Slovenia – Public procurement

The state’s expectations of business enterprises

Several new legal provisions proactively ensure the strengthening of respect for human rights in business, which involves… considering environmental, social and labour law aspects in public procurement. (pg. 7)

Principle 2 – States sets expectation for respecting human rights

The Public Procurement Act, entered into force in April 2016, provides for solutions to make public procurement simpler, more flexible and more efficient, and places a greater emphasis on some aspects of social and environmental policies. (pg. 10)

Such amendments introduce principles relating to the environment and social integration, as well as ensuring respect for rights arising from the legislation in force, thus promoting, in the context of public procurement, the social and environmental responsibility of enterprises and helping them to consolidate their standing in the market. (pg. 10)

Principle 3d – Planned Measures – Environment

In accordance with the Framework Programme for the Transition to a Green Economy, the Slovenian Government will focus on further activities for developing and interconnecting green economy policies. The focus will be placed on… green public procurement and green budget reform; sustainable urban development; public sector activities that may serve as models; education and training for the green economy; and green practice in agriculture. (pg. 22)

Principle 6 – Commercial transactions between states and businesses

The State may enter business relations with economic operators also through public procurement activities. Public procurement is thus an important tool for pursuing and achieving the objectives of secondary policies, such as environmental, social and sustainable policies. In this vein, the Public Procurement Act, which entered into force on 1 April 2016 and follows the EU law in this field, puts special emphasis on the various aspects of social and environmental policies. (pg. 26)

As one of the fundamental principles of public procurement, the Act includes the horizontal social clause, which requires economic operators, when implementing public contracts, to observe obligations under EU environmental, social and labour law, regulations in force in Member States, collective agreements and international law. (pg. 26)

In the amended Public Procurement Act (ZJN-3A),  which took effect on 1 November 2018, when the contracting authority is informed that the court, by a final decision, determines violations of labour, environmental or social law on the part of the contractor or any of the subcontractors, or when the contracting authority is informed that, during the implementation of the contract, the competent state authority determined, on the part of the contractor or any of the subcontractors, at least two violations related to wages, working hours, rest periods, work on the basis of civil-law contracts despite evident elements of employment relationship or illegal employment for which, by a final decision or multiple final decisions, a fine for a minor offence has been imposed. (pg. 26-27)

The Act also specifically stipulates that the contracting authority must take into consideration the principles of socially responsible public procurement by including measures related to social aspects. Social inclusion is also promoted by the possibility of reserved contracts, whereby the contracting authority may reserve the right of participation in public procurement procedures for certain economic operators, e.g. sheltered workshops, job centres and social enterprises employing disadvantaged workers. (pg. 27)

In Slovenia, green public procurement has been mandatory since 2011; the amended Act stipulates in what cases green public procurement is mandatory, which environmental aspects must be taken into consideration by contracting authorities when publishing calls for applications, and which objectives must be achieved by the contracting authority regarding every public contract. (pg. 27)

In public procurement, special attention is also devoted to the subcontracting chain, the transparency of which must be ensured by the main contractor. (pg. 27)

Principle 6 – Planned Measures

Slovenia will promote the achievement of the goals set by labour, social and environmental policies, also through the instrument of public procurement, and strive for accelerated and effective implementation of regulatory provisions. (pg. 28)

Slovenia will implement awareness-raising activities and training in the inclusion of social and environmental aspects in public procurement procedures and will continue to provide a single point of contact, the so-called Helpdesk, which will offer professional assistance to contracting authorities and economic operators participating or interested in public procurement procedures. (pg. 28)

The single point of contact has already been established and has been functional at the Public Procurement Directorate at the Ministry of Public Administration of the Republic of Slovenia since 15 September 2016. (pg. 28-29)

Slovenia will continue to update its structures in the field of green public procurement and keep adapting them to technological advances and the situation in the market. (pg. 29)