent and leasing, constitutes public procurement and is therefore subject to procurement legislation. Depending on what will be procured and how much the procurement is valued at, different sections of the procurement legislation will be applicable. Even a purchase worth 1 krona is a public procurement as per the legal definition.

How to conduct public procurements

Below is a general description of what a public procurement might look like.