THE government’s response to the public consultation on the green paper on Transforming Public Procurement has been published and you can access it here on gov.uk.
The document summarises the 619 responses with over 17,000 individual comments on the questions in the green paper and sets out the government’s response. The level of support for the proposed reforms was high and many responses recognised the ambition and breadth of the package of proposals. The majority of answers to individual questions were positive. In many instances, there is no change to the proposals set out in the green paper, in others the government has clarified or amended the proposals based on the consultation feedback.
Made in Britain asked members to submit feedback in this article published in early 2021.
According to the government’s statement, the new regime will be simpler, fairer, more flexible and competitive and will be one of the most transparent regimes in the world. It will make it easier for small businesses and social enterprises to win public sector contracts. It will support innovation and reduce costs for both suppliers and the public sector.
The government’s response sets out the detailed proposals. In summary:
- “We will simplify and consolidate the current legislation as far as possible into a single, uniform regulatory framework, which will remove duplication and make procurement more agile and flexible, making it easier for suppliers to respond to tenders. We plan to ensure certain flexibilities within the Utilities Contracting Regulations are retained. Working closely with the Ministry of Defence, we also plan to include specific features where necessary for defence and security in order to protect our national interests.”
- “We will retain the 'light touch regime' which will retain the flexibility of the current regulations and will be improved in line with the broader regime changes such as the noticing and transparency requirements.”
- “We will strengthen the approach to the exclusion of suppliers from procurements, making it simpler, clearer and more focused on suppliers who pose an unacceptable risk to public confidence in procurement, effective competition for contracts, reliable delivery, and protection of the public, the environment, public funds or the rights of employees.”
- “We will embed greater transparency throughout the procurement lifecycle, and this will be central to the new rules. In response to feedback, we have made some adjustments to better focus the transparency requirements by adding a threshold of £2m (contract value) for the publication of redacted contracts.”
- “We are working closely with the Department for Health and Social Care to ensure there is a coherent procurement regime for joint commissioning and integrated provision across health, public health and social care for these and other types of ‘people-centric’ services.”
- “We have decided not to take forward the proposal to cap the level of damages available to bidders that challenge a contract award decision. Instead, we will make changes aimed at resolving disputes earlier and enabling faster decisions.”
- “A new Procurement Review Unit (PRU) will focus on non-compliance with the new procurement regime, overseeing the integrity of the public procurement system and wrapping in the activity of the existing Public Procurement Review Service.”
- “We will address key issues such as tackling payment delays in public sector supply chains.”
Watch this short animation to find out more about the changes and support to implement them:
To support contracting authorities in taking full advantage of the opportunities the new regime will provide, the government is planning a package of guidance and learning and development products. Subject to funding decisions, it intends that this will comprise a comprehensive programme to suit different roles and will be complemented by ongoing communities of practice for procurement and commercial professionals to share experiences and support each other. The government will promote this offering as soon as it is able and in time before the new regime comes into effect.
The start date of the new procurement regime cannot be confirmed as it is subject to the parliamentary process, the government plans to give a minimum of six months’ notice before ‘go-live’, once the legislative process has concluded. This will not be until 2023 at the earliest. The existing legislation will apply until the new regime goes live, and will continue to apply to procurements started under the old rules.
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