Transforming Public Procurement – Where are we now?

  • Legal Development 02 May 2024 02 May 2024
  • UK & Europe

  • Projects & Construction

Go-live Monday 28 October 2024

Cabinet Office has announced that it is working towards a ‘go-live’ date of Monday 28 October 2024, following a six-month preparation period. 

The primary legislation, the Procurement Act 2023 (the “Act”), received Royal Assent in October 2023 but is not yet fully in force. Secondary legislation, which will be known as the Procurement Regulations 2024, was laid before Parliament on 25 March 2024. The draft Regulations will be debated in both Houses as part of procedural process, before being signed into law.

Transitional Arrangements

Initial guidance on Transitional Arrangements has been published and is available here.

Central Digital Platform

The Cabinet Office has confirmed it continues to work on the technical infrastructure required to support the Act. A new Central Digital Platform is anticipated and engagement with e-procurement portal providers is ongoing to support this. The Central Digital Platform is intended to integrate supplier registration and information together with notice publication.

Procurement Review Unit (“PRU”)

The Act introduces a Procurement Review Unit, comprising an independent panel of procurement experts, to oversee authority compliance with the Act. It will review non-compliance by authorities, investigate whether suppliers have met grounds for inclusion on the debarment list, and will continue the role of the current Public Procurement Review Service (“PPRS”). Stakeholder engagement for the proposed PRU operating model is ongoing. 

National Security Unit for Procurement (“NSUP”)

The Cabinet Office has also established a National Security Unit for Procurement, intended to support the exclusion and debarment of suppliers where there is a threat to UK national security. The NSUP is developing specific guidance for contracting authorities. Publication of this guidance is expected in summer 2024.

Further implementation of the Procurement Act 2023 in relation to single source defence contracts

Further provisions of the Act came into force on 1st April 2024, relating to single source defence contracts. These follow related provisions which came into force on 19th January 2024. The requirements, set out in Schedule 10 of the Act, amend the Defence Reform Act 2014, introducing new and updated pricing and reporting obligations and revising provisions relating to the powers of the Single Source Regulations Office. Official guidance on these changes can be found here

Learning and Development

Both contracting authorities and suppliers can learn more about the coming changes via the Government Knowledge Drop videos (available since December 2023), which can be accessed here

E-learning modules (for contracting authorities only) have now been launched, aimed at operational procurement staff. Ten, 1-hour, modules are accessible via registration with the Government Commercial College (you can register here). The modules cover all aspects of the new reforms, such as key regulation changes, transparency and the competitive flexible procedure. 

On 08 May 2024, the “Communities of Practice” (for contracting authorities and suppliers) are expected to be launched, offering a forum for commercial and procurement professionals to connect and engage. These meetups will be hosted via MS Teams and open to all practitioners.  Details of the Communities of Practice events can be found here

Technical Guidance

A suite of official technical guidance documents, intended to help with interpretation and understanding of the new regime, has been launched. 

The guidance is being released in stages, between March and June 2024. Guidance on a number of specific topics such as the contracting authority definition, valuation of contracts and technical specifications is available here

We will continue to update you as the changes to the procurement regime evolve. If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this update, or require specific legal advice, please contact David Hansom, Hannah Chapelhow or Phebe Chaudhry.

End

Stay up to date with Clyde & Co

Sign up to receive email updates straight to your inbox!