Public Procurement Unit
Public Governance Departement
Boudewijnlaan 30 bus 35, 1000 Brussels
T +32 478 23 13 84

E-procurement is a catch all term for the replacement of paper based procedures with ICT based communications and processing throughout the procurement chain. E-Procurement involves the introduction of electronic processes to support the different phases of a procurement process – publication of tender notices, provision of tender documents, submission of tenders, evaluation, award, ordering, invoicing and payment.

Why is e-procurement important?

  • Increased accessibility and transparency
  • Benefits for individual procedures
  • Benefits in terms of more efficient procurement administration

Policy context and legal framework in Flanders

The Flemish government has opted for the use of the federal e-procurement applications and has concluded an agreement to this effect with the federal government. For the digital announcement and publication of government contracts, use will be made of e-notification. For the electronic submission and receipt of tenders and candidacies, use will be made of e-tendering. All the applications are free of use.

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Electronic publication via e-notification offers numerous advantages to the companies. For example, interested entrepreneurs have the possibility to consult the full and up-to-date tender file for every government contract at any moment of the day or night. Moreover, every company registered in e-notification automatically receives a daily list of the government contracts for which it can be considered, on the basis of the criteria which the company itself has submitted. These services are freely available via the internet and require no special software. All that the company needs to do is to register with the system and select the right criteria in its company profile.

When a contracting government has activated the forum, companies can communicate in an interactive manner through the account.

Moreover, the switch to a system of electronic procurement gives companies the guarantee that they will be able to register for government contracts in a single way, irrespective of the level of administration from which the contract is issued. The electronic publication of contracts and the electronic submission of tenders increase competition and enhance the level of SME participation in the procurement process. Experiences with electronic tendering in other countries and the evidence of internal best practice at home suggest that e-procurement can reduce transaction costs by 10% (or more) and total tendering costs by about 5%.

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The impact of e-procurement on the administrative burden

To check the impact of this digital work method and the new applications on the administrative burden, the Regulatory Management Unit together with the e-procurement Unit performed a measurement.

The diagram below shows the measurement results of the e-notification tool.

The transition year initially displays a temporary increase in administrative burden, due to the fact that at that point, the existing costs to have a specialised company thoroughly scan the Procurement Bulletin are not yet evened out. Furthermore, registration needs to be made in the e-notification tool, creating an additional financial burden. However, once a company's switch to the tool is complete, it can yield a potential decrease of EUR 1,515 in administrative costs.



The measurement that was carried out shows that a company’s administrative burden related to submission of a public procurement contract on paper (baseline measurement 2009) amounts to EUR 93 on average (this excludes any costs for drawing up the specifications).

Full use of the e-tendering application can reduce these costs to EUR 21, hence yielding savings of EUR 79 per company.

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E-procurement management costs

In addition to the impact in relation to the administrative burden, the research agency also examined the impact of e-procurement on the management costs for the Government of Flanders.

Below is a brief presentation of the results.

The table below shows the management costs for one procurement file per measurement and per information obligation (IVP).

For a detailed overview per activity we refer to the calculation model appended to the measurement report.

In total, a switch from the paper procedure to the electronic procedure cuts the management costs by EUR 268.50 per procurement contract.

A 'mixed’ procedure involves a one-off additional cost per government contract of EUR 91.55 as compared to the electronic procedure.