The tendering process for public contracts in Switzerland
All the questions
The bidding process
With regard to public contracts regulated at federal level, all calls for tenders, as well as contract awards, are published on Simap,2 the government procurement information system platform.
Swiss public procurement law provides for four main methods of awarding contracts. The contracting authority may award a regulated contract by means of an open procedure, a selective procedure, a tendering procedure or a negotiated procedure. The applicability of these procedures depends on the contracting authority, the type of contract and the threshold values set in the FAPP.
Under the open procedure, all interested bidders can submit a bid. In the selective procedure, all interested tenderers can submit a request to participate, but the contracting authority identifies the tenderers who can submit a tender according to their suitability. In the tender procedure, the contracting authority designates at least three suppliers, if possible, who will be invited to tender. With regard to the acquisition of arms, ammunition or military equipment, the invitation procedure can always be used. Under the negotiated procedure, the contracting authority negotiates a contract directly with a supplier of its choice without launching an invitation to tender. In general, the applicability of the negotiated procedure depends on the thresholds defined in section III.ii. However, under certain conditions specified in the FAPP, the contracting authority may apply the negotiated procedure even if the contract exceeds the corresponding threshold value.
With regard to electronic markets, federally regulated public markets are advertised on the Simap electronic platform. Electronic submissions are standard practice within the federal administration.
Furthermore, the revision of the FAPP aimed to give contracting authorities greater flexibility in the use of modern technologies. To this end, the FAPP now provides for electronic auctions and the electronic processing of award procedures. Flexible procurement instruments such as dialogue (competitive dialogue) are likely to be increasingly important in the future, especially in the awarding of intellectual services. Practical experience will show to what extent these new instruments will be used and whether further modifications of the provisions will result.
iii Modification of offers
Modification of the tender documents is limited and modifications are possible in case of formal negotiations. However, tenderers may submit alternative offers in addition to their main offer, provided that these alternatives have not been excluded in the tender dossier.
See also section III.ii regarding the possibilities for the contracting parties to modify a contract or to transfer the contract to another supplier.