The new European Single Procurement Document ("ESPD") has been published and will be in force in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from 26 January 2016.

The aim of the ESPD is to reduce the administrative burden on economic operators by providing an EU-wide standard self-declaration document covering grounds for exclusion, selection criteria and shortlisting rules and criteria. The ESPD will be re-useable by economic operators for different procurements, with minimal updating.

The ESPD is set out in Commissioning Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/7 which was published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) on 6 January 2016.

Regulation 59 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 covers the use, content and form of the ESPD as well as provisions on supporting documentation.   There are also explanatory provisions and instructions on use of the ESPD in the Commission Implementing Regulation.

Brief overview

The ESPD is an EU-wide standard self-declaration document in for use by economic operators. It is a 13 page form, to be used in electronic format only.

An economic operator is entitled to use this form at "the time of submission of requests to participate or of tenders" (depending on the procurement process used) to confirm that it fulfils the following conditions:

  • the grounds for mandatory or discretionary exclusion in Regulation 57 "Exclusion Grounds" do not apply; 
  • it meets the relevant selection criteria set out under Regulation 58 "Selection Criteria";
  • it fulfils the objective rules and criteria to be used by the contracting authority to limit the number of qualified candidates it intends to invite to tender /negotiate/participate in dialogue (where applicable)

Contracting authorities are obliged to accept the ESPD at the request to participate or tender stage, although they may subsequently "require candidates and tenderers at any moment during the procedure to submit all or any of the supporting documents where this is necessary to ensure the proper conduct of the procedure" (Regulation 59(8)). The contracting authority must, in most cases, obtain up to date supporting documents from the tenderer to which it has decided to award the contract.

This is just a brief procurement alert. We will publish a more detailed note on practical issues arising in relation to the use of the ESPD in the next few weeks.