Participating in public tenders: rules and procedures

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The procurement rules 

In Sweden, every year more than 1,100 public authorities (contracting authorities and contracting entities) carry out more than 18,000 public tenders. Companies established in other countries have the right to compete for these tenders.

Swedish procurement legislation is largely based on EU directives and EU primary law. Procurement procedures must observe the basic principles of transparency, equal treatment, non-discrimination, proportionality, and mutual recognition. Public procurement is regulated in the Public Procurement Act, the Utilities Procurement Act, the Concessions Procurement Act, and the Defence and Security Procurement Act. Each procurement act contains rules for tender procedures that fall within the scope of the applicable EU directive, as well as for procedures that are only subject to national provisions. The estimated value of the contract dictates whether the procurement procedure is covered by the EU directives. Only tender procedures above certain thresholds are subject to the directives. 

EU directives – Legal rules and implementation

About tresholds at the European Commision's website 

Contract notices

Notices for tenders subject to the EU directives are published in the database Tenders Electronic Daily – TED. The notice is published in one of the official EU languages (normally Swedish), with a summary in other languages. 

There is no single database in Sweden for contract notices for tender procedures not covered by the EU directives. Notices must be published in one of several privately operated but publicly available electronic databases. 

Tenders Electronic Daily – TED

Systems of choice 

Regions and municipalities have established systems of choice for some types of social and health services. These are similar to tender procedures, but companies may submit applications to participate at any time. Systems of choice are subject to the Swedish Act on System of Choice, and all notices are published on operated by the National Agency for Public Procurement.


Tender procedures

The procurement acts contain rules for a number of different procurement procedures. There are three categories of tender procedures:

Single-stage tenders

Any company may submit a tender in response to a contract notice.

Multi-stage tenders

Companies submit applications to participate in response to the contract notice, and the public authority invites all or some of the qualified tenderers to submit tenders.

Direct awards

There are situations in which public authorities are not required to invite competition through a contract notice. These include the following: 

  • Situations in which extreme urgency makes it impossible to comply with the time limits for the public tender procedures
  • Situations in which the estimated value of the contract falls short of the national threshold for direct awards in the applicable procurement act
  • Situations in which for technical reasons there can be no competition for the contract

Generally, the procurement rules for procedures below the EU thresholds are less detailed than those that follow from the EU directives. Consult the procurement documents for information on the type of procedure, its different stages, and applicable time limits. Contact the public authority with any questions regarding the procedure.

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