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“Public e-Procurement in Italy: the Consip’s role”. Luca Mastrogregori –E-procurement Strategy Resp. - Consip S.p.A. San Sebastian, Aprile 11 th 2005. Italian Public Procurement Legal Framework - Purchasing above the European thresholds.

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“Public e-Procurement in Italy: the Consip’s role”

Luca Mastrogregori –E-procurement Strategy Resp. - Consip S.p.A.

San Sebastian, Aprile 11th 2005

italian public procurement legal framework purchasing above the european thresholds
Italian Public Procurement Legal Framework - Purchasing above the European thresholds

Italy, as member of the European Community (EU), has adopted, within its regulations (DL 157/95 and DL 358/92), the following EU directives:

  • 92/50/CEE concerning open tenders for public services supply
  • 77/67/CEE, 80/767/CEE, 88/295/CEE concerning open tenders for public goods supply

Within the above frame, three different types of tenders are regulated:

  • open procedures, i.e., national procedures whereby all interested providers may submit a tender
  • restricted procedures, i.e., national procedures whereby only providers invited by the authority may submit a tender
  • negotiated procedures, i.e., national procedures whereby authorities consult the chosen suppliers and negotiate with one or more of them the terms of the contract

In this context, tenders which appear to be abnormally low are regulated by the following articles: 25 DL 157/95 and 19 DL 358/92

italian public procurement legal framework purchasing below the european thresholds
Italian Public Procurement Legal Framework - Purchasing below the European thresholds

When the value of the purchases is less than EU thresholds (154,014.00 € or 236,945.00 €, depending on the kind of contract and administration), the general principles of open tendering are regulated by national laws.

These national laws are specific to each Administration: RD 827/24 (for Central Administrations), DLGS 502/92 (for Health Agencies), DLGS 267/00 (for Municipalities and Provinces).

Central Administrations have also a special regulation - Law DPR 384/01 - for a particular kind of procurement, the so called “purchasing in economy” (that is for purchases up to € 130.000 and where the administration also directly provides with its own resources a part of the work/service/supply), that provides for:

  • “cottimo fiduciario”, when the procurement is obtained from external providers after having asked for at least 5 estimate tenders (RFQ-Request for Quotation). If the spending is below €20.000 procurement may be made from one specific provider.
  • “amministrazione diretta”, when the PA uses its own material/tools and its own personnel
italian public procurement legal framework e procurement regulation
Italian Public Procurement Legal Framework - e-Procurement Regulation
  • In year 2002, the Italian Government has approved and signed an innovative Decree which regulates the use of digital procedures for public procurement. By means of this Decree, public administrations may use digital procedures as a whole or as a partial replacement of steps foreseen in traditional tenders.
  • Two different digital procedures for goods & services purchasing are taken into consideration:
    • on-line auctions, for purchase both above and below the European threshold limit whereby the whole tendering process is managed on-line
    • marketplace, (type B2G) only for purchasing below the European threshold limit
  • To access to these new instruments, enterprises only need a limited equipment (digital signature according to Italian legislation)
  • Italy has been the first EU Country to have an e-procurement regulation allowing purchases above the EU threshold limit, anticipating some of the contents of the “Legislative Package”.
public spending rationalization
Public Spending Rationalization

The financial act 2000 (December 23, 1999 n.488) has laid down the foundations of the “Program for Public Spending Rationalization of Goods and Services”. Article 26 says:

“ The Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), according to the regulations currently available regarding suppliers selection, draws up national frame contracts with providers. Within the frame contract, the selected providers have to accept any order coming from public administrations.”

By means of 2 Ministerial Decrees (February 2000, May 2001), the Ministry entrusted Consip S.p.A. with the development and management of the Program.


National Frame Contract (adopted by Consip) do not fall within the category of Framework Agreement (as defined by the EU legislative Package).

It falls within the general concept of contract since it is not possible to modify or negotiate the conditions of the contract

public spending rationalization1
Public Spending Rationalization
  • The following Financial Acts (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004) streamlined the Program scope and the roles of involved actors.
  • Today, according to the current legal framework:
    • Frame contracts regard goods and services of national interest;
    • All public administrations (e.g. Central Government, municipalities, health agencies, etc.) may purchase within the frame contracts. Alternatively, whenever they run their own tenders, they have to take price and quality of the frame contracts as a benchmark;
    • Within the frame contracts, that specify a maximum amount of sales, selected suppliers commit themselves to accept orders coming from all Public Administrations.

