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New Procurement Policy Note on purchasing in an emergency


The PPN expands on previous policy notes issued at the start of the pandemic. It applies to all contracting authorities across the public sector when procuring contracts above the thresholds set out in The Public Contracts Regulations (PCR).

The guidance provides clarity on the options available to you should you (due to exceptional circumstances) need to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency and without competition.

Options that may be considered include:

  • Call off from an existing framework agreement or dynamic purchasing system (DPS)
  • Call for competition using a standard procedure with accelerated timescales
  • Extending or modifying a contract during its term
  • Direct award due to absence of competition or protection of exclusive rights
  • Direct award due to extreme urgency under regulation 32(2)(c) of the Public Contract Regulations (PCR)

The guidance sets out four tests that are required to be met in relation to regulation 32(2)c, which are listed on page 7 of the PPN. Additionally, (although not required by the regulation) the guidance also provides advice concerning the consideration of some form of advertisement, running an informal competition and/or undertaking due diligence on the supplier market before making a direct award.

The PPN also serves to remind contracting authorities that where required to do so, they should publish a contract award notice on the Find a Tender Service (FTS). This includes emergency procurements under regulation 32(2)(c). A timely reminder given the admitted breach by the Department for Health and Social Care in a case brought against them by the Good Law Project for non-publication of contract award notices.

The PPN is recommended reading for anyone within a procurement role and those with responsibility for high value contracts.

Should you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact your CPC Regional Procurement Advisor for more information.

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