Procurement Bill: Baachu Summary

Baskar Sundaram
Baskar Sundaram

Following Queen’s Speech, the Government has now published the Procurement Bill.

Next Steps

The Bill is expected to take several months to complete its passage through Parliament. You can monitor its progress here. Following Royal Assent, there will then need to be secondary legislation made to bring some elements of the Bill and the wider regime into effect.

Whilst the Bill sets out of the core structure of the new regime, much of the detail of how it will work (for example the transparency platform) will be specified in this secondary legislation and in guidance that will be updated on as the Bill progresses through Parliament. Further stakeholder consultation on the detail of some of the proposals to be included in secondary legislation is anticipated and the BSA will engage accordingly. 

A reminder that the Government has also created a dedicated Transforming Public Procurement page on Government’s website here, which is where future key documents will be uploaded.

Yesterday’s Queen’s Speech confirmed that the Bill will extend and apply to England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but the Scottish Government will not implement these reforms for devolved bodies in Scotland.

Key Points

Cabinet Office have provided the following summary of the Bill.

The Bill will replace the current EU regime for public procurement by:

  1. Creating a simpler and more flexible commercial system that better meets the UK’s needs while remaining compliant with our international obligations.
  2. Opening up public procurement to new entrants, such as small businesses and social enterprises, so that they can compete for and win more public contracts.
  3. Embedding transparency throughout the commercial lifecycle so that the spending of taxpayers’ money can be properly scrutinised.

The Bill will create a single digital platform for suppliers to register their details that can be used for all bids, while a single central transparency platform will allow suppliers to see all opportunities in once place. This is also intended to strengthen the new Procurement Review Unit’s ability to investigate concerns around both awards and transparency.

Buyers will be able to reserve competitions for contracts below a certain threshold for UK suppliers, SMEs and social enterprises. The Bill will also require buyers to take account of national strategic priorities such as job creation potential, improving supplier resilience and tackling climate change.

The Bill introduces a new exclusions framework that will make it easier to exclude suppliers who have underperformed on other contracts. It will also create a new ‘debarment register’, accessible to all public sector organisations, which will list companies who should be excluded from contracts.

Notices will be mandated for direct awards and publication requirements extended from planning to termination, including contract performance. A new competition process is also being introduced for emergency buying, reducing the reliance on direct awards while retaining the ability to act at pace in times of crisis.

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