By
3rd Jan 2018

This month the Cabinet Office have published a Procurement Policy Note (PPN) to remind the wider public sector of their duties in relation to promoting greater transparency in their procurement activities. The PPN reminds us of the requirement to ensure a Contract Notice and Contract Award Notice is published on Contracts Finder* for all procurements above the EU thresholds (£164k) in addition to the notices published on OJEU (unless of course you are using a framework agreement to undertake the procurement activity). Moreover the PPN reminds colleges in England (schools, academies and sixth form colleges are exempt) of the requirement to publish a Contract Notice in Contracts Finder for contracts above £25,000 where the college decides to advertise the contract opportunity. Plus the requirement to publish a Contract Award Notice on Contracts Finder for all contracts above £25,000 after the contract has been awarded. This includes awards made following call-offs from Framework Agreements and contracts that may not have been openly advertised.

The Cabinet Office have produced a dashboard that allows comparison on the number and type of notices published by each public sector buyer on Contracts Finder. By default the chart will show all buyers and all notice types published each quarter. The left hand column of the dashboard allows you to customise your view in a number of ways. For those colleges who use an e-procurement portal to manage their procurement activities, it is recommend that you check with your portal provider whether they have a working link to Contracts Finder to enable you to publish the notices directly from your portal and also to check Contracts Finder for the corresponding notice to ensure the link is working properly. The new CPC Sourcing Cloud (available for all CPC members to use for free to undertake their mini competitions from CPC frameworks), has inbuilt functionality to enable colleges to meet their obligations to publish award notices to Contracts Finder when using a CPC framework. ADB (the providers of CPC Sourcing Cloud) also provide e-tendering solutions to members that can be used to manage procurements outside of framework agreements that has this functionality.

Contracts Finder has recently launched new features and improvements including:

  • A more streamlined registration process allowing users to register as Public Sector Buyers to undertake public procurement, as Private Sector Buyers.
  • To undertake procurement on behalf of the public sector or to provide transparency of how public funding is spent.
  • As Contractors to the Public Sector, to advertise for sub-contractors to support delivery of public contracts.

Other improvements include:

  • Mandatory closing dates on early engagement notices
  • Only displaying open notices as the default when conducting a search on the public-facing site
  • The creation of draft notices that can save changes prior to publication.

For more information on the Contracts Finder Regulations, when they apply and what is required please visit https://www.felp.ac.uk/content/contracts-finder or contact your CPC Regional Procurement Advisor for advice.

*Contracts Finder was re-launched in February 2015 to be the single, central repository for public sector tenders. It allows suppliers to search (at no cost) for tenders on the basis of sector, location or price as well as find details of contract awards.

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