Procurement in a Nutshell – The Supplier Registration System
24th March, 2022
The Government published its Green Paper "Transforming Public Procurement" on 15 December 2020, with its aim to provide a modern, fit for purpose set of rules, improving and simplifying the procurement process
In December 2021 the Government published its response to the consultation and the comments raised by over 600 organisations and individuals. As a result we now have a clearer indication of the reforms that the Government intends to introduce.
The Government plans to produce a draft Bill at some point in 2022. Further to the new legislation the Government will also introduce new secondary legislation or regulations to implement the new regime and produce “a detailed and comprehensive package of published resources (statutory and non-statutory guidance on the key elements of the regulatory framework, templates, model procedures and case studies)” to help contracting authorities and suppliers understand how the new regime will work.
Due to significant changes and the amount of work required to bring this all into effect it is unlikely that the new regime will be implemented until 2023 at the earliest. We can expect a draft Bill this year and the Government has said that it intends to give at least 6 months’ notice of “go-live”.
What this Nutshell covers
This Nutshell looks at the proposals for establishing a Supplier Registration System to keep all supplier information on a single database.
What the Green Paper said
As part of the proposals to develop a cohesive digital strategy, the Green Paper proposed a single supplier registration platform which would allow prospective suppliers to register just once to be eligible for any public sector procurement. This would remove significant red tape and should also open the market more successfully to smaller businesses, along with voluntary, charitable and social enterprises, who are currently seen as disproportionately burdened by lengthy processes. The register of suppliers would contain similar information to that currently provided in the Standard Selection Questionnaire.
Results of the Consultation
On the whole the response to this proposal was very positive, as both suppliers and contracting authorities saw the potential to reduce the administrative requirements and ensure consistency as a real step forward. However, concerns were raised both by those who supported the proposals and those who did not about the cost of running the system and the control of large amounts of confidential data on a central platform. In response, the government confirmed that they would fund the system. Addressing concerns over data control, they proposed that whilst basic information would be available on an open network, access to more detailed information would require registration on the platform. This is important since the platform could contain detailed information, including audited accounts and cash flow documents.
What this means
The government intends to go ahead to implement a supplier registration system where the bulk of information about a supplier needs only to be given once and is kept centrally, eliminating the need for a supplier to repeatedly submit the same information for each successive procurement. The details of registration, and how a supplier can keep control of their data, are still to be ironed out. The government recognises that supplier information needs to be protected.
If you have any queries on the issues raised or on any aspect of procurement, please contact one of our procurement specialists via 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.
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