The UK government published a Green Paper on December 15 that includes proposals to shape the future of public procurement in the United Kingdom by speeding up and simplifying public sector procurement processes.
When the United Kingdom was a member of the European Union it had to comply with the EU-based regulations on public procurement. The current UK legislation is the Public Contract Regulations 2015, which transposed the latest EU public procurement directive into UK law.
The Public Contract Regulations require contracting authorities procuring goods or services over a specified value to comply with prescribed procurement processes, including advertising the procurement across the European Union and applying specific evaluation criteria to companies bidding for the contracts.
The requirements of the EU regulations and the Public Contract Regulations are seen by many to cause lengthy and costly procurement exercises that put a burden on both the contracting authorities and those businesses bidding for public contracts.
With the United Kingdom now no longer an EU member and its transition period of EU law compliance coming to an end on 31 December 2021, the Minister of State for the Cabinet Office has stated that the United Kingdom has “an historic opportunity to overhaul [the UK’s] outdated public procurement regime.”
The Green Paper sets out proposals for new UK public procurement legislation that aims to achieve the following:
- Speeding up and simplifying the UK’s procurement processes
- Placing value for money at the heart of the process
- Unleashing opportunities for small businesses, charities, and social enterprises
- Innovation in public service delivery
The move to a new public procurement regime will come as welcome news to many stakeholders and is likely to be seen by many businesses as a huge opportunity. The UK government is putting emphasis on driving “a culture of continuous improvement to support more resilient, diverse and innovative supply chains.” This could provide great opportunities for the many innovative businesses in the UK’s thriving technology industry.
The Green Paper is published as part of a consultation and the UK government is inviting responses from interested stakeholders. The consultation period ends at 11:45 pm on 10 March 2021.