Rationalization Program on Public Spending Objectives and strategies



To guarantee quality standards in P.A. purchases …

  • Focus on “state of the art” in supply market
  • Wide range of goods and services
  • Constant assessment of service levels
  • Direct costs, through:
    • demand aggregation (economies of scale)
    • competition among suppliers
    • product standardization
  • Indirect costs, through:
    • on-line bidding and ordering
    • process simplification
    • centralization of litigation

… while reducing


Rationalization Program on Public Spending - Challenges

  • Change Management in the Public Administration
    • changes in P.A. may face cultural resistance
    • time and cost savings in processes allow re-qualification of Human Resources profiles and operations
  • Industry Dynamics
    • economical and political impact on the market operators, in particular SMEs
    • possibility to develop an industrial policy
  • Quality
    • possibility to obtain better quality
    • difficulty to monitor ex-post the respect of agreed standards (rating firms?)

Rationalization Program on Public Spending

Spending for Goods & Services

Total amount of public expenditure for goods and services sums up to about € 97 billion(*), about 15% of overall public spending and 8.8% of GDP

Other P.A.


Central Government




Public spending for goods and services, 2003 (%)

Local Government


Health bodies


Total = € 96,6 billion

In 2003 the Program’s activity has been covering goods and services for which public expenditure amounts to approximately € 15 billion

* Report on estimated needs for the year 2003 and Consip estimate

Source: Consip estimates

consip task and structure
Consip Task and structure

Consip is a joint-stock company totally and directly owned by the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), and it operates exclusively to serve Public Administrations

Consip’s operations are carried out through two divisions:

  • the DSIT (Treasury Information System Division), with about 300 employees, is in charge of managing the Information System of the Ministry of Economy and Finance
  • the DARPA (PA On-line Procurement Division), with about 180 employees, is in charge of implementing the RationalizationProgram on Public Spending for goods and services
consip task and structure darpa
Consip Task and structure - DARPA


Legal Advice

Staff (Program Mgmt, Monitoring, Innovative Projects, Research Unit)



(Purchasing strategies)

eProc Strategies

(Marketplace management)

eProc Systems

(IT Platform management)

“Marketing” Supplier side

“Marketing” Purchaser side


Industry 1

Healthcare Admin.

Industry 2

Local Authorities

Central Administrations

Industry n

e procurement tools
E-Procurement tools



On line



  • Purchases within frame contract (through traditional tender or on-line auctions process)
  • Direct Purchase
  • Many to one approach
  • Purchase scope:
    • Large volumes
    • Standardized
    • Low price volatility
    • Slow obsolescence
    • Demand aggregation

Development of Frame contract through electronic system

ASP towards other Administration

  • Purchases below the Eu threshold
  • Direct Purchase or RFQ
  • Many to Many approach
  • Supplier defined eCatalog
  • Purchase Scope:
    • Low cost
    • Highly fragmented
  • Automatic Technical and economic offer evaluation
  • Purchase scope:
    • Specialized
    • High price volatility
    • Rapid obsolescence

Above and Below EU Threshold

Below EU Threshold


E-Procurement Portal

On-line services


Public buyer registration

Data & News

Who we are, what we do, what you can buy, how you can buy, Newsletters, Magazines…


Tender publication, supplier qualification for Public Marketplace, ....

On-line orders

Opportunity to buy on line using frame contracts conditions


On line access to public Marketplace

On line auctions

On line access to public auctions

Supplier Area

Information on e-procurement models, correct way to participate to public tender, ...

Specific Market


Data and information on “Client market Area” (Central PA, Health bodies, Universities, Municipalities)


Electronic shops

Operational model


Frame Contracts

(public tender)

and e-shops




Contracts reporting



Monitoring tools

On-line/fax order

Public Administrations




Electronic shops

Operational model

E-shops represent an open window on the web in which goods and services selected through tenders and frame contracts are available to PA procurement offices registered to the Program

Traditional and electronic tenders

Product selection and online ordering

frame contracts process simplification
Frame contracts Process simplification

From the traditional process for goods and services procurement ….

