Procurement in a nutshell – contracts finder
1st May, 2015
In this Procurement in a Nutshell update we will be looking at when Contracting Authorities (CAs) have to publish information on Contracts Finder under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCRs 2015).
The full regulations are available here.
To save you time and to help all practitioners, each week we will issue succinct notes on key changes.
CAs must publish certain information on Contracts Finder under regulations 106, 108, 109, 110 and 112 of the PCRs.
Above Threshold Procurements
For contracts above the EU thresholds set out at regulation 5 (i.e. works above £4,322,012 or supplies / services above £111,676 for Central Government CAs or £172,514 for Sub-central CAs):
- Where a Contract Notice is sent to the EU Publications Office for publication, the CA must publish the information on Contracts Finder within 24 hours from the time they are entitled to publish the notice at national level. The minimum requirements for this are set out at reg 106(2).
- Where a Contract Award Notice is sent to the EU Publications Office for publication, it must also publish information about the award on Contracts Finder within a reasonable time but after it becomes entitled to publish the notice at national level. The minimum requirements and information which can be withheld are set out at reg 108(3) and (4).
- These requirements do not apply to CAs which are maintained schools or academies.
Below Threshold Procurements
For contracts with a value above £10,000 for Central Government CAs and £25,000 for Sub-central CAs but below the regulation 5 thresholds:
- Where a CA advertises a contract opportunity it must also publish information about the opportunity on Contracts Finder within 24 hours. The minimum requirements for this are set out at reg 110(8).
- Where a contract is awarded by a CA, it must publish information about the award on Contracts Finder. The minimum requirements for this are set out at reg 112(2).
Contracts under the Light Touch Regime
The same rules on advertisement apply as for above threshold procurements but not if the procurement is for health and social care services for the purposes of the NHS within the meaning and scope of the National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No 2) Regulations 2013.
Special arrangements for call-off contracts under Framework Agreements
- For above threshold contracts, where a CA awards a contract based on a Framework Agreement, it must advertise the award on Contracts Finder in accordance with reg 108.
- For below threshold contracts, the requirement to advertise the opportunity on Contracts Finder does not apply where the CA is making an opportunity known to a closed group of suppliers who have already been selected under a Framework Agreement.
- The award of below threshold contracts must still be advertised in accordance with reg 112
Why is it important?
CAs need to be familiar with their obligations to advertise all public contracts. The below threshold regime has introduced requirements that mean there are advertising obligations that apply for procurements which are below the EU thresholds.
As well as following the above rules, CAs should also consider other requirements which may mean that they need to advertise contracts such as through the application of their internal policies or standing orders. CAs should consider particularly their standing orders in light of the new regime.
How can I find out more?
If you have any queries on the issues raised or on any aspect of procurement, please contact us via our procurement hotline on 0191 204 4464.
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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