Centralization of procurement and qualification of contracting stations is a crucial area for the implementation of the NRP, which has included it among its Milestones.
Central Purchasing Agencies and Aggregating Subjects under the NRP.
In October 2021 ANAC published a Vademecum on Aggregating Bodies, with the aim of gathering relevant regulatory references, resolutions and reports, to shed light on these bodies and the regulations applicable to them.
The Simplifications bis Decree established, as is well known, that municipalities that are not provincial capitals, in order to award public contracts financed with the PNRR/PNC with a value equal to or higher than the thresholds indicated (40,000 for services and supplies, 150. 000 for works, or higher in the case of qualification of the contracting station) will have to turn to central purchasing bodies or qualified aggregating entities (as well as Unions of Municipalities established and qualified as central purchasing bodies or single contracting stations, single contracting stations established at Provinces, Metropolitan Cities or wide area entities, as well as Unions of Municipalities, Provinces, Metropolitan Cities and Provincial capitals).
The Vademecum first clarifies some definitions, reminding that central purchasing body is a contracting authority or contracting entity that provides centralized purchasing activities and, where appropriate, ancillary purchasing activities; while aggregating entity is a qualified and qualified central purchasing body (ex lege or through prior assessment by ANAC and subsequent inclusion in the appropriate list).
The list of aggregators is established within the Unified Registry of Contracting Stations (AUSA) held by ANAC, and includes up to a maximum of 35 entities, of which the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, including the interregional superintendencies for public works Consip S.p.A., and a Central Purchasing Agency for each Region are ex officio members. Enrollment in the AUSA is sufficient for the time being, as the system of requirements established by the D.P.C.M. of November 11, 2014 has remained unimplemented, pending the entry into force of the qualification system for contracting stations under Article 38 Code.
Particularly useful, then, is the Vademecum’s reference to previous Directions on the management of framework agreements and framework conventions, dated July 2021, in which the Authority, also drawing on the discipline of Consip S.p.A., recalled that central purchasing bodies and aggregating entities:
- support contracting stations in planning needs and monitoring consumption and spending, and plan tenders based on the needs reported by contracting stations;
- clearly define how to join the framework agreement/convention, the maximum capacity of the agreement and the quantitative limits imposed on each contracting station, and regulate, in a clear and detailed manner, the obligations placed on the supplier, who can commit to the maximum amount provided for in the agreement/convention;
- carry out constant monitoring of accessions, providing for appropriate communication and control actions (preferably automated, for contracts aimed at a large number of contracting stations) and control the execution of the framework agreement/convention (while control with regard to the execution of descendant contracts is left, instead, to the individual administration, unless the latter has delegated the contracting authority/aggregating entity for this phase as well);
- may provide, in the tender notice, measures to ensure the continuity of the service or supply in the event that the maximum capacity is reached before the fixed term of the framework agreement/convention, and may affix variations to the framework agreement or convention, authorized by the RUP, that affect the accession contracts, determining their possibility of increase within the limits of the new capacity of the framework agreement.
It is worth mentioning, therefore, that ANAC is expected to adopt by March 31, after consultation with the Prime Minister’s Office, the Guidelines on the qualification system for contracting stations, which are expected to become operational when the reform of the Public Contracts Code comes into force.
Therefore, pending such regulatory and implementation interventions, municipalities lacking the requirements to operate NRP procurements will have to turn to central purchasing bodies and aggregators, which, in turn, will be able to benefit from ANAC guidance, pending a necessary accommodation of their regulatory framework.
***Content produced with the collaboration of Attorney Elena Mitzman, our partner in the legal area.