Public procurement laws are changing. The UK Government’s Procurement Bill is working its way through Parliament and could now be introduced as early as the end of 2023.
In this briefing, David Hansom of Clyde & Co and Susan Hilgers of Proxima look at what is changing and what you can do now to prepare for the biggest changes to procurement practice since 2015.
What is changing?
The changes will be significant. The existing EU-derived public procurement rules for public sector, utilities, concessions and defence are being incorporated into one Act.
The changes to procurement law are seen as a benefit of Brexit by the UK Government. Now that the UK is outside – for the most part – the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the EU and EU Commission policy, the Government saw an opportunity to tailor the rules which apply to £300bn of public spending more to the UK market. Scotland has decided not to proceed with the new rules and so will continue to follow the EU-based regulations.
Although many familiar concepts remain in the draft legislation, many ‘terms of art’ used in procurement have been changed and it will be interesting to see how the Courts interpret the new language.
Greater transparency requires buyers to publish more information more frequently over the life of the procurement and into the contract management phase.
Some of the wider-ranging changes proposed in the Government Green Paper - for example, to the remedies rules in procurement, have not been followed through to the draft legislation. Other areas of policy will be set out in the promised guidance and regulations.
The Government has promised a six-month advance warning before the new rules take effect. This time will pass by quickly, so what are the practical tips to prepare?
How you can prepare now
- Spend management and data - locating and logging your material contracts, mapping and sequencing your procurement pipeline to ensure you have the data necessary for the new transparency notices
- Digital - Are your existing systems ready?
- Training for teams- the Civil Service College is running training for the public sector.
- Template documents – once the bill becomes law, new templates will be needed to cover the new transparency requirements, choice of procedures, and award notification regime.
- Understanding the proposed new procedures, the changes to how you will be engaged by the public sector, the new notices to expect and what information you will receive at the end of a procurement. Training is available.
- Engage with customers early in relation to contracts which are about to expire or be re-procured.
- Spotting issues – as the new regime beds in, there will be a period of adjustment where suppliers may be uncertain about the approach being taken to the procurement. Expert advice can help to navigate the changes.
International law firm Clyde & Co, in partnership with world-leading procurement and supply chain consultancy Proxima, has prepared this series of updates.
For more information or advice, please contact David Hansom, Clyde & Co or Simon Payne at Proxima