Public Procurement Opportunities

An Expert's View about General Public Administration in France

Last updated: 21 Aug 2011

Purchasing by public authorities in France accounts for a significant percentage of GDP. In 2009, a survey of public purchasing found that contracts to a total value of well over €80 billion were signed as a result of some 117,000 individual tenders.

Sector briefing Public Procurement Opportunities in France Why France? Purchasing by public authorities in France accounts for a significant percentage of GDP. In 2009, a survey of public purchasing found that contracts to a total value of well over ?80 billion were signed as a result of some 117,000 individual tenders. So there are vast opportunities out there. On the other hand, there is little if any low-hanging fruit. Targeting public purchasing in France needs to be part of a considered and sustained business strategy. This note provides a short introduction to the French system of public procurement and some advice on the first steps to take in approaching the market. Find general information on the French market ?There are reckoned to be at conditions on UKTI?s website. The Doing least 100,000 public Business Guide for France gives an overview of purchasing organizations in France?s economy, business culture, potential opportunities and an introduction to other France. ? relevant issue. UK Trade & Investment Sector briefing: Public Procurement Opportunities in France services, whatever their value, are excluded Opportunities from the requirement for formal tendering procedures, notably those in the cultural, Who are the buyers? educational, training and legal sectors. There are reckoned to be at least 100,000 How do I reply to a call for tenders? public purchasing organizations in France. These include up to 3,000 bodies forming part First make sure you have understood the of central government and between 60 to requirements and have all the relevant 80,000 bodies forming part of local documentation (and noted the submission government. In addition, hospitals, utilities, deadline). The principal documents are: transport companies and other organizations providing public services are subject to public - The Règlement de consultation (RC) procurement rules, at least in respect of part of which sets out the ?rules of the game? their activities. - The Acte d?engagement (AE) which, Many public authorities decide to delegate their when signed, legally binds the company purchasing to a specialised central body, in on the terms it has specified in the bid order to avoid the costly administrative burden of applying the procurement rules and to - The Cahier des clauses administratives benefit from economies via bulk-purchasing. In particulières (CCAP) which sets out the return, the central purchasing body charges a administrative rules in detail commission on the orders placed on the authority?s behalf. The largest and most well- - The Cahier des clauses techniques known central purchasing body is UGAP. particulières (CCTP) which sets out the detailed technical specification How does the tendering system work? Calls above the European thresholds will have The laws governing public purchasing in France a summary in English, but the full tender will are brought together in a single, voluminous only be available in French. NB (a) all bid anthology of legal texts known as the Code des documentation needs to be submitted in Marches Publics (CMP). Public bodies and French (or, if the original is in English, must be analogous organizations providing public accompanied by a certified translation); (b) services are bound by the rules set out in the there are particular issues concerning CMP. Public contracts are divided into three paperless bidding which currently make it categories: works (travaux), supplies difficult for firms without a registered business (fournitures) and services (services) in France to obtain an electronic signature There are no specific rules governing public which is a pre-requisite for this contracts below ?4000, although the public authority must still be able to demonstrate that Key tips for British businesses it has acted fairly in awarding the contract. (There is currently discussion about raising this (a) Get to know key contacts well, notably threshold to ?15000.) the purchasers in relevant public bodies, in order to understand their needs and Above this threshold, the public authority must to try to position your products for publicise its intention to purchase and ensure future tenders. (Once a tender is open, that competing bids can be made. For lower- you will not be able to discuss it with value contracts, the purchaser has a relatively the purchasing authority but at other free hand in deciding the procedure to adopt ? times officials will generally be open to these tenders are known as MAPA (Marchés meeting businesses, particularly if they passés selon une procédure adaptée). The have innovative products or services to rules, particularly on publicity, are however offer.) more prescriptive above ?90 000. Formal procedures ,as defined by European Directives (b) Consider carefully whether you have the and including a public call for tenders (?Appel technical, financial and linguistic d?offres?), come into play above ?193 000 for capacity to put in a strong bid. In local authority supplies/services, ?125 