Consip activities

Goods/ Services delivery


Needs analysis

Contract and tender documentation

Supplier selection

Possible litigation with suppliers



Fax / on-line


…to the new process

... achieving reductions of transaction cost for both P.A. and suppliers…


Frame contracts and electronic catalogues Usage and break down by public sectors

Source: Consip estimates

customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction

Customer satifaction Index (1-100) by sector

Evaluation: 1= Very low 10= Very high

innovative e procurement tools on line auctions
Innovative e-procurement toolsOn line auctions

Advantages (vs traditional auctions)

  • Transparency :
    • Each step is recorded;
    • Clearness of procedures;
    • It is not possible to modify data recorded;
    • The procedure can be seen by hundreds of persons
  • Time reduction
    • Automation of awarding criteria evaluation, that can lead to choose to have no Awarding Commission
    • Closing steps (e.g.: notification to participants; signing of contract) can be performed on-line
  • Cost reduction
    • Facilitate participation
    • travel costs

Disadvantages (vs traditional auctions)

  • Tenders can be contended on a minor number of parameters
  • IT equipment required
innovative e procurement tools on line auctions1
Innovative e-procurement toolsOn line auctions

Possible Procurement auction formats:

  • Standard Sealed Bid or one Single Auctions: bidders submit a single secret bid; the person submitting the best bid wins the auction and pays what she bids (pay-as-you-bid) OR the person submitting the best bid wins the auction but pays only the second best bid (pay-as-the-second-best).
  • Descending Auction (English Auction): the price starts high and competing bidders cut the price until no-one is willing to bid any lower.
  • Multiple-Round Descending Auction: multiple round auctions are similar to descending ones; in multiple round the price does not decrease continuously but round by round with a predefined percentage. A multiple round auction is the discrete version of the descending auction.
  • Descending-Clock Auction (Japanese): the price decreases continuously in a predetermined period of time (e.g. 1 hour) in which players do not have to submit bids and they are considered to stay in the auction until they decide to exit. The prize is awarded to the last bidder remained in the auction.
  • Anglo-Dutch Auction: consists in adding a final sealed-bid round (e.g. only for the two best bids) to a descending auction.
innovative e procurement tools on line auctions3
Innovative e-procurement toolsOn line auctions

Base Price:

€ 199,000

Awarding Price:

€ 116,000


€ 83,000

% cost reduction:


N° of competing vendors: 8


Last 10 min.

Best bid at 147,500 Euro




Extension time starts

Best bid at 137,000 Euro




€ M


Tender awarded

Winning bid at 116,000 Euro





8 vendors

7 vendors

6-5-4 vendors

3 vendors

2 vendors
















innovative e procurement tools public administrations marketplace
Innovative e-procurement toolsPublic Administrations’ Marketplace
  • The Marketplace is a virtual market in which any P.A. can select goods and services offered by several suppliers, for purchases below EU threshold
  • The Marketplace is open to qualified suppliers (and goods) according to non restrictive selection criteria
  • The entire process is digital, using digital signature in order to ensure legal compliance and overall trasparency of process

Qualification notice

(public announcement)




Qualified suppliers selected through a qualification process, starting from the date of publication of the “qualification notice”




  • Central Government
  • Universities
  • Local Government
  • Health bodies



Public user


Direct purchase

Request for Quotation

Marketplace: buying options

  • Public users may buy in 2 different ways:
  • making a direct purchase selecting goods and services from the catalogue
  • negotiating the product quality and service levels with qualified suppliers (Request for Quotation), handling on-line the entire purchasing process and digitally signing the order
innovative e procurement tools p ublic administrations marketplace
Innovative e-procurement tools Public Administrations’ Marketplace

Item name

technical specifications (standardized catalogue)

Supplier’s name


public administrations marketplace a snapshot march 05
Public Administrations’ Marketplace:A snapshot (March ‘05)

Product categories

Number of Items:

> 125.000

  • Available
  • Electric material
  • Office equipment
  • IT (SW/HW)
  • IT aid for disabled (HW/SW)
  • Individual protection devices
  • Small laboratory equipment
  • Products and accessories for venous and arterial catheter
  • Stationery and printing supplies
  • Office furnishings
  • Air Conditioning supplies
  • Surgical instruments
  • Phone products and accessories
  • Facility Mgmt Services

Registered Users: >2.200

Active Users:


Performed Transactions (Jan 2004 – March 2005):

5000 (12 Mio Euro)

Registered Suppliers:


p ublic administrations marketplace major advantages
Public Administrations’ Marketplace - Major advantages

To Public Administrations:

  • costs and length of process reduction
  • potential broadening of suppliers base
  • easy access to selected goods (pre-defined quality standards)
  • information transparency and ease of comparison among goods
  • purchases logging and subsequent expenditure monitoring

To Suppliers:

  • higher visibility and broadening of potential customers base
  • selling cost reduction (due to lower intermediation cost)
  • possibility to exploit competitive advantages in local markets (for small and medium sized enterprises)
  • B2G introduction, especially for large sized enterprises, in addition to existing B2B and B2C