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Procurement in a nutshell – Prior Information Notices

In this Procurement in a Nutshell, we will be looking at the use of Prior Information Notices (PINs) under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

The regulations are available in full here.

What’s new?

PINs generally

  • Under regulation 48, Contracting Authorities (CAs) can make their plans for future procurements known through the use of PINs which are published in OJEU and on the CA’s buyer profile.
  • CAs should check carefully the minimum requirements for the information PINs should contain and the procedure for their publication. PINs must be published on OJEU before their publication at national level.
  • Minimum requirements for PINs are dealt with under Section 1 of Part B of Annex V of the Public Contracts Directive for notices published on OJEU and Part A of Annex V for notices published on buyer profiles.
  • The rules on publication are dealt with under regulations 51 and 52.
  • The period covered by a PIN should not exceed 12 months from the date on which it is transmitted for publication but for contracts for social and specific services (i.e. “light touch” contracts) the PIN can cover a longer period.

PINs as a call for competition

  • Under regulation 26(9), PINs can now also be used as a call for competition by sub-central CAs when using the restricted procedure or competitive procedure with negotiation.
  • Sub-central CAs doing this should ensure their PINs apply with the additional conditions set out at regulation 48(5) e.g. it must refer specifically refer to the supplies, works or services that are to be the subject matter of the contract.

Reduction of timescales

  • Where a compliant PIN is used NOT as a call for competition and provided that it was sent for publication between 35 days and 12 months before a Contract Notice was sent, certain timescales can be reduced when CAs are using the open or restricted procedures or competitive procedure with negotiation.

Why is it important?

CAs should ensure they understand the circumstances in which a PIN can or should be used and the minimum requirements that they need to comply with. Sub-central authorities can use PINs to call for competition, removing the need for a Contract Notice. Additionally, the reduction in timescales that the use of a PIN permits will be useful to CAs who want to speed up their procurement procedures.

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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