How a Collective Public Procurement Intranet is changing the Lisbon City Council

August 24, 2022
Joel Monteiro
  • Client Lisbon City Council
  • Role Portals & Collaboration
  • Year 2022

The client:

The Lisbon City Council (in Portuguese, Câmara Municipal de Lisboa) is the collegiate executive body representing the municipality of Lisbon, whose mission consists of defining and implementing policies that promote the council in different areas. The Lisbon City Council is the largest in the country, employing over 10.000 workers, and its policies impact the daily lives of millions of citizens who live in Lisbon or visit the Portuguese capital.

The challenge:

A SWOT analysis carried out in 2019 identified a fragmented information system and a lack of a single communications channel as weaknesses at the Lisbon City Council’s Municipal Finance Department –Public Procurement Department (in Portuguese, Direção Municipal de Finanças – Departamento de Aprovisionamentos), whose main function is to oversee public tenders.

These limitations didn’t stop the department from carrying out its daily activities, but, at the start of the following year, the first lockdown of the 2020 global pandemic forced the City Council to address them. With the high risk of contagion making everyone work from home, communication channels and centralized information became top priorities at all organizations, and the public procurement department pushed for a collaborative portal to solve these shortcomings.

After adjusting to its new reality, the department looked for a way to improve its remote working experience. With the whole department using Microsoft 365, SharePoint Online became the main contender to overcome this challenge. SharePoint was perfect at addressing the department’s information and communication needs while providing collaboration and training tools. Most importantly, it could serve as the department’s digital gateway, humanize the team’s remote work, and make the public tender procedure more transparent and swifter than ever.

“If the starting question was “what can we do to take advantage of this experience?”, we quickly realized that the right question should be “what can we do to improve this experience?”, since in March the entire department had access to Microsoft 365.”

– Maria João Pinto, Manager of the Collaborative Public Procurement Intranet, Lisbon City Council

The solution:

The Collaborative Public Procurement Intranet (in Portuguese, Portal Colaborativo de Compras) started as a tool for assisting the Public Procurement department in its main duty: to centralize and normalize the main internal public procurement guidelines. Due to its guiding principles of transparency and promptness standards, the tendering process requires many documentations, provided not only by applicants but also by legal documents relating to each tender, which the department kept in a shared folder on a server. While centralized, this folder was disconnected from the department’s work environment, which resulted in its content being updated only on occasion. If the Collaborative Public Procurement Intranet were to assist the department throughout the public procurement process, the contents of this folder had to be made accessible and updatable from the portal.

Lisbon City Council Collective Public Procurement Intranet 7

The Collaborative Public Procurement Intranet on SharePoint Online became the working hub for the Financial Department, an idea further reinforced after the integration of a previously developed Power App that helped streamline the public tender process. However, the vision of the team managing the portal was far from complete, and it was looking into making it a center for information and communications.

“The approach to the CML project was very interesting. We managed to build a solution for knowledge sharing that is simple to use and at the same time very flexible and centralized.”

– Valter Lima, Software Developer | Portals – Office365, SharePoint & .NET, DevScope

Department workers should ideally be on par with everything related to public procurement, but with no news platform in place, they were getting their information from general, dispersed news channels. With the new portal, news on public procurement and related areas of knowledge, including those aimed at sustainability, innovation, circularity, and digital transition, are published daily and everyone is now on par with what’s going on. Workers are more invested than ever, as indicated by the uptick in traffic on Mondays, with people accessing the portal to keep up with what happened during the weekend. On top of that, the department releases a newsletter every Friday, highlighting the most important news of the week that’s coming to an end.

Lisbon City Council Collective Public Procurement Intranet 3

Autonomy has always been a concern for our team on any project we deploy. To ensure everyone in the Public Procurement Department had the confidence and autonomy to create news, update content, and use any features in the portal, we provided an 8-hour training session to the whole team and a back office with “How to” instructions to help the content managers.

“The 8-hour training gave the audience the confidence to create news, among many other features taught, to workers of very diverse age groups, which somehow demystified the “boogeyman” of technology.”

– Maria João Pinto, Manager of the Collaborative Public Procurement Intranet, Lisbon City Council

Additionally, the Public Procurement Department team has been stimulating continuous learning and using the portal to promote classes, events, workshops, and congresses, as well as appeal to everyone to contribute with their content. New workers can quickly learn the ropes by clicking a tab in the portal providing effective onboarding and following the department’s Yammer where announcements are made.

Lisbon Collective Public Procurement Intranet 4


The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed how most of us work, and that change was especially significant for those working at the Lisbon City Council’s Public Procurement Department. The lockdown forced them to work from their homes but also gave them the means to improve the way they work and provide a swifter and better public service thanks to the Collaborative Public Procurement Intranet. With the new portal, workers have information at hand, never miss a piece of important news and stay on top of the public tender process. Usage of the Collaborative Public Procurement Intranet is high and is tracked using Power BI reports embedded in the portal itself.

“The fact that this solution is highly flexible and scalable will allow it to accommodate the future municipal procurement network, making this Portal its respective channel.”

– Maria João Pinto, Manager of the Collaborative Public Procurement Intranet, Lisbon City Council

Because the contractual procedure for this project took longer than usual, the purpose of the Collaborative Public Procurement Intranet matured, and the Public Procurement Department decided to extend it to workers in other departments whose activity included public procurement. This idea brought a significant number of new users to the portal and turned it into the platform of choice for purchases for the entire organization. The experience has been so positive that other organic units at the Lisbon City Council are looking to develop portals for their own core areas.

The portal’s high flexibility and scalability also made it the platform of choice to accommodate the future Municipal Procurement Network, a major work in progress at the Lisbon City Council that will provide centralized support for all public procurement in the municipality. Other changes are coming at the beginning of next year, following the implementation of ISO 20400 – sustainable procurement.

Technologies Used:

Banner animado PowerBI Portal