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Standards & Standardization in Public Procurement
Voluntary standards and standardization provide a strong connection between public procurement and technologies / markets. Standards can be relevant at all stages of public procurement, from strategy development to evaluation, and in call for tender technical specifications, award criteria, and contracting. Public sector involvement in the creation of standards, through standardization, can increase performance expectations for products and services in the market. Vtrek helps public agencies across different sectors to navigate the complex standards landscape, and recommends strategies to help shape emerging standards. This enables public purchasers to benefit from the cost-saving effects of standards, and to amplify the secondary impact of their purchasing.
Correctly referencing voluntary standards in technical specifications assures minimum quality, and gives clear evaluation criteria. For purchasers, they reduce risks, tender complexity and length. These standards can be a variety of types, as long as they are formed through consensus and science-based. Options range from formal (de jure) standards from standard development organizations; to voluntary standards formed by NGOs, or consortia; to informal (de facto) standards in the marketplace. Procurers in Europe can now use a number of de facto standards for ICT technical specifications, supporting greater openness and attracting different solutions from a larger pool of suppliers.
Government involvement in standardization is especially important in the developmental stages of a forthcoming innovation. Standardization during pre-commercial procurement reduces lock-in to outdated or suboptimal solutions, and supports diffusion of new standards into the market that support economies of scale and future cost savings for public agencies. We help public agencies decide on a standardization strategy, and to select and deploy standards along the procurement life cycle. Our intention is to support functional, performance-based specification that provides more room for innovation, and in turn a better solution.