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Procurement in a Nutshell – Procurement in the event of a no-deal Brexit

The Queen's approval of the Prime Minister's request to prorogue parliament for five weeks has resulted in a far greater likelihood that the UK will depart from the European Union without an exit deal in place.

However, as set out in previous Nutshells and as set out below, the effects of a no-deal Brexit should not in fact be too drastic on the UK’s procurement regime.

What we know

On 27 February 2019, the World Trade Organisation confirmed that should the UK leave the European Union without a deal it will join the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) as an independent member meaning that British businesses will retain the ability to bid for the £1.3 trillion worth of public sector contracts around the world.

At the same time as foreign opportunities remaining open to UK organisations, under the GPA foreign entities will retain the right to bid for the £67 billion worth of UK public sector contracts.

Commenting on the announcement, the Crown Commercial Service explained that the membership would:

“ensure that British taxpayers and public sector organisations, including government departments, continue to benefit from increased choice and value for money on contracts which are open to international competition.  The agreement will continue to protect vital public services such as the NHS.”

Additionally, the Government has published further information on preparing for the UK’s departure from the European Union, as well as a series of Frequently Asked Questions on a No-deal Exit.

Among other issues, these explain that:

  • For those procurements commenced prior to the UK’s departure, previously published notices will not need to be republished on the new e-notification service.  However, going forwards, any subsequent notices on the e-notification service should include the OJEU/TED reference number; as well as that
  • When publishing procurement details to both the e-notification service and Contracts Finder, publication should first be made on the e-notification service.  Furthermore, the FAQs confirm that unlike OJEY/TED, there should be minimal delay between submitting a notice to the UK e-notification service and the publication of the notice on the site.

Why is this important?

Despite a great deal of uncertainty remaining in relation to Brexit generally, as well as the possible implications on procurement law in practice, the continued membership of the GPA has provided a degree of certainty to organisations involved with public sector contracts.  Similarly, the FAQs are also a useful tool in providing assurances to UK businesses as to how Brexit is likely to affect procurement law in practice.

If you have any queries in relation to the effect of Brexit on your organisation, or queries in relation to procurement more generally, please click here or contact our procurement hotline on 0330 137 3451.

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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