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In Poland: Sharing Best Practices on Public Spending

July 31, 2013

PROJECT MAP

Open only since 2010, Warsaw’s Copernicus Museum of Science welcomed its two millionth visitor in 2012. The museum is a popular success, offering 450 interactive exhibits, including a robot poet and chances to experiment for kids and grownups.

But it takes rules, regulations, and procedures to create a public space as interesting as this one.

Using Public Money for Public Gain

The museum was built and paid for under the auspices of Poland’s Public Procurement Agency, which is responsible for overseeing all government spending, from the subway to the stadium to roads and bridges. Public procurement in Poland is now electronic and more cost-effective. “It brought us over 20 million Polish zloty in savings,” says Marcin Bednarski, Director of Warsaw’s Public Procurement Department. 

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It brought us over 20 million Polish zloty in savings. Close Quotes

Marcin Bednarski
Director of Warsaw’s Public Procurement Department

“Another success of the city that’s worth mentioning,” he continues, “is the self-learning project. Over 1,800 employees of the Public Procurement Department who are specialists in this area were trained and, thanks to this, we have a single coherent public procurement policy throughout the city and we all maintain the same direction. If we talk about public procurement success on a countrywide scale, once again I have to mention electronic procurement, which is just fantastic.”

Poland has improved its public procurement system. A new law allows companies to get the best possible information on the market before they submit a bid.  Another change are agreements that allow more flexible public spending, while still adhering to public procurement rules.

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As you know, currently we are drafting a law on public procurement.We hope that this year we can finalize and wrap and submit it to the government and the Parliament for approval. So we came here to Poland for learning, for experience on public procurement. Close Quotes

Nguyen Xuan Dao
Public Procurement Agency of Vietnam

Sharing Knowledge and Ideas

Poland’s procurement officials are eager to share their experiences with their international colleagues, says Xavier Devictor, World Bank Country Manager for Poland and the Baltic States. “For many developing countries the challenge is not what to do but how to do it, how to do reforms and, in this context, it is very important to hear from practitioners, from those countries that had already done it, what has worked, what has not worked, what has been the experience, and how it could possibly be tailored or adjusted for the specific country’s circumstances.”

A Visit from Vietnam

In a trip that was facilitated by the World Bank, a delegation from Vietnam visited Poland in the Spring of 2013. “As you know, currently we are drafting a law on public procurement.” says Nguyen Xuan Dao, of the Public Procurement Agency of Vietnam.  “We hope that this year we can finalize and wrap and submit it to the government and the Parliament for approval. So we came here to Poland for learning, for experience on public procurement.”

Polish officials say the sharing of knowledge and ideas is crucial. “I hope that our guests are going to benefit from it as well; that I have benefitted from this meeting is quite obvious to me. I learn a lot about other countries thanks to such meetings,” says Dariusz Piasta, Vice-Chairman of the Polish Public Procurement Office. “To me, meeting representatives of administration of other countries is sort of a surrogate of traveling the world. Meeting such people is very valuable as it allows learning a lot about other cultures and other experiences. I also hope that the delegations also learn something about the public procurement system in Poland, and that these meetings are beneficial for them.”

Public spending is a huge part of any country’s budget and one that, in the past, was subject to allegations of cronyism and corruption. The new electronic and more transparent system is meant to keep the money flowing to the public part of procurement…for the benefit of all.

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“For many developing countries the challenge is not what to do but how to do it, how to do reforms and, in this context, it is very important to hear from practitioners, from those countries that had already done it, what has worked, what has not worked, what has been the experience, and how it could possibly be tailored or adjusted for the specific country’s circumstances Close Quotes

Xavier Devictor
World Bank Country Manager for Poland