Public procurement guide provides roadmap to in-house

In-house counsel with responsibilities around public procurement can now reach for a guide that will provide a snapshot of the requirements in Europe and 20 other countries around the world.

The International Public Procurement Guide for In-House Counsel is a 74-page guide developed by the International Technology Law Association’s in-house counsel committee.

“The great utility of the guide is that it provides you with a flavour of what the procurement regime is like in a particular country, says John Beardwood, president of ITechLaw and a partner with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP in Toronto. “You can go into a discussion knowing what questions to ask. The procurement regimes in some countries can be somewhat arcane, so getting a first glance at a briefing note is very useful.”

The guide reviews public procurement requirements with the goal of assisting in-house lawyers in deciding how to proceed with procurements in other jurisdictions and helping them avoid pitfalls in local procurement law.

“We developed this guide to help in-house counsel who find themselves in the difficult situation of being asked to advise on the procurement legal context for jurisdictions for which they lack even a basic understanding of local public procurement requirements,” said Christian Ringeling, international counsel with MicroStrategy, the guide’s editor.

“This situation arises because it’s not cost-effective for most companies either to maintain a staff of in-house counsel with procurement expertise in every applicable jurisdiction, or to engage applicable legal expertise from external qualified local counsel in the initial phase of a public RFP review. The ITechLaw guide is intended to fill this gap and provide in-house counsel with helpful roadmaps through unfamiliar territory.”

The guide also points out the effects a country’s political structure, history, or social/cultural challenges have had on its public procurement legislation.

Often history has influenced current processes, says Beardwood. For example, in Ontario the current procurement regime emerged as a result of concerns around the eHealth scandal and Smart Systems for Health scandal that followed.

“It was really those sorts of instances that led to the development of a more structured procurement regime here. Public procurement principles are developed to effectively ensure that when the public sector is procuring goods and services they do it in a fair and even handed way,” he says.

The guide covers the legal fundamentals of public procurement law for a country so lawyers unfamiliar with local requirements can brief themselves quickly. Each section has been prepared by lawyers in public procurement law from that country. Links to contract templates are also provided, as are references to local law specialists (the authors) if further information is required.

With members in more than 60 countries, ITechLaw is a worldwide organization for legal professionals practising in the global technology sector. About 85 per cent of members are private practitioners and 15 per cent are in-house counsel, academics, and government lawyers.

The procurement guide is now available to ITechLaw members, and it will be offered to all as a public service in April at no charge.

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