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A few words about the references

As a condition of participation in the procedure, awarding entities very often require participation in the procedure in the form of experience in performing specific construction works, supplies or services.

The article was written in cooperation with the Partner Kancelaria Sadkowski i Wspólnicy. The following article has been prepared for you by legal advisor Michał Szczęsny

In order to confirm the fulfillment of such a condition, contractors submit a specific list, and the legislator also requires the submission of evidence confirming whether the work has been performed (or possibly is being performed) properly. In order to confirm the proper performance of works, contractors usually present references, but, importantly, it is not the only document that may constitute evidence of the proper performance of the works. Contractors may also use other documents prepared by the entity for which the works were performed, so it may also be, for example, a works or service acceptance report.

Nevertheless, references are the most popular document confirming the proper performance of the work. Contractors, when applying for their acquisition, should bear in mind that the regulations do not require the references to be signed by a person authorized to represent the entity issuing the references. The signatory of the references may be a person who is not authorized to represent a given entity, as long as he has only knowledge of the performance of the work. As indicated in this respect in the jurisprudence:

“References are a statement of knowledge, so they may be issued by a representative of the contracting authority not necessarily authorized, e.g. according to the National Court Register, to sign documents on behalf of the entity that issued such a reference” – judgment of the National Appeals Chamber of March 5, 2021, KIO 391/21.

It is worth remembering that the issuers of references can be any entities – they do not have to be only public entities – other public awarding entities. The contractor may demonstrate experience in performing work for a private entity, e.g. another company, which consequently means that such a private entity may be the issuer of the references.

It should be remembered that the only purpose of the reference is to confirm the proper performance of the work, which means that it should contain some positive evaluation of the performance of specific works, not necessarily through the use of the phrase “good performance”. Other equivalent phrases can be used here, as long as the references show a positive assessment of cooperation with a given contractor, or the performance of the contract in accordance with the requirements.

References do not have to contain such information as, for example, the duration of the contract or the value of the work performed. It would be recommended to include such information in the references, but it is not necessary for their “validity” and the contractor may submit references that do not contain the above-mentioned information. It is only important that the references confirm the proper performance of the work. It is in the list of performed works, services or supplies that data such as value, their subject or the period of performance should be indicated (the information required by the contracting authority).

The date of issue of the references does not affect their evaluation, in fact, the references do not have to include the date of issue. An exception is the experience of deliveries or services performed at the time of the submission of tenders – in the case of repeated or continuous services, references or other documents confirming their proper performance should be issued within the last 3 months before the deadline for submitting tenders. However, references can also be issued after the deadline for submitting tenders.


If you are interested in detailed information regarding the above-mentioned issue, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Michał Szczęsny, Legal Advisor

The Public Procurement Law Department of the Sadkowski i Wspólnicy Law Firm

Michał Szczęsny, attorney-at-law at the District Chamber of Attorneys at Law in Katowice. Specialist in the field of public procurement law and civil law. He has been involved in public procurement from the beginning of his professional career. He gained professional experience advising both ordering parties and contractors. He was responsible for the control of public procurement procedures financed from EU funds as part of the conducted audits, and he also actively participated in legal services in the implementation of infrastructure projects. He also has experience in representing clients before common courts and the National Appeals Chamber. Author of legal publications.


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