Principle of Proportionality

The principle of Proportionality requires that procedures followed for awarding a contract must be proportionate to the value of the contracts; this generally means more demanding procedures for higher value contracts.

How to apply the principle of Proportionality

In order to respect the principle of proportionality internal rules and procedures have to be established having due regard to the amount of the contract and taking into account the overall costs of the procurement procedure versus the difficulty and risk associated with the contract.
Clearly, some lower-value contracts may still involve great risk hence adopting more stringent measures may be prudent and justified.

Minimum procedural standards

According to the principle of proportionality, the minimum procedural standards that have to be respected by the Partners’ procedure, are the following:

Estimated value of the contract Minimum procedural requirement
˂ 60.000 € - Closed, negotiated or restricted procurement procedures.
- Comply with the principles of: ethical procurement, sound financial management, avoidance of conflict of interest
- Not necessary to have the procedure described in writing. The final invoice is considered as a sufficient proof, unless the procedure of the partners foresees a different procedure.
˃ 60.000 € - Procurement procedures open to the broadest possible degree of competition (at least three candidates or tenderers provided they satisfy the exclusion and selection criteria), negotiated or restricted procurement procedures based on less than three candidates or tenderers should, in principle, be limited to reasonable amounts or be otherwise duly justified
- All mandatory principles apply
- Up to date written procurement procedures that ensure proportionality between the procedures to be followed for awarding contracts and the value of those contracts;
- Exceptions should be documented
All the contracts In any case, the partner has to ensure the delivery of goods, works or services in the right quantity and of the right quality, within the required timeframe and based on the best value for money. Furthermore, when applicable, all the contracts must ensure the compliance with the provisions for the Procurement of Food and Medical Supplies
Lots When contracts are split into lots, the procurement procedure will be established according to the total value of all the lots together. A contract cannot be split into lots to avoid a genuine competition.
The only exception is foreseen for the procurement of fresh food. In this case, the contract may be divided into lots and each lot will be considered individually.
Framework contracts Not to be used in such a way that their purpose or effect is to circumvent the principle of proportionality, or to prevent, restrict or distort fair competition. Particular attention should be paid when the partners maintain long term relations with contractors, or enter into framework contract. In such cases, it is expected that the partner apply more due diligence in verifying that contractors and sub-contractors respect the mandatory principles.

Single offer

In addition to its internal procedures on exceptions, the Partners are allowed to apply a procurement procedure based on a single offer in the following cases:

  • For property contracts, whatever the estimated value of the contract, and after prospecting the local market. Pursuant to Article 8(4)(e) of the General Conditions, purchase of immovable assets may only be eligible by the Union in exceptional cases, when specified in the Specific Grant Agreement;
  • After the initial procedure has been completed when no tenders or offers, or no suitable tenders or offers have been submitted in response to a competitive procurement procedure, provided that the original contract specifications are not substantially altered;
  • When, for technical or operational reasons, or for reasons connected with the protection of exclusive rights, the contract can only be awarded to a particular economic operator;
  • For additional contracts consisting in the repetition or renewal of services, works or supplies entrusted to a contractor which was awarded with an earlier contract in the same region, provided that the terms of the original contract are not substantially altered. The period elapsed from the award of the first contract shall not be longer than one year. Contracts are not to be renewed on these grounds more than twice, except where duly justified and documented;
  • For additional supplies, works and services not included in the initial contract that, due to unforeseen circumstances, have become necessary for the performance of the Action, provided that the aggregate amount of additional supplies, works or services does not exceed 50% of the value of the initial contract.

In any case, these exceptions need to be documented

References & useful links