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Transforming Public Procurement April 2023 update

Published

In case you missed it, the UK government’s Transforming Public Procurement update for April recently explained the possibility of parliamentary ping-pong relating to the Procurement Bill...

Bill progress

The Procurement Bill completed its passage through the Committee Stage in the House of Commons in February and will now progress to Report and then Third Reading. We are still awaiting a date for this next stage but anticipate this will be in May.

You can view the Hansard records of the committee debates and the current version of the Bill (incorporating all amendments to date) here.

The final stage in the Bill’s Parliamentary journey is “consideration of amendments”, when it returns to the House of Lords.

If the Lords disagrees with any Commons amendments, or makes alternative proposals, then the Bill is sent back to the Commons.

The Bill might go back and forth between each House until both Houses reach agreement on the exact wording – this is known as ‘ping pong'.

Soon after the Bill achieves Royal Assent - which we expect to be later this spring - work to finalise the secondary legislation (Statutory Instruments, or regulations) will take centre stage and will include a public consultation on the draft regulations.

We will share more details of the timing of the consultation phase and subsequent steps as soon as we can.

Stakeholder survey

Every six months we undertake a short survey to hear the views of stakeholders from all sectors.

The survey helps to inform development of the programme, measure the impact of the programme over time, and helps us baseline and gauge awareness and understanding of specific elements of the proposed reforms.

It is anonymous and none of your views will be attributable, so you can be candid.

Please do take the opportunity to give your views and share the survey link within your own communities.

You can access the survey here and it will remain open until Friday 28th April.

Digital platform

We continue to engage with eProcurement systems providers to assist them to make the changes needed to support the new noticing regime.

We recently shared further information on the content of the first batch of new notices that will soon be released to a test environment.

These are as follows:

  • Planned procurement notice - this will be used for above threshold procurements, giving suppliers advance notice of an upcoming procurement opportunity. If published between 40 days and a year ahead of the tender notice, this notice allows the contracting authority to reduce the tendering period (the length of time that suppliers have to submit tenders after the publication of the tender notice) from 25 days to 10 days. This is the equivalent of the current Prior Information Notice for reducing time limits.
  • Tender notice - this notice advertises a competitive contract opportunity, giving suppliers information on what is being procured and the value, to enable them to decide whether to submit a tender. For below threshold procurement opportunities, there is a simplified Tender notice with a reduced set of fields. This is equivalent to the current Contract notice in Find a Tender and the Opportunity notice on Contracts Finder.
  • Transparency notice - this notice advises the market that an above threshold direct award will be made, and what the justification is for that. This is equivalent to the current Voluntary Ex-Ante Transparency notice (VEAT).
  • Contract award notice - this notice must be published after the decision has been made to award an above threshold contract but that contract has not yet been signed. This notice begins the standstill period, if it applies, during which any challenges to the award can be made. There is no current equivalent.

We hope to start testing from June 2023. This is however subject to change due to dependency on work being completed to specify legislative requirements.

Once the first batch of notices is live for testing, we will look to share new batches of notices and functionality on a roughly quarterly basis thereafter although the system will not be available to use until the new regime goes live.

Learning & Development

Progress with development of the L&D content is now motoring along, and we are working hard to get the back office arrangements ready, so we can smoothly register several thousand new learners from contracting authorities onto the Government Commercial College when the time comes.

Opportunities to find out more

We very much enjoyed meeting with colleagues and stakeholders at the Procurement Reform conferences London and Manchester, with just over 1,000 delegates attending the events representing procurement practitioners and suppliers from a wide range of sectors and markets.

There was a real sense of excitement and positive engagement with the forthcoming changes and it was good to hear others talk about what they are doing to prepare themselves.

Members of the Cabinet Office team will continue to speak at a range of other conferences over the coming months so do look out for these - including at the Local Government Procurement Expo on 27th April and Procurex on 1st June.

The Transforming Public Procurement landing page is the repository for a range of info about the programme including a recording from our recent webinar series, details of our L&D package, and guidance documents to help planning and preparation, and outlining of the benefits of the new regime for suppliers.

Keeping in touch

If you know colleagues who would like to receive these mailings, please point them to this form.

For other matters, please email [email protected] with a clear subject line title - if you no longer wish to receive updates please title your email “unsubscribe”; if you wish to see our data privacy notice, it’s “data privacy” and if you are having difficulty using the online registration form, the title should be “keep me updated”.

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