On 19 November 2014 Geo Quinot of APPRRU participated in a conference on The Public Private Divide: Conference on Semi-public Institutions and Public Contracts at the VU University Amsterdam hosted by the Public Contracts: Law & Governance programme of the Kooijmans Institute for Law and Governance. The aim of the conference was to discuss the public-private divide from various points of view with a focus on the position and role of semi-public institutions and of public contracts. Quinot’s paper focused on semi-public institutions and how these hybrid entities can be understood within traditional approaches to private and public law.
The conference culminated in the public defence by Niels Jak of his PhD dissertation entitled Semipublieke instellingen: De juridische positie van instellingen op het snijvlak van overheid en samenleving. In writing this study, Jak visited APPRRU twice to conduct research on the position of semi-public institutions in the South African context.
Speakers at the conference: From left: Proff Frank van Ommeren (VU), Quinot, Chris Jansen (VU), Ulrich Stelkens (University of Administrative Sciences Speyer, Germany) & Mark Freedland (Oxford)
Participants at the APPRRU workshop
In September 2014 APPRRU hosted a workshop at National Treasury in Pretoria around procurement law reform in South Africa. Leading legal practitioners in the area of public procurement regulation joined academics from APPRRU and policy-makers from Treasury to discuss current initiatives in drafting a new public procurement regulator statute that can provide the institutional basis for comprehensive reform of the public procurement regulatory regime. Participants discussed a working draft bill prepared in the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer in Treasury as well as the procurement chapter of the draft Treasury Regulations under the Public Finance Management Act. The workshop was a follow-up on the earlier work done by Prof Quinot of APPRRU for Treasury on the legal landscape governing procurement regulation in South Africa.
Participants at the APPRRU workshop
Participants at the APPRRU workshop
On the 14th of August 2014, Dr Sope Williams-Elegbe represented APPRRU at the 6th International Public Procurement Conference in Dublin, Ireland. She presented a paper titled “The Evolution of the World Bank’s Procurement Policy”. More information on the 6th IPPC can be found on the conference website>>
Dr Williams-Elegbe presenting at the 6th IPPC
On the 22nd July 2014, Dr Sope Williams-Elegbe was invited by the UN Economic Commission for Africa to speak at the Senior Experts Dialogue on “Science, Technology, and Innovation and the African Transformation Agenda: Making New Technologies work for Africa’s Transformation”. She spoke on the topic of technology, innovation and governance.
Dr Williams-Elegbe (centre) with other participants at the World Bank colloquium on suspension and debarment.
On 15th May 2014, Dr. Sope Williams-Elegbe was invited by the World Bank’s Office of Suspension and Debarment to speak at the 2nd colloquium on suspension and debarment which held in Washington DC. Sope was on a panel with other experts who discussed the relationship between debarment and other legal and administrative sanctions.
Quinot presenting his paper.
Academics from five continents met in Munich, Germany on 2-3 July 2014 to discuss current developments in procurement law with a focus on the selection, qualification and exclusion of bidders under various national and international public procurement systems. The symposium was hosted by Prof Martin Burgi, Chair for Public Law and European Law at the Research Center for Public Procurement Law and Administrative Co-operations, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Prof Geo Quinot of APPRRU presented a paper dealing with developments in African procurement law and focusing in particular on current developments around qualification and award criteria in South African procurement law.
Quinot’s paper is available here.
In March 2014 Prof Geo Quinot of the African Public Procurement Regulation Research Unit (APPRRU) delivered a commissioned research report to the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer (OCPO) in South Africa’s National Treasury on the current state of public procurement regulation in South Africa and the need for reform.
The 160-page report noted the fragmented nature of the law currently governing public procurement in South Africa. It further analysed evidence of the adverse effect that the current state of procurement law is having on supply chain functions and consequently public administration.
Prof Geo Quinot (right) presents the research report titled “An Institutional Legal Structure for Regulating Public Procurement in South Africa” to Mr Henry Malinga, Chief Director: Policy and Strategy in the OCPO.
The report recommended that government pursue a comprehensive strategy of public procurement regulatory reform. The first recommended step is to create a public procurement regulator in South Africa by means of dedicated legislation. Such an entity should consequently be tasked with the reform of the substantive law governing public procurement, a high priority of which should be the consolidation of the current rules on procurement.
On 7 April 2014 the South African Minister of Trade and Industry launched the sixth version of government’s Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) covering the period 2014/15 to 2016/17. Public procurement features prominently in the IPAP as a key lever of industrial development. The Plan in particular contemplates increased focus on designating specific sectors of public procurement for local content thresholds. Under the Preferential Procurement Regulations, 2011 (issued in terms of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act 5 of 2000) the Department of Trade and Industry is empowered to designate sectors where only locally produced goods or services or goods meeting stated thresholds of local production may be procured. In a key paragraph the IPAP states:
“Nevertheless, too much emphasis in procurement processes is still being placed on the traditional practice of acquiring goods and services at the lowest cost, regardless of origin and quality – thereby failing to stimulate either domestic development of improved products and services or the creation of new markets for industrial innovations.”
The IPAP also expresses strong support for the current comprehensive review of the public procurement regime headed by National Treasury.
On 20 March 2014 prof Geo Quinot participated in a session dealing with international trends in procurement dispute resolution at the Procurement Week 2014 organised by the Institute for Competition and Procurement Studies. The annual Procurement Week of the ICPS, sponsored by the Welsh Government, took place from 17 to 21 March 2014 in Cardiff, Wales under the theme “A 2020 vision: Public Procurement Insights and Mega Trends”.
From left: Alexandre Motta, Geo Quinot, Frank Brunetta & Michael Bowsher
Quinot presented the findings of comparative research on supplier remedies in African procurement systems. The other speakers in the session were Frank Brunetta, Procurement Ombudsman of Canada; Michael Bowsher, QC of Monckton Chambers, London and Alexandre Motta, Managing Director of the School of Administration in the Ministry of Finance of Brazil, who each shared their perspectives on dispute resolution in procurement contexts within their respective systems.
In debate following the individual presentations questions were raised about the suitability of courts as primary vehicles for resolving disputes in public procurement. In particular the current approaches to reliance on ADR to resolve disputes in various stages of the procurement process were discussed. Participants noted that it was especially difficult to implement ADR approaches in respect of disputes during the adjudication stage of public procurement. Particular problems that commonly emerge in this context are the constitutional nature of these disputes making them not suitable to private dispute resolution processes as well as the necessity of including all bidders in a dispute resolution mechanism during the adjudication stage, which is challenging in most ADR mechanisms. Panel members noted that the statutory solution in Canada involving the Procurement Ombudsman seems a good approach.