Finding business in the public sector
- Why are there rules for public procurement?
- The value of the public procurement governs where notice of the procurement is made
- Notices in electronic databases
- System of choice
- Database registration for receiving information and submitting tenders
- Information on the organisation's website and in newspapers
- Exceptions from publishing contract notices
- Coordinated procurement – framework agreement
Each year, public procurements in Sweden amount to approximately 700 billion SEK. Working together and doing business with the public sector can bring great possibilities for you as a supplier. In order to become a supplier for the public sector, you need to know how to find current public tenders within your business area. You also need to have a basic knowledge of the regulations.
The information on this page concerns procurements in accordance with:
- the Public Procurement Act (LOU)
- the Act on Procurement in the Water, Energy, Transport and Postal Services Sectors (LUF)
Why are there rules for public procurement?
When public entities – authorities, regions and municipalities – purchase goods and services, there is a legal framework that governs the way that public organisations are allowed to do business with the private sector. Amongst other things, the rules exist to ensure that we share a responsibility for our tax money. As a supplier to the public sector, it is therefore good to be aware of the basic principles of procurement and to ensure that you have a basic understanding of the Public Procurement Act (Lagen om offentlig upphandling – LOU) and the Act on Public Procurement in the Utilities Sectors (Lagen om upphandling inom försörjningssektorerna – LUF) legislation. The rules that apply above certain so-called threshold amounts are based on common EU rules, whilst member states are more free to set their own rules for other procurements.
Help to create societal benefits and drive development forward
There is great potential for benefiting society and promoting innovative, sustainable solutions within public procurement.
- The requirements for transparency in the process contribute to competition on more equal terms.
- The requirements in public procurement drive development forward, mainly within the area of sustainability.
- Strict environmental requirements can be challenging, but suppliers can also see the long-term value.
The value of the public procurement governs where notice of the procurement is made
The value of the public procurement governs which rules shall apply; that is, whether it is over or under the threshold amount or the limit for direct agreements.
When procuring above the threshold amounts, the contracting organisation shall publish a contract notice in Tenders Electronic Daily (TED), which is the EU's common database of procurement notices.
When making procurements below the threshold amounts, the contracting organisation shall publish contract notices in an electronic database that is available to the general public.
Notices in electronic databases
In order to become a supplier for the public sector, you need to monitor and stay up to date with current public procurements within your company's business area, and you need to know how to find these.
Within the EU, there is a common publication tool called Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) for publishing contract notices. In Sweden, there is no national procurement notice database. Instead, notices are made through private procurement notice database companies. There are a number of electronic databases on the market that are used by contracting organisations for publishing contract notices both above and below the threshold amounts. Notices over the threshold amounts are also published in TED.
From 1 January 2021, public procurements in Sweden must be published in registered procurement notice databases. These procurement databases register with the Swedish Competition Authority.
System of choice
The National Agency for Public Procurement provides Valfrihetswebben, the national website where all services are advertised in accordance with the Act on Systems of Choice (LOV).
Database registration for receiving information and submitting tenders
It may be a good idea to stay up to date with current procurements by subscribing to a procurement notice monitoring service provided by one of the companies that offer electronic databases.
Notices published in one database may be found in other databases. It is not certain that you as a supplier will be able to monitor all public procurements from a single database, so it can be good to use several databases and monitoring services.
In order to be able to retrieve tender documents and submit tenders for public procurements, you must first register and receive login details for one or more electronic databases. It does not cost anything to register.
"Common Procurement Vocabulary" (CPV) is a classification system for public procurement, using codes for industries, goods and services in order to describe what is being procured. It is an important aid to suppliers and contracting organisations for finding appropriate procurement objects.
Things to keep in mind when searching for CPV codes
When you search for a CPV code for your goods or services, search on a higher category level to include all subsidiary levels.
Information on the organisation's website and in newspapers
Many contracting organisations also provide information about current procurements on their own website and local newspapers.
Exceptions from publishing contract notices
In the case of direct agreements, the law does not require the contracting organisation to publish contract notices. The authority may approach one or more suppliers directly and request tenders. In such cases, it is important that the authority is already aware of your company's products and services. Together with the Swedish Competition Authority, we have produced clear guidelines for direct agreements.
Coordinated procurement – framework agreement
The coordinated framework agreements of contracting organisations represent a considerable share of public sector purchases, and usually run for more than four years. Find out which coordinated framework agreements are relevant to your field of activity and monitor them.
Contracting organisations in Sweden
- 344 government authorities
- 290 municipalities
- 20 regions
- Approximately 3,000 publicly owned companies