Pillar I: The state’s duty to protect human rights

2. Public procurement [page 17-18]:

On 28 July 2016, an amendment to the Public Procurement Law (PPL) came into force, introducing a number of changes related to the implementation of new EU directives in the field of public procurement in the Polish legal system.3 One of the objectives of the new regulation is to enable contracting institutions to make better use of public procurement to support social policy objectives, i.a., by introducing a requirement for employment under a contract of employment.

Recognising the problems of contracting authorities with the practical application of Article 29(3)(a) of the law, and intending to ensure the most effective application of employment requirements under a contract of employment, the Public Procurement Office prepared and published on its website a legal opinion on the application of Article 29(3)(a) PPL. This takes into consideration the position of the Inspector-General for the Protection of Personal Data and, at the same time, provides guidance regarding the ability of contracting authorities to verify the fulfilment by contractors and subcontractors of the requirement of employment under a contract of employment of individuals performing activities in the course of a contract, together with the sample provisions referred to in Article 36(2)(8)(a) of the Public Procurement Law.

According to Recommendations of the Council of Ministers on the consideration by the government administration of social aspects in public procurement, the heads of government administration units are obliged to analyse the possibility of applying social clauses in all public procurement proceedings, including in contracts that do not comply with the provisions of the Public Procurement Law.

Successful implementation of social goals through public procurement requires educational activities among public procurement market participants. The Public Procurement Office carries out educational activities aimed at promoting social issues in public procurement primarily on the basis of the National Action Plans for Sustainable Public Procurement. The National Action Plan for Sustainable Public Procurement 2017-2020 envisages educational activities such as conferences, training, or the preparation of relevant publications.

Plans are in store to identify and issue a catalogue of good practices and to develop model documents. As part of planned educational activities, the Public Procurement Office intends to present to the Polish contracting authorities, among other things, the possibility of including in the procurement procedure public symbols of a social nature based on the criteria of respecting human rights in the production of goods subject to a public contract. With respect to reporting information on sustainable public procurement, the contracting authority will, under the new rules for drawing up annual reports on contracts awarded, include detailed information on social contracts awarded in the new Part VIII of the annual report form (Contracts to which the provisions of the law taking into account social aspects apply). This will help obtain comprehensive data on the inclusion of social aspects in public procurement.