1. General information
CPV codes are a system of classification for procurement objects helping procurement personnel to classify their contract notices consistently and to make it easier for suppliers to identify contract opportunities.
CPV is available in all the European Union’s 23 official languages. CPV stands for Common Procurement Vocabulary and the system was developed by the European Union as a tool to improve transparency and efficiency in public procurement. Thus, the proper use of the CPV shall foster cross-border procurement and, respectively, competition. The first version of the CPV was published in 1993. It has been revised three times since then. The use of CPVs has been mandatory in the European Union since 1 February 2006. The original CPV system (as it is given in the COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 213/2008) consists of the main vocabulary (an 8 digit code plus a check digit), which defines the type of contract; and the supplementary vocabulary, which adds further qualitative information about the contract.
The main vocabulary is made up of approximately 9450 terms given in a five-level tree hierarchy, listing goods, works and services, which are commonly used in procurement. Each CPV code of the main vocabulary has a nine-digit structure, with the first two digits representing the top-level categories, the next six representing ever more defined levels of classification. The ninth digit is a control character that can be used to verify the other eight digits but is not part of the description of the product or service being described.
The Supplementary Vocabulary may be used to expand the description of the subject of a contract. It can be applied if further descriptive information is necessary by using Sections A to M for products, Sections P to U mostly for services, and Sections D and F for either products or services.
For instance, if the user wants to buy tables, he will choose the code “39121200-8 Tables” in the Main Vocabulary to define the basic product. The Supplementary Vocabulary may be used to describe the product further:
Using the code “FA03-2 For school use” would mean that the tables would be suitable for children in an educational area. Using the supplementary code “FG10-9 for outdoor use” could mean that the tables would be weather resistant for this specific use. If the tables are needed for a special event, and if the contracting authority does not want to buy them, the code “PA01-7 Hire” would meet this particular need. The material of which the tables should be made, for instance for aesthetic reasons, can be defined using Section A of the Supplementary Vocabulary.
2. How are the CPV Codes used in Georgia?
In Georgia, the CPV Codes are used in public as well as in commercial procurement processes already over the past several years. In addition to the original aim, namely to make it easier for bidders to identify relevant tender notices, CPV codes have the second purpose within the public procurement processes in Georgia. According to the Georgian Public Procurement Legislation, the competitive procurement procedures shall by applied if the estimated value of homogeneous objects to be procured within the financial year exceeds specific monetary threshold. At the same time, the homogeneity is defined by the first three digits of the CPV code in the CPV main vocabulary (CPV-Groups) and it is not allowed to bundle heterogeneous objects in the same procurement procedure. It should be noted, that due to the fact that finding the correct code can sometimes be a confusing and time-consuming task, the CPV codes are used in Georgia in their principal code-function, in slightly simplified manner. For instance, to the best of our knowledge, the Supplementary Vocabulary was never used while describing the contract opportunity and the ninth digit having a control character is always omitted. At the same time, there are different supplementary tools helping procurement stuff to save their working hours while searching the right codes. For instance, in our system, while publishing the tender notices, the user can find the code of the CPV Group by entering the first letters of the respective keyword in the specific CPV code search tool. The supplier can subscribe automatic notifications either by setting specific CPV codes or on the basis of the keywords set in the user’s profile.