Preliminary market consultations help to achieve a greater level of efficiency and sustainability in public procurement
Market consultations are an efficient way for procurers to explain their needs and requirements to potential suppliers, especially in case of such novel approaches as circular procurement, to get knowledge on goods and services available on the market, to ideate possible solutions together with suppliers, to identify a suitable procurement procedure and to outline content of tender documents. A successful market consultation prior tendering leads to a good number of high-quality bids to choose from and to a reduced number of claims related to tender results.
In order to strengthen communication between buyers and businesses and to achieve city’s strategic goals, the City of Kouvola has taken some measures to promote implementation of dialogues with the market in the municipal procurement:
- the Procurement programme of the City of Kouvola 2018 – 2021 sets a goal to increase the number of market consultations per year;
- the Procurement guidelines of the City of Kouvola recommend procurers to engage in dialogues with the market and give some advice on how market consultations can be conducted;
- evaluation of necessity of market consultations is mandatory for all city’s procurement cases exceeding €300 000;
- in order to support city’s procurers, a Procurement Specialist (see another good practice from Kouvola) helps municipal buyers to plan, organise, conduct and document dialogues with the market.
There are mainly human resources needed to draft and approve local strategic documents and guidelines and to run the practice.
Evidence of success
The City of Kouvola started to monitor the number of implemented preliminary market consultations per year in 2019 (after approval of the city’s Procurement programme in 2018). In 2019, market consultations were implemented in 17% or 17 of all city’s tenders. In 2020, the number of market consultations increased. They took place in 32% or 35 of all city's tenders. The city counts public consultations implemented as live events or online meetings (due to COVID-19) towards this indicator.
Potential for learning or transfer
Dialogues with the market are crucial in case of circular, sustainable and innovative procurement as they help procurers and suppliers to understand each other better and to find together best possible solutions. In case of circular procurement, dialogues with the market provide a perfect opportunity to discuss importance of circular economy, to think together on how to promote circular economy in the procurement in question and to consider circular economy criteria to be included in the tender documents. Such topics require mutual learning. It is good to introduce new criteria gradually and via discussion.
Underlining importance of public procurement in general and market consultations specifically in regional and municipal strategies encourages decision makers to consider and apply them as important strategic tools for sustainable development, reducing environmental impacts, strengthening local production, encouraging innovativeness, increasing employment, etc.
Please login to see the expert opinion of this good practice.