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Procurement in a Nutshell – Transforming public procurement

The Government has issued a Green Paper to consult on the future of public procurement after Brexit.

The stated aims of the changes are to speed up and simplify the procurement processes, create better value for money and create more opportunities for innovation in public service delivery.

The government estimates that £290 billion of public money is spent through public procurement each year and it wishes to ensure that this spending supports the stated Government priorities of boosting growth and productivity, helping communities to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and tackling climate change.

Part of this ambition is to make public procurement easier to access for small businesses, charities, social enterprises, and start-ups. Evidence suggests these groups are currently discouraged by too much bureaucracy from bidding for public contracts.

These changes will make a significant difference to the way in which public contracts are awarded in the future. Over the next few weeks Ward Hadaway will be sharing our own detailed thoughts on the proposals. In the meantime, a summary of the proposals is given below.

What will it involve?

Some of the main provisions of the Green Paper are:

  • The stated principles of public procurement will be enshrined into law: value for money, the public good, transparency, integrity, efficiency, fair treatment of suppliers and non-discrimination;
  • The 350+ regulations currently governing public procurement will be replaced by a single, uniform framework;
  • The new procedure will be flexible, giving buyers more freedom to negotiate;
  • Removing the Light Touch Regime to replace with rules applicable to other contracts;
  • A new Dynamic Purchasing System, available for all types of procurement;
  • Better data sharing, more transparency and a continuing focus on scrutiny of contract awards;
  • Simplification of the legal review process – reducing the amount of time and money that is spent, capping levels of damages and discouraging speculative claims;
  • Introducing a National Procurement Policy Statement.

Action

The public consultation on the Green Paper is open now and until 10 March 2021. If you wish to engage with the consultation, then the government invites responses to the questions at the end of each chapter of the Green Paper. These should to be sent to: procurement.reform@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

Should you have any queries about the Green Paper, please contact the procurement team.

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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Tim Care

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Melanie Pears

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