New CPV Regulation enters into force

United Kingdom

The European Commission’s Regulation on a new Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV) entered into force on 15 September 2008.

The CPV is the EU-wide classification system for public procurement contracts. It is a comprehensive list of goods and services, each having its own CPV code. The CPV standardises the references used by contracting authorities and entities when describing the subject matter of their contracts.

The currently applicable public procurement directives make use of the CPV obligatory. It is important to note however that the annexes to the public procurement directives refer to the CPV codes in place in 2004 when the directives were adopted, but that the relevant CPV codes are now those from the new CPV Regulation. Care should be taken to cross-refer the CPV codes listed in the annexes to Directives 2004/17/EC and 2004/18/EC with the codes of the new CPV Regulation, which are the effective codes. The old and new CPV codes are only equivalent in parts. In the UK, the 2006 Public Contracts Regulations and the 2006 Utilities Contract Regulations have been amended to refer to the new CPV – see the amending regulation and the explanatory memorandum.

The Commission hopes that the use of the new CPV will make it easier to identify contract opportunities across borders and reduce time spent drafting and translating specifications.

The new CPV is designed to be more user-friendly than its predecessor, by becoming more “product-driven” and less “material driven”. For example, the previous version of the CPV contained different codes for chairs, depending on the material from which they were made (plastic, wood, metal). The new CPV focuses on the product (i.e. a code for chairs) and additional specifications can be added by using an appropriate code from the list.

Please click here for the text of the CPV Regulation.