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Procurement in a nutshell – PQQs in below threshold procurements

Here we look at the use of Pre-Qualification Questionnaires (PQQs) for below threshold procurements under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

The regulations are available in full here.

What’s new?

Under regulation 111, Contracting Authorities (CAs) cannot include a PQQ stage for any procurement which is below the relevant Regulation 5 threshold for goods and services (£111,676 for Central Government and £172,514 for Sub-central CAs).

However, CAs are permitted to ask suitability assessment questions so long as the questions are (a) relevant to the subject matter of the contract and (b) proportionate.

Suitability questions are defined as questions which relate to information or evidence that the CA requires to assess whether the tenderers meet the minimum requirements for suitability, capability, legal status and financial standing. Whilst these are in the nature of selection criteria, there can be no pre-qualification stage which means that suitability assessment questions must be treated as award criteria.

Why is it important?

CAs need to be aware of the rules regarding PQQs in the below threshold regime. Essentially, PQQs will only be permitted for a works contract above £111,676 or £172,514 depending on the type of CA.

Regulation 111 also requires CAs to have regard to Cabinet Office advice issued in relation to PQQs so we suggest CAs also make themselves familiar with their latest guidance, available here. Please note we will be covering PQQs for above threshold procurements in our next nutshell.

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.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

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