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Advisory assistance to bidders 2007/2008

Protection of bidders' rights is one of the most important pillars of regular public procurement. The system of protection of rights in Serbia is regulated by the Law on Public Procurement and is conceived as a two-tier system. This means that, in the first instance, the bidder complains to the procuring entity, so if the procuring entity rejects its request, the bidder sends a complaint to the Commission for Protection of Rights, as a second instance body that can decide to annul the procedure in whole or in part or reject the bidder's appeal. The decision of the Commission is final and cannot be appealed or an administrative dispute.

Realizing the importance of protection of rights for the establishment of a credible and efficient public procurement system, Transparency Serbia (TS), in the period April 2004 - April 2005, implemented the project "Efficient Public Procurement" whose key component was training of bidders throughout Serbia in the field of protection in public procurement procedures.

One of the basic findings of this project was that the level of knowledge of the procedure of protection of rights is relatively low among bidders. This has the consequence that, due to insufficient knowledge of the rules and procedure, the bidders fail to request protection of their rights or to submit requests for protection of rights that have formal shortcomings, which is why they are rejected by the Commission. At the same time, there is no body to which bidders can turn for consultation when it comes to specific cases of protection of rights, but this type of advice is provided only by law firms with commercial compensation. There is a noticeable problem that smaller bidders often give up the protection of their rights because they need to pay for the services of law firms in order to eliminate doubts, as well as the amount of 40,000 dinars of fee that needs to be paid to start the protection process.

Therefore, Transparency Serbia, in cooperation with the OSCE Mission to Serbia, has launched a project aimed at providing free legal aid advice to bidders. The bidders could turn to the experts of Transparency of Serbia for advice on the phone number 0800-081-081 from 11 to 15 every working day, starting from October 1, 2007.

The assistance of the TS was of an advisory nature and did not include the drafting of requests for protection of rights. The opinions and views of TS experts do not necessarily coincide with the views of the donor (OSCE) or the Commission for the Protection of Rights.

The planned period of advisory assistance was ten months. After that, representative cases were collected and published in the publication: "Cases of protection of rights in public procurement procedures". The results of the project, as well as the publication were presented at the final conference entitled: "Towards better protection of rights in public procurement procedures".


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 The project was fully supported by the OSCE Mission to Serbia.


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