The Cabinet Office has today (15 December 2020) released a Green Paper entitled "Transforming Public Procurement" setting out its long-planned changes to the UK's procurement rules.
The Green Paper can be read here: Transforming Public Procurement (publishing.service.gov.uk)
The 42 consultation questions can be read here: Green Paper Consultation Questions Transforming Public Procurement (publishing.service.gov.uk)
The paper makes a number of proposals, developed over time in consultation with over 500 stakeholders, which include:
- Removing over 300 complex regulations, to create a single uniform rulebook
- Overhauling inflexible and complex procedures, replacing them with three simple modern procedures. This will allow more freedom for suppliers and the public sector to work together and innovate
- Allowing buyers to include wider social benefits of the supplier, such as economic, social and environmental factors, when assessing who to award a contract to, while also still considering value for money
- Giving buyers the power to properly take account of a bidder’s past performance, allowing them to exclude suppliers who have failed to deliver in the past
- A new unit to oversee public procurement with powers to improve commercial skills of public sector contractors
- A single digital platform for registering contracts, improving transparency and making life significantly simpler for business.
The paper also makes reference to plans to "make procurement more transparent and effective during times of crisis where government needs to act quickly to ensure vital goods and services are bought." There are proposals to reform the scope of the current exemption for "extreme urgency", introducing more definition around the scope of a crisis during which the exemption may apply.
The proposals cover almost 80 pages and there is a considerable amount of detail that merits proper consideration over the coming days and weeks. Our team will be reporting on the proposed reforms , so please check our Public Procurement blog in the weeks ahead for further updates on the specific issues that the Green Paper considers : Burges Salmon blog (burges-salmon.com)
For those responding to the consultation, responses to the questions must be sent to email@example.com by 10 March 2021.
If you would like to discuss the content of the Green Paper, please contact us.
The Government’s goal is to speed up and simplify our procurement processes, place value for money at their heart, and unleash opportunities for small businesses, charities and social enterprises to innovate in public service delivery. The current regimes for awarding public contracts are too restrictive with too much red tape for buyers and suppliers alike, which results in attention being focused on the wrong activities rather than value and transparency. We need a progressive, modern regime which can adapt to the fastmoving environment in which business operates.