eForms are an EU legislative open standard for publishing public procurement data, established under Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1780. They are digital standard forms used by public buyers to publish notices on Tenders Electronic Daily — an online portal for public procurement notices from across the EU.
eForms are at the core of the digital transformation of public procurement in the EU. Through the use of a common standard and terminology, they can significantly improve the quality and analysis of data.
Well implemented eForms will increase the ability of businesses and other organisations to find procurement notices. They will also reduce the administrative burden for buyers, increase the ability of governments to make data-driven decisions about public spending, and make public procurement more transparent.
The European Commission has recently adopted an amendment to the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1780 to address requests to update the regulation, on several topics, including: reporting requirements under the Clean Vehicles Directive, Green Public Procurement, EU funds, framework agreements and other changes. The standard forms to use for the publication of procurement notices are set out in the annex to this regulation.
Implementation in EU countries
The eForms Implementing Regulation and its annex do not constitute an 'off-the-shelf' law that can be implemented by IT departments 'as is'. Public procurement decision makers must first meet with stakeholders to define the national approach to the various aspects of eForms, such as also using them for contracts below thresholds, taking into account different policies and requirements. The governance of eForms at national level should also be defined. eForms will then have to be implemented into national eProcurement systems.
To support policy makers in EU countries, the European Commission provides:
- eForms Policy Implementation Handbook: The purpose of this document is to help policymakers tailor the new eForms to national needs before they are implemented into national eProcurement systems. Procurement policy decision-makers need to hold discussions with all stakeholders and decide on how the various attributes of eForms should be implemented. The eForms Policy Implementation Handbook is currently available in English, but it will be translated into all official EU languages.
- eForms Governance and Life-Cycle Management document: This document provides a high-level description of the eForms governance model, which will be further elaborated in the future. Its aim is to describe the governance structure of eForms at EU level and how the life cycle will be managed. This will contribute to the effective implementation of eForms and ensure that further developments are agreed in a transparent and balanced manner by stakeholders.
The Publications Office of the EU has made available the technical specifications and the related code lists for the implementation of eForms in eProcurement systems.
Coordination and monitoring
The European Commission has been promoting the discussion on the implementation of eForms in the EU through the Multi-stakeholder Expert Group on eProcurement (EXEP working group). The group has worked to identify the policy options for different countries, as well as the objectives associated with these options. These discussions have helped promote the sharing of good practice and increased the level of ambition for the implementation of eForms in EU countries.
The 2020 Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Telecom eProcurement call has made an indicative €3 million in funding available for proposals in this area.