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Procurement in a Nutshell – Amendments to the Public Procurement Regulations

There have been two recent amendments to the Public Procurement Regulations as summarised below: one very important change that applies to NHS England and NHS Foundation Trusts is described at the end of this nutshell.

Amendments on UK Accession to the World Trade Organisation’s Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA)

Public Procurement (Agreement on Government Procurement) (Amendment) Regulations 2021/573 came into force on 11th June 2021.

The amendment gives effect to the UK’s legal obligations under the World Trade Organisation’s Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) following the UK’s accession to the GPA in its own right after leaving the EU.

The following amendments are made:

  • Relevant definitions have been amended and, for the avoidance of doubt, a schedule listing parties to the GPA has been included;
  • The inclusion of the obligations owed by UK contracting authorities (under the UK’s Appendix 1 to the GPA) to the works, supplies, services and economic operators of any GPA party to ensure that no GPA party receives less favourable treatment;
  • Updating the obligations of UK contracting authorities in respect of international agreements;
  • The duty owed by UK contracting authorities to economic operators from the UK to comply with the Public Procurement Regulations is extended to economic operators from GPA parties.

New Version of Schedule 1 Central Government Authorities

The Public Procurement (Agreement on Government Procurement)(Amendment)(No.2) Regulations 2021/872 came into force on 16th August 2021. The amendments to the PCR 2015 reflect recent changes to Annex 1 of the UK’s Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) coverage schedules:

  • The Regulations amend the Public Contract Regulations 2015 (along with associated amendments to the Concession Contracts Regulations 2016 and the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016) to reflect the new definition of the GPA;
  • The Regulations contain a new version of Schedule 1, the central government authorities. NHSE and NHS Foundation Trusts have been added for the first time.

NHSE and NHS Foundations Trusts should therefore note that they are now covered by the threshold for services and supplies contracts to the lower value of £122,976.

Any queries about the changes should be directed to Tim Care in the Public Sector Team

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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