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Changes in Polish public procurement law

Public procurement is the process by which public authorities – government departments or local authorities – purchase work, goods or services from companies in the market. Recent changes to the public procurement law brought many improvements.

According to the European Commission, the EU’s public procurement market is worth around 14% of GDP – that is around €2 trillion per year. Furthermore, many sectors, such as energy, transport infrastructure, waste management, social protection and the provision of health or education services, have public authorities as the principal buyers. The public sector can use procurement to boost jobs, growth and investment, and to create an economy that is more innovative, resource and energy efficient, as well as socially inclusive.

The COVID-19 epidemic has raised many challenges. We can anticipate that public procurement will serve as a tool in the coming months or even years for stimulating the Polish and European economies. Entrepreneurs cannot afford to miss this opportunity.

Public procurement is carried out through formal tendering procedures. Its main objective is the protection of competition and ensuring equal treatment of entrepreneurs that are seeking to secure contracts.

Polish Public Procurement Law is an implementation of the European Procurement Directives of 2014. However on 1 January 2021 an amended Public Procurement Law came into effect. The new comprehensive law, passed on September 11th, 2019, replaced the previous that had been in force for 16 years. The new law has brought in a number of improvements to the efficiency of the public procurement system.

The procurement process is fully electronic, allowing bids to be submitted from the home country. But it also requires the bidder to use a qualified electronic signature from a trusted provider that is recognised on the EU market and issues compatible signatures that comply with the eIDAS Regulation.

The bidding structure must be determined before a bid is submitted. Public procurement law does not require the bidder to perform the contract by itself. In deciding the bidding structure, the bidder has the following principle options: it may act as a sole bidder or, if it fails to meet the conditions for participation in the procedure itself, it can support its bid by capacity provided by subcontractors. The bidder may also form a consortium. Once established, the consortium’s membership must remain unchanged throughout the contract’s performance. However, if problems arise with an entity that is helping to meet the conditions for participation, but is not a partner of the consortium and only a subcontractor, it may be replaced by another entity having comparable experience and qualifications.

Our firm’s lawyers are providing a commentary on the new public procurement law at our website The commentary is open, regularly updated and freely available on the Internet without any restrictions and for no charge. It enables the text or an interpretation of a provision to be checked without the need to register. The site also has a consolidated text of the new law. The commentary will also become available in English, during the course of this year.

Mirella Lechna-Marchewka, attorney-at-law, Infrastructure & Public Procurement practice, Wardyński & Partners

The content of this article is a part of Episode 3 of the programme News from Poland – Business & Law. You can watch the episode here >>>

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