FLANDERS

OVERVIEW

SPP IN FLANDERS

**Winner of the Procura+ Award for Sustainable Procurement of the Year 2018**

Flanders is the Northern federated state of Belgium, with Brussels as its capital. The Government of Flanders has been working on SPP since 2008, when it set a target of 100% SPP by 2020 for its own public procurement. Since 2015, SPP became a part of the overall strategy on procurement of the Government of Flanders (Flemish Plan on Procurement).

SPP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Strategic and coordinated policy for public procurement with SPP as one of the strategic objectives
  • Minimum criteria for 9 product groups, plus guidance and criteria suggestions on a further 17 product groups (in cooperation with the federal government and other regions)
  • Framework agreements integrating social and environmental clauses are open for local authorities (where possible)
  • Set up of a contract management system and a reporting system for all public procurement in the government administration
  • Climate plan for the Government of Flanders with focus on transport (smaller and more efficient fleet / decrease of kilometers driven) and energy use (more efficient buildings and infrastructure / increase of Green Energy use)

      6.5m

      Population

      41,000

      Employees

      2017

      Date joined

      CONTACT

      Els Verwimp

      Policy contributor

       

      WEBSITE (Dutch)

       

      More information? Email procurement@iclei.org  

      IN ACTION

      SPP POLICY AND STRATEGY

      The Government of Flanders has been working on SPP since 2008, when it set the target of 100% SPP by 2020 for its own public procurement. During the period 2009-2015 two action plans were adopted with actions towards this target. Then SPP became a part of an integrated strategy on public procurement.

      In January 2016 Flanders adopted  a plan for a coordinated policy for public procurement, which included a strategic objective of sustainable and innovative procurement. Other strategic goals are:

      • professionalisation of public procurement
      • increasing SME participation in public procurement
      • achieving end-to-end e-procurement
      • enhancing integrity in public procurement
      • using procurement as a tool for strategic projects

      The policy for public procurement goal of 100% SPP does not apply to the local authorities within the region of Flanders. However, the Government of Flanders does support local authorities in SPP through opening up its framework agreements where possible and by co-financing the SPP Helpdesk for Local Governments, hosted by the Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG).


      INNOVATION PROCUREMENT

      The Flemish government approved in July 2008 a first Action Plan on innovation procurement for 2008-2014, which focused on procurement needs that require research and development. A pilot scheme on pre-commercial procurement was launched with a 10 million euro budget to co-finance projects coming from 13 policy domains. The policy domains submitted 48 project proposals out of which 15 were selected.

      In October 2016 a new Flemish action plan for innovation procurement was adopted for the period July 2016 to December 2019. The action plan is coordinated by EWI (Flemish ministry of economy, science and innovation) in cooperation with VLAIO (Flemish agency for innovation and entrepreneurship).

      The new action plan gives further detail to the strategic objective of sustainable and innovative procurement, including a target to dedicate at least 3% of Flemish public procurement expenditure to innovation procurement. The action plan foresees a starting budget of €5m to kick-start 5 new PCPs and 10 PPIs.


      KEEPING TRACK OF SPP

      For the most important elements of sustainable public procurement, the Government of Flanders is able to report through its contract management system eDelta on the extent to which the objective has been achieved. Setting up such a system is time-consuming, but finally, from January 2018 on, a core group of organizations within the Government of Flanders has to log the information on all their procurement from €30.000 up in eDelta. The information on sustainability is gathered by no less than 9 different mandatory questions on environmental aspects, social and ethical aspects and innovative procurement, thus taking into account the huge possibilities and differences in real life practice. The questions are:

      • Use of essential sustainability criteria [1]: entirely integrated in the tender document / not or partially integrated in the tender document / the procurement doesn’t concern a product group for which essential criteria were defined
      • Use of other sustainability criteria: one or more other sustainability criteria in tender document / No other sustainability criteria in tender document
      • Certificates on environmental management required: relevant and in the tender document / relevant but not in the tender document because of specific reasons / not relevant
      • Access limited to social economy enterprises: yes / no
      • Part of the contract performance phase reserved for social economy enterprises: yes / no
      • Use of a social clause in the tender document aimed at employment, education and training …: yes / no
      • Use of ethical clause: relevant and in the tender document / relevant but not in the tender document because of specific reasons / not relevant – Procurement doen’t concern good with high risk
      • Innovative procurement: the innovation is situated in a precommercial phase of research and development (PCP) / the innovation is situated in both the precommercial as the commercial phase / The innovation is situated in the commercial phase ( (PPI) / there’s no innovative aspect

       

      The contract management system builds on a system that has been in place in the Agency for Roads and Traffic. Furthermore, the Energy and Spatial Development Department did a small scale test on monitoring of SPP from 2012 until 2018 in order to integrate the lessons learned in eDelta (read more on this here .

       

      From 2018 on, the Government of Flanders has focussed on getting everyone on board with the use of eDelta in order to get complete and good data. This is an important step to take before using the data. Now, the Government of Flanders has entered a new stage. It was a deliberate choice to work with 9 questions. This approach gives a lot of information, but also poses a challenge on the question ‘what is a sustainable procurement’. This question will be answered in the next months. The goal of the Government of Flanders is to build a reporting format that allows both to follow up on the % of sustainable procurement and to detect interesting best/new practices within its organization.

      Although there is no periodic or fixed reporting on SPP yet, based on limited analyses on the data from eDelta, there are clear indications that the entities of the Government of Flanders have paid a lot of attention to making public procurement more sustainable. This gave a first, more qualitative, insight in the activities of the procurers.

       


      [1] The Government of Flanders uses minimum sustainability criteria for 9 product groups, plus guidance and criteria suggestions on a further 17 product groups.