Flanders is the Northern federated state of Belgium, with Brussels as its capital. The Government of Flanders has been working on SPP since 2008, when it set a target of 100% SPP by 2020 for its own public procurement. Since 2015, SPP became a part of the overall strategy on procurement of the Government of Flanders (Flemish Plan on Procurement).
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The Government of Flanders has been working on SPP since 2008, when it set the target of 100% SPP by 2020 for its own public procurement. During the period 2009-2015 two action plans were adopted with actions towards this target. Then SPP became a part of an integrated strategy on public procurement.
In January 2016 Flanders adopted a plan for a coordinated policy for public procurement, which included a strategic objective of sustainable and innovative procurement. Other strategic goals are:
The policy for public procurement goal of 100% SPP does not apply to the local authorities within the region of Flanders. However, the Government of Flanders does support local authorities in SPP through opening up its framework agreements where possible and by co-financing the SPP Helpdesk for Local Governments, hosted by the Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG).
The Flemish government approved in July 2008 a first Action Plan on innovation procurement for 2008-2014, which focused on procurement needs that require research and development. A pilot scheme on pre-commercial procurement was launched with a 10 million euro budget to co-finance projects coming from 13 policy domains. The policy domains submitted 48 project proposals out of which 15 were selected.
In October 2016 a new Flemish action plan for innovation procurement was adopted for the period July 2016 to December 2019. The action plan is coordinated by EWI (Flemish ministry of economy, science and innovation) in cooperation with VLAIO (Flemish agency for innovation and entrepreneurship).
The new action plan sets a target to dedicate at least 3% of Flemish public procurement expenditure to innovation procurement. The action plan foresees a starting budget of 5 Million euro to kick-start 5 new PCPs and 10 PPIs.
The Flemish Government decided on minimum sustainability criteria for 9 product groups, plus guidance and criteria suggestions on a further 17 product groups. The products purchased must meet these criteria, in order to be able to call their procurement sustainable. Therefore, the Department of Environment, Nature and Energy (DENE) procurers need to monitor and report on the use of the criteria. They’re required to answer three questions before they can allocate the amount necessary to close a contract (the standstill period). These questions are:
The information provided is stored in DENE’s accounting system. Some of the important features of the system are its mandatory reporting requirements and that it also serves to provide information on the criteria and contact information of the helpdesk. In that way, it’s not only a reporting tool, but also provides a means to communicate through the channels which procurers are most accustomed to using.
DENE analyse the data and also check a selection of dossiers to see whether procurers have filled out the information correctly. Assessment is made on whether further action or support is needed. Contact and support for procurers allows Flanders to increase action on SPP by aiming for higher minimum criteria or introducing SPP for other product groups.