eNEST automates the checking of information provided by the authorities.

Hansel applied in spring 2016, together with three other organisations, for EU funding for the development of an e-tendering process. This was encouraged by the amendment to the Act on Public Contracts.

As of 18 April 2016, procurement units have had to use the European Single Procurement Document (ESPD), detailing tenderers’ exclusion and selection criteria.

“The new Act on Public Contracts forced organisations involved in tendering to complete paperwork that can be automated as part of an electronic tendering process. For the purposes of this automatisation we applied for – and received – EU funding for the eNEST (Enhanced National ESPD in eTendering) project, the purpose of which is to create an easy-to-use procurement document for buyers and suppliers,” says Timo Rantanen, Development Manager for electronic procurement.

In addition to Hansel, the project includes the Legal Register Centre, KL-Kuntahankinnat and the National Board of Taxes’ Grey Economy Information Unit.

Hanki service to be developed further

Tenderers assure on the ESPD form that matters with the authorities have been taken care of. The procurement units must obtain any necessary information concerning the supplier, such as whether the supplier has been entered in the trade register. This is because the procurement units are no longer supposed to request the tenderers to supply certificates provided by the authorities. Certificates can only be requested from those who have won the competitive tendering.

In Finland, almost all information provided by the authorities can be obtained by procurement units from the authorities’ databases. In practice the Hanki service for electronic procurement will be devoleped so that retrieving information from the relevant authorities’ registers will be digitalised.

“Our target is to create a pan-European procurement document that is as easy to use as possible by the suppliers, but also makes the job of the buyer easier. Procurement units no longer have to seek information from a number of places as the information is collected into the Hanki service from various registers,” says Rantanen.

Results are expected in 2017: “We received the funding decision in October, and our application was the second-best. The project kicked off on 15 December 2016, and we have got off to a good start,” says Rantanen about the timetables.

More fluency in procurement

The eNest project benefits not only Hansel’s customers, but hopefully the entire supplier field in Finland, and generally boosts the development of procurement practices. The supply of information is based on the Population Register Centre’s national service channel, which means that eNest promotes the further implementation of the national service channel and helps develop new kinds of services.

The automation of checking information provided by the authorities is part of the Handi project. The aims of Handi include higher automation in procurement and a reduction in manual work.

“As a result of eNest, existing systems will communicate with each other and retrieve automatically information that previously had to be retrieved manually. Information travels online, and paper certificates are no longer necessary,” says Rantanen, describing the benefits.

“An easy-to-use procurement document will help the work of tenderers and buyers alike,” says Rantanen.