What is the ESPD? – The European Single Procurement Document Made Simple


What is the ESPD? – A simple description and key questions answered on the European Single Procurement Document.

European Single Procurement Document (ESPD) – is a ‘form’ required by those bidding for EU contracts above specific thresholds. The ESPD is basically a self-declaration of that you are a legitimate business in terms of: suitability, financial status and ability. The ‘form’ is available for online completion. Indeed online completion will be compulsory by the end of 2018. Click here for a simple video that explains it pretty well.

Is it relevant to you? Well in simple terms if you want to sell your goods or services to publicly funded organisations in other EU countries then probably – but only those contracts that are over EU thresholds.

What’s the rationale behind it? Well despite there being a single market in the EU for many years, satisfying the requirements of different countries was often complex and time consuming. In theory completion of an ESPD form, as a common standard should open the door to easier satisfying of the requirements whether you are bidding to the UK, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Poland, France …. you get the idea.

So does that mean its easy to complete? mmmmm sort of. The EU isn’t known for short forms, but completion of the ESPD is relatively simple if a bit long. Certainly nothing about it should put you or your business off completing it? Plus as it moves to an eform it should mean single completion.

Do partners and sub-contractors need to complete an ESPD? Usually yes, though not always; this should be stated in the tender documentation.

So what’s the advantage for businesses? Well, the idea behind the ESPD is that tenders provide a standardised, one-off form where they will self-declare that they have everything relevant to the tender in place; that they meet all the relevant selection criteria for the procurement and therefore should not be excluded. This is a big change where on larger contracts 40 or 50 (and sometimes more) documents would have to be submitted alondside the tender; such as signed statements, certificates, insurance details and many others. Now completing the ESPD once means it can be reused (either as a soft copy or via the online eESPD form) and only the winning bidder will then need to provide evidence to demonstrate that they meet all the selection criteria. In practice this should take significant pain from the tendering process for higher level contracts.

What should your business do now?

Complete the electronic ESPD (eESPD) form now and certainly in advance of needing to tender – why add to the pressure of submitting by waiting? Remember, there is no disadvantage in developing this form;  it doesn’t commit you to future tendering and it doesn’t cost you anything (apart from a bit of time). It may also be beneficial in getting key partners and subcontractors to complete the form and pull access to this documentation into a tendering library for your business. You can access the eESPD form here. Its completely FREE and as mentioned relatively simple to complete. Another great FREE tool is our simple but highly effective tender database; which provides an easy way to manage your tendering and maintain access to all relevant documents. Click here to gain completely FREE access – there is no catch to any of this.

Can I see a completed ESPD form? Yes, helpfully examples are provided – though you need to register – click here.

What about all the tendering jargon and hoops to jump through; is it worth the hassle? In simple terms while frustrating it can be highly beneficial to businesses of all sizes. It also can be a relatively low risk way of thinking about exporting – providing a specific service or product into a new market often without need for premises, permanent teams on the ground etc. As for the jargon, click here for a simple tender jargon buster that makes things simple. Complex sounding EU jargon should not hold you back; the explanation is usually quite simple.

What about help actually writing tenders? We have excellent templates and model tender responses that you can develop easily in to powerful tenders for your business – taking the pain away. Click here for more information. Our customers provider us will very strong feedback that these templates have helped them to win significant contracts. In the last few weeks a small number of examples of businesses using the templates and model answers and winning public sector contracts included a social enterprise winning a contract worth £150k (stg) pa over four years; a tree maintenance firm winning a of contract worth approximately £1m (stg) pa over four years; a physiotherapy business winning a contract worth up to €40 pa and three professional services firms winning contracts of €18k (EUR), €18k (stg) and €27.5k (EUR).