Review of events in 2023

In 2023, we launched the growth strategy, which is based on added value to customers. Hansel’s vision is to be the preferred procurement partner for our customers, and our purpose is to generate savings for the public through efficient procurement operations. Hansel is ethical and efficient, while offering its customers an excellent service experience. Sustainability will continue to be our strength, and this work will be continuously improved in Hansel. Our employees are top public procurement specialists who value their work and each other. Hansel’s corporate culture encourages continuous learning, communality and a good team spirit.

The changed geopolitical situation and the pandemic increased the significance of procurement preparedness. In 2023, the company implemented a preparedness development project. A criticality classification scheme for procurement and measures based on it were introduced in joint procurement. Hansel also ensures the continuity of its own operations in the event of disruptions and ensures joint procurement preparedness in collaboration with the customers and contractual suppliers.

The inflation period finally started to ease at the end of the year. We only received a few proposals to increase prices based on the exceptional circumstances from our contractual suppliers. Price increases are accepted only with careful consideration and based on a contract. The suppliers must be able to prove that their level of expenses has increased as a justification for the price increase.

The year 2023 was an eventful year, as nearly 2,600 customers and suppliers attended various events. Hansel participated in 62 events, of which eight were webinars, 48 were information events on joint procurement matters, and six were events in which Hansel had its own department. We arranged webinars for both customers and contractual suppliers, and the topics ranged from joint procurement and related mini-competitions to ICT and Hansel’s online service. The customer forum was organised three times, and they covered topics such as the procurement law, analysis of purchase invoices and entries related to procurement under the Government Programme.

Hansel regularly monitors customer and supplier satisfaction. The 2023 surveys were realised in January 2024. The average customer satisfaction score on a scale of 1–5 was 4.19 (4.15 in the previous year) and the average supplier satisfaction score was 4.06 (4.01 in the previous year). The joint procurement support unit provides services for nearly 50 join procurement contracts, in which the customer chooses the supplier with mini-tendering. The customer satisfaction score for this unit was 4.53 for commissions in 2023 (4.61 in 2022).

The Government Programme of Prime Minister Petteri Orpo, published in the summer of 2023, includes many amendments to the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts, the preparation of which is likely to begin in the spring of 2024. If they become effective, the amendments will affect Hansel’s tendering by increasing the administrative workload. On the other hand, the Government Programme has a positive approach on joint procurement units. The Government Programme also includes notes on preparedness that affect Hansel’s operation.

A government proposal (102/2023 vp) concerning an amendment of the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts was submitted to Parliament in December 2023. The proposed amendments concern the obligation to notify concerning acquisitions and an extension to the time limits for the monitoring procedure of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority. The pending legislative proposal has no fundamental influence on Hansel’s operations. The working group on updating the Act on the Openness of Government Activities set by the Ministry of Justice published their notes in December 2023. Their notes propose that the regulations applying to the publicity of information be extended to public companies, and that certain regulations be amended. Due to these amendments, the procurement units operating in the form of a company would fall under the same scope of regulation regarding the publicity of information as Hansel. The Ministry of Justice is preparing the expansion of preparedness obligations. If the amendment becomes effective, it would have an impact on Hansel.

The application of Regulation (EU) 2022/2560 of the European Parliament and of the Council on foreign subsidies distorting the internal market began in October 2023. The regulation requires that in the case of procurements of significant value, tenderers must declare any financial aid received from third countries, after which the Commission will examine the compatibility of the aid with the internal market and may prohibit the award of the procurement contract. The EU anti-coercion regulation (2023/2675) entered into force in December 2023, based on which the Commission may investigate the coercion measures of third countries and enforce procurement-related obligations with an implementing act, such as command procurement units to close tenders from third countries guilty of coercion or to adjust the score of tenders from such countries in the comparison of tenders. The EU battery regulation (2023/1542) entered into force in the summer of 2023, requiring procurement units to address the environmental implications during a battery’s life cycle. The EU has several other pending legislative proposals that affect the sustainability and responsibility aspects of public procurement, such as the EU Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence (COM (2022) 71 final), the EU Directive on Energy Efficiency (COM (2021) 802 final), NetZeroIndustryAct (COM (2023) 161 final) and the regulation on the CO₂ emissions standards applying to heavy-duty vehicles (COM (2023) 88).

Hansel is also involved in the working group for joint procurement coordination set by the Ministry of Finance, both as a member and in its secretariat. The working group’s term is from 1 January 2023 to 31 December 2024. This year, Hansel also participated in other projects such as Procurement Finland (Hankinta-Suomi), an operational programme of the Ministry of Finance and the Association of Finnish Municipalities, and a project on the Competence Centre for Sustainable and Innovative Public Procurement (KEINO) by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.

Hansel continued to develop the public procurement notice channel (Hilma), based on an assignment from the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Finance is funding the project, and its related invoicing in other business profits was €1,692,000 in 2023 (€1,437,000 in 2022). The company also had several other development projects such as the development of the website and ERP system (XRM), the creation of mini-competition features and the redesign of the vehicle service. In the area of sustainability and responsibility, the first external sustainability audit concerning cleaning services was finished. The analysis of sustainability of procurement was transferred to the ERP system, which improves reporting towards the customers.

At the end of 2023, Hansel had two pending claims in the Market Court. The company has no pending appeals before the Supreme Administrative Court at the end of 2023. Hansel did not receive any decisions from the Market Court or the Supreme Administrative Court in 2023.

Hansel follows the processing of public procurement matters in the European Union. Hansel is a member of a cooperation group for key central contracting authorities in the EU. In addition to Hansel, the group includes several European central contracting authorities, such as SKI (Denmark), Kammarkollegiet and Adda (Sweden), BBG (Austria), Consip (Italy), and ANCP (Portugal).

Hansel’s compliance function is responsible for the currency of ethical instructions and business principles, as well as the instructions related to ethical operations. It supports personnel in questions related to ethical operations, arranges training and handles potential whistleblowing reports. The function annually reports to the company’s Board.

Sustainable development, environmental matters and the shadow economy

Themes related to sustainability, preparedness and combating the shadow economy are playing an increasingly important role in public procurement. In its operations, Hansel adheres to the sustainability principles laid down by the Government. Sustainability reporting has become an integrated part of the company’s annual reporting practices and provides detailed coverage of all measures related to sustainability. As part of the sustainability work, the company pays special attention to their operation’s effects on competition and the functionality of the market.

Key events after the closing of the financial year

The business operations have remained essentially unchanged after the closing of the financial year.

Outlook and goals for 2024

The company will continue to implement its growth strategy in line with the action plan. The target for the strategy period is to achieve significant growth in joint procurement.