Ethics in procurement

Public procurement must be discharged with probity, transparency and accountability

It is necessary to put mechanisms in place to prevent risks to integrity as well as to detect misconduct in public procurement

The risk mapping must encompass all the procurement cycle, from the needs assessment moment until the management of the contract

Examples of integrity assessment factors:

  • Electronic submission of interest declarations are the norm
  • Approval and implementation of strategies for assessment, prevention and mitigation of public procurement risks (e.g. conflict of interest)

The integrity pacts: the civic monitoring of public contracting projects

Accordingly with Article 18.2 of the EU 2014/24/EU Directive “Member States shall take appropriate measures to ensure that in the performance of public contracts economic operators comply with applicable obligations in the field of environmental, social and labor law established by Union law, national law, collective agreements or by the international environmental, social and labour law provision listed in Annex X (ILO Conventions 87, 98, 29, 105, 138, 111, 100 and 182).

Examples of “appropriate measures” within national legislation of the Member States

Including any matters related to Article 18.2 in the award criteria

Exclusion from the tender any economic unit found to not comply with social, environmental and labour law during the award and pre-award stages

Inclusion of social labelling reflecting ethical trade as a technical specification within the award criteria

Rejection of abnormally low tenders where prices are derived through breaches to Article 18.2

CA monitors the performance of the contract in line with social objectives and/or towards Article 18.2

Procurement law allows the contractor to terminate the contract on social grounds and/or with those related with Article 18.2

Within sectors, and depending on the value of the contract, exemptions can apply at the discretion of the CA.

 Managing risks in public procurement | Government at a Glance 2019 | OECD iLibrary (

  rapport_2017_6_mapping_initiatives_webb.pdf (

ICLEI European Secretariat, “International Working Group on Ethics in public procurement for IT. Final Report to the Belgian Federal Institute for Sustainable Development (FISD)”

Commission Notice, “Guidance on the avoidance and management of conflicts of interest under the Financial Regulation”

OECD, “Preventing Corruption in Public Procurement”

About socially responsible public procurement

Browse chapters

JCBPP and IP in the Security Sector

Joint Cross-Border Public Procurement (JCBPP)

Innovation Procurement (IP)

How to: Guide for JCBPP & IP

Ethics in procurement

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