Basic Principles of Public Procurement

Public procurement principles are the basis of public procurement and need to be considered in the public procurement rules. These rule set the frame for the code of conduct for the practitioners or any official directly or indirectly connected with the public procurement process.

As a practitioner, you must have a thorough knowledge of public procurement principles so that you know how and where to apply them in your decision-making processes. As a practitioner, you are a public servant who is bound by an ethical code of conduct and you are accountable for what you do or don't while managing public funds.


Transparency, integrity, economy, openness, fairness, competition and accountability are some of the fundamental principles of public procurement. These are briefly explained below.

Transparency

Transparency is vital in the public procurement process. Information about the procurement should be available to all stakeholders: contractors, service providers, suppliers and the public at large unless it needs to be kept confidential due to legal reasons. When the solicitation document is released it should include all details for the bidders to decide if they are eligible or not to apply.

Integrity

Integrity is twofold in public procurement. The integrity of the procurement process and practitioners. Stakeholders and bidders must be able to rely on the information made available by the procuring entity. They should have a clear understanding of the requirement and evaluation and selection criteria. These must be clearly defined in the solicitation documents.

The integrity in the process ensures confidence in the system. Practitioners working within procuring entities must always work in accordance with the procurement requirement. They must in all times demonstrate personal and professional integrity.

Practitioners who are also considered to be public servants involved in the public procurement process should, always, be perceived as trustworthy, responsible, honest, and reliable.

Economy

The principle of economy highlights the need to manage public funds with care and due diligence so that prices paid for procurement of work, goods, and services are adequate and validate for the public funds spent on them.

All stakeholders should strive to avoid, waste, fraud or abuse of public resources.

Openness

Public procurement requirements should be open to all eligible organizations and individuals and they should have access to the required information for submitting their tenders. This information may not necessarily be available for all requirements due to confidentiality reasons. For these, there are restricted or selective tender submission processes and restrict the availability of solicitation documents only to the qualified organizations. Until the final selection is made the evaluation of offers is kept confidential. Defense procurements are kept confidential and except for these all procurement, results are published on relevant websites.

Fairness

Fairness cannot be defined as treating all bidders the same way in the public procurement process. It is important to understand how fairness is achieved in this process.

It is important to make and take unbiased actions. All offers considered on the basis of their eligibility with the specifications of the solicitation documents and the contract being awarded to the one who best responds to the requirements.

Competition

There shouldn't be any manipulation in the procurement process to fulfill the personal interests of any organization or individual.

The taxpayers' money is at stake, so it is important that all eligible stakeholders should be to submit an offer. The requirements should be available publicly to get a good response and competitively-priced contracts being awarded.

Accountability

In public procurement, accountability means anyone involved in the procurement process is responsible for their decisions and actions with respect to the process.