The communication contains clear and practical guidelines that remind governments of the flexibility already available in public procurement in the event of an emergency and encourages public bodies to use them. The Commission`s communication is particularly useful in its guidelines on the circumstances that justify the application of the negotiated procedure without prior competition. This procedure effectively allows for direct contracts without tendering. Given the exceptional nature of the proceedings, the adjudicator powers must be able to justify their choice of negotiated procedure in a particular report. In this regard, the communication contains useful indications on the unpredictability of the COVID 19 epidemic, i.e. that in 2004, public procurement legislation was re-consolidated in accordance with the principles of simplification and modernization. The new legal framework is based on a clear dichotomy between public services and the rest of the public sector. While the procurement for the first directive continues to apply to a new public services directive, Directive 2004/17, “which coordinates procurement procedures in the water sectors, energy, transport and postal services, grouped into a single “public sector directive,” the other three directives were grouped into a single “public sector directive” (Directive 2004/18) on the coordination of procurement procedures for public works, supplies and public services, which now applies to public procurement of other public authorities.  The 2004 directives introduce, in addition to simplifying and clarifying existing legislation, new procedures for contracting, competition and awarding framework agreements. They were to be transposed into national legislation by 31 January 2006. In 1993, the old procurement, operating and procurement guidelines were taken up in a consolidated form in the form of directives 93/36, 93/37 and 93/38. The aim was to make the legal framework more homogeneous, but the amendments to the Construction Directive contained substantial clarifications and a specific and attenuated regime for the awarding of concession contracts.  The Office of Government Procurement (OGP) in Ireland has also issued a briefing note (see here) to help governments manage procurement when Covid-19 makes the provision of essential goods and/or services urgent.
The guidelines remind that where public procurement is not affected by Covid 19 issues, public procurement should ensure that their procurement uses competitive procedures to ensure optimal value for money, transparency and equal treatment. Innovation partnerships were approved for the first time as part of a series of public procurement reforms introduced in the 2014 Directive and transposed into the 2015 UK Public Procurement Regulations.