Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV)

This coding system is used to create automatic translations of tenders across the EU. It is based on a hierarchy of what products are made from; the code is eight digits, plus a check digit, to provide an electronic check of the code when transmitted. This code should be added to every tender placed in electronic EU Official Journal ‘Tenders Electronic Daily’ (TED). All public departments must advertise tenders on TED that are above the current threshold and add the CPV code to their tenders. If they add an incorrect number, so that the tender is not advertised correctly, this can be considered unfair by disadvantaged suppliers across the EU, who can complain to the Commission. 
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Public departments are required to complete an annual return containing CPV information to OGC. See: 

There are 8,323 CPV codes, which can be downloaded, free of charge, in excel format from the SIMAP website, this enables an excel search of the database. 
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  • Enables electronic translation of tenders, saving millions on paper costs
  • Free to Download
  • Headings do not change very often, last change 2002


  • Heading level only, no item level codes or standardized descriptions
  • Hierarchy not considered suitable for analysis information
  • Codes difficult to find and use
  • Inflexible, missing headings cannot be added
  • Cannot be used to collaborate on procurement or share information other than at a very high level
  • Cannot be applied uniformly or quality assured

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