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“There can’t be just one ‘No. 1’ rule in public procurement system”

Short interview with Sue ARROWSMITH, Achilles Professor of Public Procurement Law and Policy; Director, Public Procurement Research Group, Faculty of Social Sciences – University of Nottingham.



Talking about her like a ‘guru’ or ‘encyclopedia’ of Public Procurement, after she managed to establish it as legal discipline in the UK, Sue Arrowsmith was the most awaited guest by the lawyers community in Romania these days.

For the first time visiting Romania, Sue Arrowsmith attended Bucharest Public Procurement Conference on January 26, an event supported by The Romania Journal as media partner, where she talked about the most important issues of the new EU Public Procurement Directives.



  • What was your knowledge about the PP system in Romania before attending this event?

The PP system in Romania is based on the EU law which is the same basis as the UK system. So, there are many similarities between all the EU Member States. A lot of conferences and exchange knowledge based on EU system occur, because it is so detailed. If you know the EU system, you automatically know about each state system. But, at the same time, every state has its own differences, different rules. I know a lot of differences in your country PP system because I met few Romanian PhD students who made some researches on specific domains, topics that we’ve approached within the conference. So, I can say that I have a lot of background…


  • What is the no. 1 rule in PP for the actors involved, in order to have a good PP system?

There can’t be just one ‘No. 1’ rule. First of all, there is a limit of what you can do with the legal rules. More important than the legal rules is the self-culture in the institutions that are actually carrying out with procurement. It’s very important to make sure that you have a PP system free of corruption.

Another important thing is to focus on making sure that the procurement process is made professional, that there are good institutions and good methods to detect corruption.

Also, an important think is the PP to be based on open advertising of the contracts and giving information to people who participated once the procedure for wining the contract is completed, to have all the detailed information available.


  • For more than 20 years, you continue to sign reviews of the first international academic procurement journal – Public Procurement Law Review. How the PP procedures evolved all these years?

The Law became much more complicated. And I’m not sure that this is like an improvement… The details are more complex, all became more difficult to interpret, more difficult to apply. This takes people’s focus away of getting good value for money.

Actually, it would be better if it would spend more time looking on the institutions – which EU is starting to do now – and to focus on training people to be professional.

The system was good when it started back to 1970s, but since then, the things got more complicated…


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