000 for particular, do you believe you have a central government supplies/services and significant competitive advantage over ?4 845 000 for works. Certain types of UK Trade & Investment Sector briefing: Public Procurement Opportunities in France other, especially incumbent, Key Sources of Information competitors? There is a mass of information out there ? but (c) One-off costs of bidding are likely to be you?ll need to avoid getting drowned in it. high, so bidding for an individual contract should generally form part of a Here are some key web-sites to help you begin longer-term strategy for entering the your exploration of public procurement French market. opportunities in France: (d) To minimise costs and maximise the chances of success, consider bidding as This is the site of the official gazette publishing part of a consortium with partners the calls for tender issued by central and local already present in the market. government. Alerts service available ? 95 euros per annum (e) Ensure you have an adequate network in place to ensure local distribution and after-sales service, if relevant. All central government tenders are published on this site ? around 20 000 per year. Easy to (f) Put in place systematic scanning of navigate. Free alert service. relevant websites in order to improve your knowledge of procurement opportunities and ensure you are Central purchasing body for supplies and alerted to specific calls of interest to services. Turnover of over ?1.5 billion in 2009. your company. Purchases (for re-sale to its clients) a wide range of products from school furniture to This can be no more than a brief introduction medical scanners. Website includes forward to a complex subject. If you have any view of calls for tender through to end 2012. questions on the opportunities above, contact the UKTI contacts named in this report. Business opportunities aimed specifically at UK Website for the central purchasing organisation companies are added daily to UKTI?s website. of the French armed services. Procures a wide These leads are sourced by our staff overseas range of goods and services ? worth around in British Embassies, High Commissions and ?200 million per annum. Consulates, across all sectors and in over 100 markets. Find full details of all events in this country and sector on the UKTI website. You can be alerted to business opportunities on New export events are added daily to the site a regular basis by registering on the UKTI and you can register to be alerted to them on a website. Find out more on UKTI?s business daily, weekly or monthly basis opportunities service on the UKTI website UKTI?s Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) provides grant support for eligible Small & Medium Sized Enterprises (SME's) to attend trade shows overseas. Find out more about UKTI support for attendance at overseas events UK Trade & Investment Sector briefing: Public Procurement Opportunities in France UKTI contacts Andrew Holt Deputy Director UKTI France British Embassy Paris Tel: +33 (0)1 44 51 31 69 Email: Mia Barclay Consumer and Creative Industries Team UKTI France British Embassy Paris Tel: +33 (0)1 44 51 32 48 Email: UK Trade & Investment Sector briefing: Public Procurement Opportunities in France Next steps - ? Arranging appointments How UKTI can help ? Organise seminars or other events for you to meet contacts and promote your British companies wishing to develop their company in the French market business in the French market are advised to undertake as much market research and This work is available via our Overseas Market planning as possible in the UK. UKTI?s team in Introduction Service (OMIS) a chargeable France with its wide local knowledge and service which assists British-based companies experience, can provide a range of services to wishing to enter or expand their business in British-based companies wishing to grow their overseas markets. business in global markets. To find out more about commissioning this This can include: work, or accessing other UKTI services and ? Provision of market information specialist advice, please visit the UKTI website ? Validated lists of agents/distributors to find contact details for your local UKTI ? Key market players or potential office. customers in the French market ? Establishment of interest of such contacts in working with you Whereas every effort has been made to ensure that the information given in this document is accurate, neither UK Trade & Investment nor its parent Departments (the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office), accept liability for any errors, omissions or misleading statements, and no warranty is given or responsibility accepted as to the standing of any individual, firm, company or other organisation mentioned. Published 2011 by UK Trade & Investment. Crown Copyright © Published 2011 by UK Trade & Investment. ©Crown Copyright 2011 You may reuse this information (not including logos, images and case studies) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. To view this licence, visit or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: This publication is also available from our website at or for more information please telephone +44 (0)20 7215 8000. UK Trade & Investment Sector briefing: Public Procurement Opportunities in France
Posted: 21 August 2011, last updated 21 August 2011