There are certain transparency provisions for distribution of funds among service providers, but with minor issues that are not regulated. Few laws contain provisions for open competition (Law on Public procurement, Law on Free Legal Aid, Law on Social Protection, etc.). Price is not the lead criterion for the selection of service providers. With the new Law of Public Procurement, the existing criterion of the lowest price was replaced with the best value offer. However, the first seven months of the implementation of the new law confirm that institutions engage in old and ineffective practices (97% of the tenders use the lowest price as a criterion). The harshest criticism aimed at the criteria of the lowest price and electronic auction in the procurement were for the old Law: food for kindergartens and medical material for hospitals.
There are guidelines on how to ensure transparency in the evaluation and selection of service providers and managing conflicts of interests. The Law on Public Procurement defines clear guidelines on how to ensure transparency and avoid conflicts of interest, as it provides that the commission signs statement of no conflict of interest. In case there is one, members of the Commission should resign and new public officials should be appointed. Furthermore, the Law on Public Procurement established a State Appeals Commission for Public Procurement with the mandate to decide upon appeals in public procurement, concession contracts and public-private partnerships. No appeals procedure is possible against the decision of the State Appeals Commission, but the process can be pursued further through the Administrative Court.
There are examples of CSOs receiving state contracts for provision of services in different areas. According to the survey, the 11 CSOs that obtained service provision contracts for 2019, worked in youth matters, support for marginalized people and people with special needs, science and education, economic development and employment, democracy, good governance and rule of law, culture and art.
0 – 20 Fully disabling environment20 – 40 Disabling environment
40 – 60 Partially enabling environment60 – 80 Enabling environment
80 – 100 Fully enabling environment
Chart 17. Please select if you agree with the following statements regarding the participation of CSOs in providing services (%):
Most of the CSOs respondents (62.6%) do not know if the procedure is fair and transparent when it comes to awarding state contracts for service delivery, almost a third (28.2%) do not agree, while for 9.2% CSOs it is fair. More than half (55.2%) of the CSOs do not know whether public officials have capacities to (e.g. knowledge, training) to implement the procedures for service delivery, while 33.7% do not agree, and 11% CSOs agree.
Recent CSO research established that the shortage on knowledge and skills among the officials is due to the the changes in the new Law and the lack of internal investment in training and capacity.