The fast development of technologies and new services has challenged public authorities to keep up with developments and to refine public procurement procedures. To provide some best practice examples on innovative public procurements and stimulate dialogue among public authorities, the SPICE consortium organised a Special Interest Session at the 12th ITS European Congress in Strasbourg on 21st June 2017.

The session was organised by SPICE project coordinator Ms Bahar Namaki Araghi and moderated by Ms Sabine Hilfert (Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg). Speakers included SPICE consortium members Mr Mads Gaml (City of Copenhagen, Technical and Environmental Administration), Mr Sami Sahala (Forum Virium Helsinki), Mr Fred Zjiderhand (The Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment), Ms Bianca Kapl (AustriaTech), Mr Mika Kulmala (City of Tampere), and Mr Lasse Stender (North Region Denmark).

The session provided practical examples of public procurement in Copenhagen, Helsinki, Tampere, and the Netherlands. It was clear from the examples that each region has had a different experience with public procurement and has a lot of knowledge to share. In Helsinki, for example, public authorities are adopting models from other segments and focusing on alternative ways to encourage mobility innovations, considering the role of public authorities to be more an enabler for market development than a public purse. In contrast, in the Netherlands recent trends show a shift from systems to services and increasing cooperation between authorities themselves and authorities and private partners. In Tampere, the use of innovative procurement (IP) has achieved verified value for money and produced new services and innovations of which the purchasers had no prior knowledge before the IP process. Meanwhile, Copenhagen has learned that public authorities should focus on defining their needs, not the solution, and maintain a flexible approach when dealing with suppliers.

Speakers emphasised the need for open dialogue between public authorities and suppliers. Often public authorities want to increase innovation but are unsure of where to invest and lack the technical expertise to identify priorities. Exchange of experiences on best practices, procurement methods, and new possibilities are necessary. Moreover, it is difficult to facilitate innovation since new and open procurements are needed on a consistent basis. These are often short-term contracts that are favourable for public authorities, but do not persuade suppliers to invest in innovation. As a result, it is vital that public authorities find the most suitable procurement procedure, the right mix of procurement approaches, and the right contractual models and terms that create a win-win situation for both sides.

The presentations are now available in the SPICE Library here.