The event, hosted by the Polish embassy, was aimed at British businesses from sectors such as construction and defence, that could be playing a larger role in the Polish market.
UK businesses, with their wide experience around the world can successfully take part in carrying out infrastructure, R&D and defence projects in Poland. This will continue to be the case after Brexit. Despite this, British firms are not making the most of the potential that the Polish market offers, especially given the billions of euro of EU funds available in the current financial perspective. Why is UK business not winning tenders on anything like the scale of their competitors from Germany, France, Scandinavia or Spain? Is it mainly down to the bureaucratic nature of Polish public procurement procedures?
After a welcome and introductory remarks, by Jerzy Bartosik, minister counsellor, head of the Trade and Investment Promotion Section, Michael Dembinski, the BPCC’s chief advisor set the scene for the event. “Around €23 billion in EU funds has been earmarked for Poland in the current financial perspective. In the last one, of every euro the Austrian taxpayer spent to help modernise Poland's infrastructure, 94 cents were won back by Austrian firms. In the case of Germany, it was 64 cents. Danish, Swedish, French, Spanish and Portuguese firms also benefited. The UK's share was a mere 13p in every pound. The aim of this event is to help UK businesses do better in the current EU budgetary round,” said Mr Dembinski.
Mariusz Turek, partner at Profitia Management Consultants, the firm that represents the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply in Poland. Mr Turek explained what CIPS is doing to improve professional standards in procurement across Poland’s private and public sectors. He outlined the key differences between Polish and British public procurement, and explained why, despite current difficulties, there are grounds for optimism that public tenders in the next EU financing round will be better organised.
Wojciech Hartung, counsel at law firm Domański Zakrzewski Palinka, is one of Poland’s foremost legal experts in the area of public procurement. He explained how the EU’s Public Procurement Directive is being implemented into Polish national law, and how British firms wanting to win tenders in Poland should prepare themselves. Like Mr Turek, Mr Hartung expressed a measure of optimism that the new law should make life easier for businesses across the EU bidding for public-sector work in Poland.
During the meeting, speakers explained how Polish public procurement works and presented an overview of the documents required from British businesses bidding for Polish public-sector tenders.
This event proved to be an excellent occasion for informal discussions with the experts dealing with public procurement in Poland on a day-to-day basis, and gave hope that UK firms will take a more active part in bidding for projects.