Yesterday the UK Government announced plans to overhaul the UK’s public procurement regime.
Its much anticipated Green Paper “Transforming public procurement” sets out ambitious proposals for the post-Brexit procurement landscape, which are subject to consultation until 10 March 2021.
Amongst the sweeping proposals in the Green Paper aimed at creating a more simplified, agile regime are the following:
- Consolidating the various existing procurement regulations into a single, uniform framework that replaces the current procedures with 3 simplified procedures for all contract awards (a new flexible procedure, an open procedure and a limited tendering procedure) supplemented with sector specific elements where required;
- Removing the Light Touch Regime and applying the general rules to services currently under this regime;
- Establishing a new unit to oversee and review public procurement and to intervene to improve the commercial acumen of contracting authorities;
- Enabling public procurement to be used as a tool to drive innovation and embedding transparency throughout the commercial lifecycle;
- Permitting buyers to consider economic, environmental and social considerations, together with wider government priorities (such as national security) to award contracts on the basis of the “most advantageous tender”;
- Permitting buyers to give consideration to where suppliers have performed poorly in the past and to exclude those that do not have the capability to deliver;
- Legislating for a new Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS+) available for all types of procurement;
- Cutting red tape to give better access to SMEs, including creating a central digital platform where suppliers need only register once to apply for multiple public sector procurements;
- Introducing new rules around publishing notices for contract amendments and when using the limited tendering process;
- Reforming the current “extreme urgency” ground and creating new clearly defined grounds for crisis procurement to enable swift procurements; and
- Amending the process for challenging procurement decisions and reforming remedies.
The above gives a mere flavour of the comprehensive changes incorporated within the paper. The full list of consultation questions can be found here.
Alongside the Green Paper, Procurement policy note (PPN) 11/20 – Reserving below threshold procurements was also issued yesterday by the Cabinet Office. The PPN is consistent with the themes emerging from the Green Paper on local delivery and favouring smaller and third sector suppliers, with scope to specify these characteristics when procuring contracts for goods, services and works with a value below the applicable thresholds following Brexit.
There will be much to consider in the detail of the Green Paper and we shall be delving further into this. In the meantime, should you wish to discuss the proposals or should you like us to assist you in influencing the public procurement rules of the future by responding to the consultation, please get in touch.