The Office of the Auditor General’s review of the government’s programme for electronic procurement, Document no. 3:5 (2004-2005) was submitted to the Storting on 20 January 2005.
The review discusses a five-year programme established by the then Ministry of Labour and Government Administration in 1999 with the purpose of introducing electronic procurement into the public sector. The goal for the electronic marketplace was to perform half of all public procurement transactions electronically by the end of 2003. The review shows that only 17 public entities were connected to the marketplace at that time, accounting for 0.06 per cent of total public procurement.
The review highlights the following causes for the shortfall in achieving the programme goals: The available funding has been insufficient; the programme management has been located at a low management level; and the programme has aided public entities in their coordination of procurements only to a limited extent. The Office of the Auditor General also emphasises that the programme targets have not been very realistic and raises the issue of whether the programme objectives should have been revised during the project period.
In its response, the Ministry of Modernisation underscores that the introduction of electronic procurement is a demanding process and that the causes of the shortfall in goal achievement must be sought both in the characteristics of the programme itself as well as in the individual public entities.
The Ministry will launch a comprehensive effort at the strategic level subsequent to the finalisation of the programme for e-trade on 31 December 2004. This will include a review of the societal effects of a transition to electronic trade.