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Satu Mare: a success story in cooperating with the ULG members

02 May 2017

Almost one year has passed since the start of the second phase of the URBACT III Procure project-Creating a good local economy through procurement. Within this period, the Satu Mare County Intercommunity Development Association appreciates its cooperation with the members of the URBACT support group to be a success story. 

URBACT Local Group in Satu Mare

The Satu Mare ULG has already met for six times in one year to discuss the project and its activities, to prepare for the transnational meetings and to be trained with the support of the Lead Expert of the network on the topic of innovation in public procurement-social criteria. The ULG is composed of 10 members, all of which are procurement officers at local public authorities (Satu Mare County, Carei Municipality, Negrești-Oaș City, Livada City, Tășnad City) or anchor institutions (Satu Mare County Hospital, Satu Mare County Museum, Satu Mare Airport), and representatives of the business environment (Satu Mare Chamber of Commerce and Industry). The group is chaired by Mrs. Mihaela Dragoș, director for public procurement within the Satu Mare County Council.

            The Satu Mare County Intercommunity Development Association has signed from the outset of the project a cooperation agreement with the ULG members in which the tasks of the members have been defined as it follows: active participation at local meetings, involvement in drafting the specific documentation for the project, active involvement and contribution in the elaboration of the integrated action plan, participation through rotation at transnational meetings followed by feedback provided to the other ULG members on most relevant aspects discussed.

            During and between the local meetings, the ULG members have constantly been working on developing the integrated action plan of the Satu Mare County on public procurement. Before starting the work with the IAP, all ULG members have been asked to respond to a spend analysis questionnaire elaborated by the Association in cooperation with the Lead Expert, questionnaire which has provided important and relevant input for the IAP.

            The integrated action plan is considered to be an evolving document and its main aim has been defined as being the creation of an innovative public procurement system for Satu Mare County. Using the problem tree, the ULG members have identified the main problems with the public procurement system to be: lack of innovation, lack of support for the business environment, corruption and multiple appeals of those not satisfied with the tender results.

            Having in mind these problems and using the framework results the ULG members identified three main objectives for the integrated action plan: raising the value of direct spent in the local economy, raising the number of local businesses and SMEs aware of the procurement potential, changing mentality and culture in public procurement. In the following months, the group shall start defining actions and a timeframe for implementing the actions.

 The Association, as partner in this project, considers that the past year of cooperation with the ULG members has been a success story and to this succes the following factors have contributed:

- the group in Satu Mare is relatively small and composed mostly by procurement officers, allowing each member to actively be involved;

- the involvement in Procure project has allowed procurement officers in the county to meet for the first time and to have a framework for cooperation and to exchange ideas;

- the Association has constantly informed the ULG on work undertaken at transnational level and has passed all the information and documents to them;

- the topic of procurement is a challenging one in Romania due to the rigid national legislation and bureaucratic process;

- the ULG members shall all participate through rotation to transnational meetings, a fact which allows them to have a direct contact with the project and with the rest of the international partners.