The FCCA supervises compliance with public procurement legislation, i.e. the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts and the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts in Special Sectors. The supervision focuses on the activities of contracting entities. Contracting entities include state and municipal authorities, joint municipal authorities and bodies governed by public law. Bodies governed by public law may include municipality-owned or state-owned limited liability companies.
Illegal direct procurement and similar unlawful procedures
Procurement supervision focuses on illegal direct procurements that have not been reported in Hilma, Finland’s national procurement notification system and that completely ignore the provisions of the Public Procurement Act. In addition, supervision seeks to address other erroneous or discriminatory procurements comparable to illegal direct awards.
Investigation of a matter
The FCCA will first carry out a preliminary investigation on the matter, based on which it will be assessed whether the FCCA will investigate the matter in more detail. The preliminary investigation will be carried out on the basis of information held by the FCCA and information available from public sources.
After the preliminary investigation, the investigation will either be closed or the investigation will be continued by means of written requests for information sent to the contracting entity and the tenderers or contracting partners.
The contracting entity’s, contracting partner’s and tenderer’s obligation to provide information
Notwithstanding the provisions on confidentiality, the contracting entity, the contracting entity’s contracting party, the party controlling the contracting entity and the tenderer participating in the procurement procedure shall, at the request of the FCCA, provide the Agency with all the information and documents necessary to establish the legality of the procurement procedure.
Termination of the investigation or undertaking measures
After gathering sufficient information, the FCCA carries out a legal overall assessment of the situation, on the basis of which the investigation is either terminated or measures are taken. The measures will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Means of intervening in unlawful procurements
With illegal direct awards, the FCCA may prohibit the implementing of a contract award decision or propose sanctions to the contracting entity in the Market Court. In other unlawful procurements, the FCCA may decide to provide administrative guidance to the contracting entity.
Prohibition of the implementation of a contract award decision
The FCCA may prohibit the contracting entity from enforcing a direct procurement decision that it considers unlawful, i.e. prohibiting the closing of the procurement contract between parties. The FCCA cannot impose a prohibition if a procurement contract has already been concluded in a matter. A prohibition decision can be appealed to the Market Court.
Proposal to the Market Court
For certain unlawful direct procurements, the FCCA may propose the imposition of sanction on the contracting entity in the Market Court. A sanction proposal is possible when a procurement contract has already been concluded, the procurement has been made as a direct procurement without the grounds laid down in the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts, and it is
- a procurement exceeding EU thresholds
- a procurement exceeding the thresholds for social welfare and health care services
- a procurement exceeding thresholds for other special services (e.g. meal services and transport of meals as well as security services); or
- a concession contract that exceeds the thresholds.
The FCCA will assess on a case-by-case basis the necessity of a proposal to the Market Court.
The FCCA may propose the following sanctions to the Market Court:
- The imposition of an inefficiency sanction.
- The imposition of a penalty payment.
- The shortening of the contract period.
- The voiding of the procurement decision.
The FCCA must submit a proposal to the Market Court within six months of the conclusion of the procurement contract or contract amendment. The investigation measures initiated by the Agency, such as sending a request for information will re-initiate the six month time period.
In the case of other unlawful procedures than illegal direct procurement, the FCCA may provide the contracting entity with administarive guidance in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.
The purpose of administrative guidance is to provide the contracting entity with information on the application of procurement legislation and its obligations. The contracting entity is not obliged, as a result of administrative guidance, to amend or revoke its procurement decision concerning the procurement to which the guidance concerned.
When providing administrative guidance, the FCCA may:
- draw the contracting entity’s attention to the requirements of good administration or express its understanding of lawful conduct
- issue an admonition to the contracting entity.
An admonition is the most serious administrative guidance measure.
The administrative guidance provided by the FCCA cannot be appealed.
Deadline for providing administrative guidance
The FCCA will not investigate a case that is older than two years unless there is a particular reason for doing so. The start date of the deadline will be decided on a case-by-case basis, but the rule of thumb is that the time period begins to run from the alleged unlawful decision of the contracting entity.
Report activities that violate the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts
Anyone may notify the FCCA of any action that violates the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts. It is also possible to submit an anonymous tip so that the FCCA can investigate the matter of its own initiative.
You can send the FCCA a tip if you suspect an illegal direct procurement or a similar procedure that violates the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts.
Preferably, contact the FCCA via our online tip-off service. If you prefer, you can send the form anonymously.
You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Enter “TIP-OFF” in the title field.
What happens when the tip arrives at the FCCA?
The tips are used to assess whether the procurement should be examined in more detail and whether a request for information should be sent to the contracting entity. The FCCA has considerable discretion in the prioritisation of cases, i.e. in selecting which cases are selected for further consideration.