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Procurement in a Nutshell – Update to legal and policy requirements to publish procurement information on Contracts Finder (PPN 07/21)

The Cabinet Office has published Procurement Policy Note 07/21 to coincide with the updated Guidance on Transparency Requirements for publishing on Contracts Finder.

The consolidated guidance reminds public bodies of the requirements, contained in the Public Contract Regulations 2015 (PCR 2015), that opportunities and awards above set thresholds must be published on Contracts Finder (CFS).

The guidance incorporates additional policy requirements on Central Government to publish procurement and contract documents.

PPN 07/21 was published on 24 June 2021 and the new provisions are effective immediately.

The Guidance is in two parts.

Part 1. PPN07/16 and its associated ‘Guidance’ is replaced and introduces new Guidance which  applies to all contracting authorities except those which are exempt as defined below. Guidance on the different contract value limits for publication was updated for 2020 and can be found in PPN 06/19.

Part 2. Previous guidance on ‘Publication of Central Government Tenders and Contracts’ is replaced. The Guidance applies to central government authorities and covers the requirement to publish tender and contract documents on Contracts Finder at certain stages in procurement exercises  and for complying with appropriate notice periods.

Exemptions

The following public bodies are exempt from the requirements of Part 1 and Part 2 to publish in CFS:

  • Contracting authorities whose functions are devolved or mainly devolved functions of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland;
  • Procurement of health care services for the NHS which is covered by the National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition)(No 2) Regulations 2013 (b);
  • Maintained schools, academies and sixth form college corporations.

NHS Trusts are sub-central contracting authorities and are exempt from Part 2.

Key changes

The changes to the guidance have been introduced to reflect  the end of the Brexit transition period, and to provide further clarity. The key changes to note are:

  • References to OJEU/TED are replaced with FTS (Find a Tender service). There is also additional information on publishing to FTS and Contracts Finder;
  • The definition of the ‘Contract Award’ date is clarified as the date on which the contract is signed by the last contracting party;
  • The day the timescales commence has been clarified as the day after the contract has been signed by the last contracting party;
  • It is clarified that if the date for the deadline of publication falls on a non-working day, the contracting authority has until the end of the next working day to publish;
  • The definition of Central Government now reflects that in Regulation 2 (schedule 1 of the PCRs 2015)
  • Departments include the other Executive Agencies and bodies for which they are responsible even though these may not be explicitly listed on Schedule 1. Also departments should encourage their Arms Length Bodies and Non Department Public Bodies to adopt the transparency policy.
  • The timescales for publishing award information on Contracts Finder and the requirement to publish contract award notices on FTS have been aligned. There is now a requirement to publish details of the award and awarded contracts within a fixed 30 calendar days of award.
  • There is increased clarity for redactions, framework agreements and contract modifications.

If you have any queries on the issues raised or on any aspect of procurement, please contact us via our procurement hotline on 0330 137 3451.

PPN 07/21

Guidance on Transparency Requirements for publishing on Contracts Finder

Public Contract Regulations 2015 (PCR 2015)

PPN 06/19

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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Melanie Pears

Partner | Head of Public Sector

+44 (0) 330 137 3451

+44 (0)789 987 8424

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Tim Care

Partner | Public Sector

+44 (0) 330 137 3458

+44 (0) 752 590 3378

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