The proceedings of public contracting in Spain: regulation and principles

Public contracting in Spain could be defined as the administrative process by virtue of which an entity belonging to the public sector initiates a procedure called bidding or bid to select a private contractor in order to meet a specific need.

In this sense, public entities must respect the principles that frame public contracting in Spain, and comply with the provisions governing the procedure for tendering, awarding and executing public contracts.

Public contracting regulation in Spain

On February 26th of 2014, the European Union approved a new package of Community Directives on public procurement, modifying the legislation in place since 2004.

The new legislative package consisted of three Directives:

  • Directive 2014/23/UE on the award and granting of public contracts
  • Directive 2014/24/UE, relating to the procedures for the awarding of works, services and supplies
  • Directive 2014/25/UE, regulating the contracting of entities operating in the sectors of water, energy, transport and postal services.

As a result of the previous Community Directives, that of November 9, 2017, the new law 9/2017 came into effect in Spain on November 8, on Public Sector Contracts (LCSP), as a transposition of Spanish law within European legislative framework.

Principles of public contacts in Spain

In accordance with the provisions of LCSP, public organizations must be governed throughout the bidding process and the subsequent execution of public contracts, by the principles governing public recruitment.

These principles are those of equality and transparency, not discrimination. As such, LCSP establishes that contracting bodies have to ensure that throughout the process free competition is safeguarded.

Typology of public contracts in Spain

There are various types of contracts that can be signed between public and private entities. According to LCSP, the main public contracts are the following ones:

  • Works contract
  • Contract for the concession of works
  • Contract for the concession of services
  • Supply contract
  • Services contract
  • Mixed contracts

Types of procedures for the awarding of public contracts

In addition to these contracts that can be created between public entities, the procedures by which said contracts are awarded are subject to strict regulation by the LCSP. The procedures can be:

  • Open procedures
  • Restricted procedures
  • Procedures with negotiation
  • Competitive dialogue

In general terms, public contracting in Spain is a process with extensive applicable regulation and one that is extremely complex. Therefore, when contracting with public entities, it is essential to rely on specialized advice throughout the entire bidding process. In this way, potential risks that may arise from the execution of a public contract will be avoided.

For further questions regarding the regulation and principles of public contracting in Spain,

Please note that this article is not intended to provide legal advice.

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