The future of public procurement

The future of public procurement

January 2019 is a month that will be sure to go down in history books.

Although Prime Minister Theresa May lost the “meaningful vote” on the Government’s Brexit deal, a number of amendments being made to the Brexit process were defeated, including delaying the ‘Brexit Day’. At this point, the future for Great Britain post-Brexit is incredibly uncertain; however, in the realm of public procurement, the future is a little less murky.

A Series of Articles on Public Sector Procurement

The Cabinet Office has published a series of articles detailing the position if there is no deal.  ‘Public Sector procurement after a no-deal Brexit’, attempts to clarify the position in which public authorities, businesses and other organisations will find themselves post-Brexit in relation to the regulation of public procurement.

The publication states “if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the public procurement regulations will remain broadly unchanged”. It further states that the current regulations will be amended “to ensure they remain operable and functional on exit”.

The key difference that is important for contracting authorites to acknowledge is that they would now be required to send notices to a new UK eNotification service, instead of to the EU Publications Office for publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. The guidance issued attempts to reassure us stating that the new UK eNotification service will be ready for use by exit day.

What does this mean?

The requirement for contracting authorities to advertise in Contracts Finder, MOD Defence Contracts Online, Public Contracts Scotland, Sell2Wales and eTendersNI will remain unchanged.

Contracting authorities who submit their notices directly to the EU Publications Office will need to register directly with the new UK eNotification service, though guidance on how to do this is yet to be published. Contracting authorities who use a third party provider or e-Sender to submit notices to the EU Publications Office should liaise with their provider to ensure they will integrate their services with the new UK eNotification service.

Contracting authorities who have procurements in progress on exit day will be required to adhere to the new regulations and publish any subsequent notices, such as contract award notices, on the new UK eNotification service. The guidance states that the government will, where possible, limit change to maintain fairness throughout the procurement process.

In essence, the procurement process post-Brexit will be almost identical to that which exists at the moment, but for a change of notification address.

For further assistance, please contact our Commercial Team.

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