In light of the global pandemic, governments across the globe are faced with urgent needs whose immediate coverage is a matter of life and death. Regular public procurement rules, although containing provisions regarding the coverage of urgent needs, do not seem to offer the right tools to address the needs of the present complexity and emergency. On the other side, the supplier market is also changing rapidly with a pace unknown up to now, with known and proven suppliers struggling under economic pressures induced by the pandemic and new suppliers appearing offering innovative solutions. Hence, these unusual and uncertain times call for rare and exceptional measures, and without much ado, governments around the globe have provided them. Common to all approaches is the will to enable public contractors to procure the urgently needed supplies to save lives and contain the pandemic without major bureaucratic hurdles.
In summary, the most common instruments are the acceleration of standard procedures and direct awards. Regarding procurements, which cover an urgent need to contain the coronavirus pandemic (e.g., procurement of respiratory masks, servers or buildings/conversion work to create new hospital beds, etc.), the urgency justifies the implementation of accelerated procedures. For procurements that cover an extremely urgent demand to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and for which even the accelerated procedures take too long, direct awards pursuant the negotiated procedure without a call for tenders are justified. In addition, there is the possibility of extending and expanding existing contracts. Depending on the jurisdiction, there are other specific instruments.
Against that background, Baker McKenzie's public procurement team is pleased to provide you with the COVID-19 Global Guide on Public Contracting, which provides an overview of the measures made available for public contracting authorities in light of the global pandemic.
In this guide, Baker McKenzie lawyers from several jurisdictions share their high-level input on these key questions:
- How so we accelerate standard procedures?
- Are direct awards permissible?
- What other options are available to contracting authorities?