Collaborative Procurement for Energy in Portugal - Sharing Value Together

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award


Country Context

In 2007, Portugal started a major reform of its National Public Procurement System (SNCP) to promote better, easier and faster ways to deliver goods and services through public procurement, while satisfying the goals of accountability, transparency and competitiveness, based in three major pillars:

1. The new public procurement law of 2008;

2. The creation of a central procurement body (CPB) for the SNCP, today ESPAP;

3. The introduction of mandatory eProcurement for all public bodies, as of Nov. 1, 2009.

In the first 10 years SNCP has generated an estimated total savings of over 313 million euros. The eProcurement implementation strategy in Portugal is consider today a European good practice as referred in the “Library of good practices and tools, accompanying the European Commission Recommendation”.

Since 2016, SNCP faced new challenges and changes:

1. The implementation of a spend review management task-force, with key initiatives in shared-

-services and public procurement;

2. The implementation of a green procurement national strategy (GPPS), aiming for a more social conscientious procurement on main priority goods and services with environmental impact;

3. The new public procurement law of 2017.

For Portugal, there was an opportunity to further develop SNCP and start cooperation projects, among contracting authorities, to procure together goods and services and share resources.

As stated by the Commission, on the public procurement strategy recommendation, contracting authorities are rarely buying together – only 11% of procedures are carried out through cooperative procurement. This is a missed opportunity.

Collaborative Procurement

That is why in 2017, Portugal went further and decided to implement an innovative project, in Collaborative Procurement, centralizing the purchasing of energy (electricity, natural gas and fuel) in its CPB, ESPAP.

Socio-economic benefits included the enforcement of the implementation of the new GPPS that defined electricity procurement as one priority and defined that environmental criteria and a total cost of ownership approach to public spend should be considered in the decision making process.

The new collaborative procurement project required a new and more complex and professional process and organizational changes in the procurement team were necessary to implement this solution. A new team was prepared in early 2017 and a new department was created in 2018.

This organizational change was aligned with the EC Recommendation (EU) 2017/1805 of 3 October 2017 on the professionalization of public procurement. Following this, ESPAP joined the Advisory Committee of the project to support a European Competency Framework for public procurement (ECF-PP).

Finally, new information systems were developed to support and optimize the processes. This project received EU funds (co-financing) from the European Regional Development Fund. The development of integrated and flexible IT Systems were also very important to integrate de demand information and to aggregate it from multiple sources. Data gathering for more than 800 contracting authorities was difficult to achieve but critical to the success of the project.


ESPAP defined a 3-year business plan to gradually strengthen its public procurement team and to achieve full collaborative centralization of energy purchases in 2020.

Deloitte validated the 2018 savings report for electricity were ESPAP achieved savings of 15.09%, mainly through lower energy prices but also on the processual costs.

This additional responsibility, that significantly increased ESPAP role as a CPB, has already achieved over 8 million euros in savings and aggregated the demand more than 800 authorities at national level.

The new collaborative procurement process allowed Portugal to:

1. Increase the enforcement of the green public procurement strategy on the energy spend category;

2. Increase the professionalization of public procurement, by creating a dedicated team and sharing best practices, reducing the cost of the procurement process;

3. Improve the IT systems, increasing the transparency and security, through streamlined rigorous procurement processes, e-auction and workflow management tools;

4. Increase savings, by leveraging volume, defining joint procurement strategies, enabling faster transactions.

As next steps, ESPAP believes that there are several new goals for this project, to:

1. Extend the Collaborative Procurement Process to other public authorities, e.g. municipalities;

2. Develop energy efficiency programs for the contracting authorities to work on the demand side;

3. Extend the Collaborative Procurement Process to other spend categories.

We envision public procurement as strategic function for public spend management, public debt management, as driving force to introduce social, political and financial changes in the society.

Award info
Award category: new solutions to complex challenges - a public sector citizen-centric, sustainable and fit for the future - european or national level
Award type: diploma
Award year: 2019
Project type
Sector: cross-sectoral
Type of activity:
Keywords: Collaborative Procurement, Public procurement, IT Systems, eProcurement, eAgregation, Energy
Short English description: ESPAP defined a 3-year business plan to gradually strengthen its public procurement team and to achieve full collaborative centralization of energy purchases in 2020.
Further information
Organisation: ESPAP - Public Administration Shared Services and Public Procurement Unit, IP, Portugal
Other applicants:
Level of government: national level
Size of organisation: >100
Number of people involved: 11-15
Country: Portugal
EU membership: EU member
Language code: en
Start date:
End date:

Collaborative Procurement for Energy in Portugal - Sharing Value Together (38.737272447449776, -9.21579122543335)
Loading map...