ASU Center for Organization Research and Design

Performance-Based Specifications: Exploring When They Work and Why

by Laura Turley; Mariana Hug Silva; Scarlett Benson; Carlos Dominguez

Sep 1, 2014

There is extensive research and attention on innovation and sustainable public procurement (SPP) in the European Union at present, with the 2014 revision of the Procurement Directives, the Innovation Union strategy and other European Union policy initiatives. This report seeks to contribute to this discussion through the investigation of the use of performance based specifications (PBSs) in public procurement in the European Union and the United States. The report outlines the benefits and limitations of the use of PBSs, even in the most "progressive" public procurement environments, such as the Netherlands, particularly around their ability to support sustainable development goals and deliver environmental benefits for a procuring authority, such as energy and resource efficiency. Additionally, this report aims to identify the sectors in which the enabling conditions for the successful use of PBSs in public procurement are in place and to understand what policies and regulations are needed to promote the use of PBSs in public tenders and public procurement framework agreements.