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New public procurement law in Poland. Changes and opportunities

26.01.2021

Autorzy:
Katarzyna Kuźma
Michał Gajdek

The value of the Polish public procurement market is about PLN 200 billion (about EUR 45 billion) per year. It is responsible for as much as 8.75% of gross domestic product. On 1 January 2021, a new law regulating public procurement comes into force: the New Public Procurement Law (the NPPL). 

It should first be noted that the adoption of the NPPL does not mean a revolution on the public procurement market, as national laws, including Polish law, must comply fully with the European procurement directives: Directive 2014/24/EU (classical directive) and Directive 2014/25/EU (utilities directive). The Polish legislator originally decided to implement the European directives by amending the existing law, but the time has now come to adopt the NPPL. Although the NPPL is hardly revolutionary, the changes that come into force on 1 January 2021 are not purely cosmetic. This is because the Polish legislator has decided to implement some of the proposals made by public procurement market participants, which is obviously a positive development. First of all, one of the main concepts of the NPPL is to emphasise that not only the contractor, but also the contracting authority is responsible for the performance of a public contract. To this end, a number of regulations have been introduced to ensure that the parties cooperate in contract implementation. Among them, it is worth noting the mandatory mechanisms for adjusting contractors’ remuneration, the introduction of maximum contractual penalties and the creation of a list of prohibited clauses that could disturb the contractual balance. The latter aspect will be the responsibility of the President of the Public Procurement Office and the list of prohibited clauses will be drawn up on the basis of rulings of the National Appeal Chamber and the Public Procurement Court, a newly created unit specialising in tender procedures. 

The NPPL introduces significant changes applicable not only at the contract performance stage, but also during the preceding public procurement procedures. One of the most important changes is the introduction of fully electronic tender procedures: from 1 January 2021, all tenders will have to be submitted in electronic form. This requires contractors, especially those who do not have facilities in Poland, to prepare for this situation, e.g. by obtaining qualified electronic signatures for the decision-makers in their companies. They should also familiarise themselves with the purchasing platforms used by contracting authorities on a daily basis.

Full text of this article authored by Katarzyna Kuźma, Partner in Spanish Desk and Infrastructure and Energy Practice, and Michał Gajdek, Associate, is also available in Iberian Lawyer magazine.

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