[FSFE PR][EN] FSFE to Advance Fair Public IT Procurements in Finland

FSFE press at fsfeurope.org
Tue Jun 19 09:24:47 CEST 2012

= FSFE to Advance Fair Public IT Procurements in Finland =

[Read online: http://fsfe.org/news/2012/news-20120619-01.en.html ]

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) has started an initiative to
advance fair public procurements in Finland. The initiative concentrates
on IT related procurement notices that require brand instead of defining
functionalities required by the procurer. To date FSFE has skimmed over
300 procurement notices, and of those taken into closer analysis, 14
have been found to clearly violate the Finnish procurement law. These
violating notices explicitly asked for tenders of specific brands of
software manufacturers or products and thus discriminate all other
brands and manufacturers, effectively stopping free competition.

"We want to raise awareness about this kind of misconduct." says project
manager and FSFE Finnish team coordinator Otto Kekäläinen. "The point
of procurement law is to increase fair competition and get better
software for lower prices, bringing more value for the tax payer's
money. It is imperative that we get 100% of the IT deparments in public
bodies to follow the law, so Free Software companies can compete on fair
terms" he continues.

"In the rare circumstances where a brand may be referred to in a
procurement notice, it must be followed by 'or equivalent'" adds Martin
von Willebrand, the attorney engaged to the project. "The Finnish law
and the underlying EU directive are very clear on this."

- In case the procurement law is violated, FSFE contacts the violating
  authorities to raise awareness on procurement law and best practices.
  In addition to pointing out the specific violation the notice
  contains, the letters also includes a six item list of recommendations
  to ensure proper competition:Define the procurement by functionalities
  and standards. Do not request specific products or require certain
  brands. This allows competing vendors to take part.
- Procure for long enough periods, eg. 4 to 6 years, so that there is
  enough time to plan and execute a change of vendor. Buying new systems
  from the old vendor just because there is not time to migrate is
  normally not an acceptable excuse.
- Base price comparison on the entire life span costs. Specifically
  include exit costs that arise at the end of the life span, when the
  vendor changes.
- Make sure that the procured system is modular and adheres to Open
  Standards, so that there is always the option to change the vendor for
  a module or that completely new modules can be taken into use and that
  they can access the existing data.
- Ensure unlimited right to modify the software and have it delivered as
  source code, so that there is independece from single vendors. The
  original vendor does not have to waive their copyright.
- By favoring Free Software (also knows as "open source") all above
  mentioned requirements are easy to fulfill.

In the letter FSFE asks the authorities to release corrected notices,
with all the violations fixed. Just if no improvements can be seen, FSFE
will later separately consider facilitating court cases or publishing
the identified violations and the names of the officials that have
prepared or approved the violations.

The project started in December 2011 and will continue until the
proportion of illegal procurment notices drops to insignificance.

FSFE works for the public good. Its activities can be supported by
signing up at fsfe.org/support[1]

1. http://fsfe.org/support

== Contact ==

=== Finland ===

Otto Kekäläinen
FSFE Coordinator, Finland

=== +358 44 566 2204International ===

Karsten Gerloff
FSFE President
+49 176 9690 4298If you wish to receive further updates, subscribe to
our press release mailing list at http://fsfe.org/press[2].

2. http://fsfe.org/press

== About the Free Software Foundation Europe ==
  The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit
  non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and
  involved in many global activities. Access to software determines
  participation in a digital society. To secure equal participation in
  the information age, as well as freedom of competition, the Free
  Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is dedicated to the
  furthering of Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use, study,
  modify and copy. Founded in 2001, creating awareness for these issues,
  securing Free Software politically and legally, and giving people
  Freedom by supporting development of Free Software are central issues
  of the FSFE.

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