The annual value of Norwegian public procurement is estimated at NOK 400 billion. This marketplace is considerable, and there is no good reason not to bid on the contracts available. Both Norwegian and foreign entities can participate in public tenders. To participate is one thing, but the aim is to win. And how can one better the chances of winning?
Finding public tender invitations
Public procurement in Norway is governed by a set of rules that are meant to ensure fair competition, integrity, and predictability in the procurement process, and the equal treatment of providers.
The Norwegian legislation distinguishes between tender invitations for contracts above and below the EEA Public Procurement Thresholds.
The differences between the sets of rules are however not fundamental. Above the EEA thresholds, Norway is obliged to follow the EU regulations through the EEA agreement. Tender invitations for contracts above these thresholds are advertised in the English language in the EU official journal and the TED database.
Below the EEA thresholds, national rules govern the procurement process. These are in general simplified versions of the implemented EU regulations. In Norway there is also a national threshold of NOK 500 000. Invitations to tender for contracts above the national threshold must be made public in the Norwegian official database called Doffin.
Winning public contracts
The aim of any provider wishing to participate in a tender process is to win the contract in question.
In general the success of a provider in realising this aim, can be summed up in the following:
- Sufficient knowledge of the rules that govern public procurement
- Long term and proactive approach
- Skills in preparing bids/tenders
For foreign entities an additional point to supplement the three above, will be to obtain sufficient local knowledge. This can be done through connecting with advisors or local entities for cooperation in specific bids.
If the procurement process has flaws, providers can be left with unfair competition. The Norwegian Complaints Board for Public Procurement (“KOFA”) deals with complaints about violations of the procurement rules. However, the Complaints Board issue advisory statements only. To obtain a binding solution, the complainant must bring the case before the Courts. Our experience is that in a complaint process, local knowledge is crucial.
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