Review of events in 2019

The year 2019 was a year of change for Hansel in many respects. Preparation for the reorganisation of the company and its ownership took a great deal of time and required a host of preparatory actions. The Ministry of Finance and the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities were of the opinion that a joint central contracting authority for the entire public sector would provide major benefits to the customers both in the form of the development of procurement expertise and in the form of a more extensive service portfolio.

The merger was realised on 2 September 2019, at which time 16 employees of KL-Kuntahankinnat became employees of Hansel. The composition of the Board of Directors was also changed, and the Managing Director of the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities became Hansel’s Deputy Managing Director. Hansel’s Managing Director continued in his former position. Before the reorganisation of the company and its ownership, Hansel returned capital amounting to €4.5 million to the state.

Employer-employee negotiations were started in Hansel on 3 September 2019 and concluded with an accelerated schedule on 9 September 2019. The negotiations involved all the employees. Nobody was discharged, but the job descriptions of many employees and the organisational structure were changed. The composition of the Executive Committee was also changed. In August, the Board made a separate agreement with the Managing Director on a previously agreed supplementary pension. For this purpose, Hansel made a fund investment that will cover the pension liability.

To ensure a high level of ethics and compliance, Hansel established a compliance function in October 2019. The establishment of the function was based on a risk analysis which aimed to identify the most significant risks inherent to Hansel’s operations. Hansel’s Code of Ethics and other instructions pertaining to ethics were renewed in this connection. The organisation of the compliance function was specified, responsibilities were determined and a whistleblowing channel was established. Training on ethics and orientation to the practical procedures were offered to the employees.

In November, the Board approved an integration strategy that includes a vision on combining Finland’s public procurement power. The cornerstones of the strategy include an excellent service experience and a comprehensive service portfolio, as well as acting as a trailblazer in responsible and effective procurement. Exemplary operations, strong values and an inclusive work culture are expected to make Hansel the most valued public procurement expert and therefore an attractive employer.

A customer forum was established at the end of the year to bring together representatives of Hansel’s expanded clientele. Consisting of 20 people, the forum offers its views on the development of Hansel’s operations and the sharing of good practices. The first customer forum meeting was arranged in January 2020.

Hansel visited 14 central cities and towns during its autumn roadshow. A total of 450 people from the new regional authority customer organisations and central government customer organisations attended the events. Each year, Hansel organises a variety of customer and supplier events, and participates in stakeholder events.

A Government proposal (HE 47/2019) on an amendment of the Act on a Limited Liability Company Called Hansel Oy was submitted to Parliament in October 2019. It proposes further duties for Hansel, such as maintenance of the procurement notice system Hilma, as well as processing and analysis of procurement data. It also proposes that government agencies should submit procurement data to Hansel. The proposal has been discussed by the Parliament Commerce Committee and the Constitutional Law Committee, but the processing remains ongoing. A previous Government proposal (HE 63/2017) issued in 2017 fell through, because the regional government reform was not realised.

Opinions on a bill to amend the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts were requested in the summer of 2019. The plan is to make some technical amendments to the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts. However, a Government proposal on amending the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts has yet to be submitted to Parliament.

The legal practice of the Supreme Administrative Court and the Market Court on the scope of framework agreement procurement has caused significant changes to Hansel’s operations, because in accordance with the legal practice, the contracting authorities using the framework agreements and the value or volume of their future acquisitions during the agreement period must be specified in great detail when arranging framework agreement tendering processes. The changed practices have delayed tendering processes and caused a major administrative workload for the customers and Hansel.

Over the year, Hansel was involved in several projects, such as Procurement Finland (Hankinta-Suomi), an operational programme of the Ministry of Finance and the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, a project on the Competence Centre for Sustainable and Innovative Public Procurement (KEINO) by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, a project for the digitalisation of public procurement managed by the Ministry of Finance (Handi), the State Treasury’s Tietokiri project and a working group on the black economy and public procurement managed by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority.

In 2019, Hansel realised a new Finnish public procurement notice channel (Hilma) based on an assignment from the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Finance also funded the project. The new Hilma was launched on 2 January 2020. The company also completed other development projects, such as the renewal of a contractual supplier reporting service and the development of a tendering system and an ERP system.

At the end of 2019, Hansel had three claims regarding two tendering processes pending in the Market Court. In 2019, the company received two judgements of the Supreme Administrative Court: the claim was rejected in one and accepted in the other. Hansel also received four judgements of the Market Court in 2019. The processing of the principal claim was abandoned in all of them. Furthermore, the company received one judgement of the Helsinki Administrative Court in which the claim was rejected. Hansel has estimated that the probability of there being any financial consequences from the pending legal proceedings is low.

Hansel regularly monitors customer and supplier satisfaction. A customer satisfaction survey is performed annually and a supplier satisfaction survey every other year. The 2019 survey was realised in January 2020. Both customer and supplier satisfaction were at a high level. The average customer satisfaction score on a scale of 1–5 was 3.9 (3.94 in 2018) and the average supplier satisfaction score was 3.97 (4.00). Hansel also requests feedback on all its tendering service projects. In this field, the average customer satisfaction score was 4.6 (4.6).

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. Other members include the following central contracting authorities: SKI (Denmark), Kammarkollegiet and SKL Kommentus (Sweden), BBG (Austria), Consip (Italy) and ANCP (Portugal).

Sustainable development, environmental matters and the black economy

Within public procurement, themes relating to corporate responsibility and combating the black economy are playing an increasingly important role. In its activities, Hansel adheres to the principles of corporate responsibility, in line with the Government policies. Corporate responsibility reporting is integrated with the company’s annual reporting practices and provides detailed coverage of all measures related to responsibility.

Key events after the closing of the financial year

The company has launched collective agreement negotiations to bring the former KL-Kuntahankinnat employees and the company’s other employees under the scope of the same collective agreement as of 1 April 2020. The business operations have remained essentially unchanged after the closing of the financial year.