New Rules for Awarding Public Contracts

Czech Republic: New law in force from 1 October will also have impact on pending procedures

The new Public Procurement Act assumes that tender procedures which started before 1 October will be brought to completion under the current Public Procurement Act, as will potential later reviews of those tender procedures. Newly commenced procedures, however, will have to be conducted in accordance with the new Public Procurement Act. The only exceptions are public contracts awarded under a framework agreement made under the previous Act. These will continue to be governed by the previous Act, irrespective of whether the tender procedure itself was initiated before or after 1 October.

The new Public Procurement Act, as opposed to the current one, is built on the principle of greater autonomy on the part of those who have public contracts to award. Awarding authorities are thus provided with a tool that gives them greater influence over the course of tender procedures, and thus their results. Particularly far-reaching changes have been made to the procedure by which bidders prove their qualifications. By contrast, evaluation of bids (in the narrow sense) has largely remained unchanged.

However, this certain degree of freedom is closely tied to greater responsibility on the part of the awarding authority. The new Public Procurement Act anticipates that the awarding authority will properly substantiate its decisions, if contested, already in the procedure on objections. If it fails to do so, the Office for the Protection of Competition will return a poorly argued decision for redrafting without even looking into the merits of the matter. The tender procedure will then be held up at the very least until the awarding authority has provided proper reasons for its decision.

These changes as to proving qualification also have an impact on the entries in the list of qualified contractors (abbreviated SKD –seznam kvalifikovaných dodavatelů, in Czech). Bidders for a public contract therefore ought to check whether their entry in the SKD is still current even after the first of October. If not, they should update their entry no later than by the end of this year, as they will otherwise be struck from the SKD.

Source: Act No. 134/2016 Coll., on the awarding of public contracts


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