On 15 December 2020, the government published a consultation on Transforming public procurement, a Green Paper which focuses on overhauling the public procurement regime after the end of the UK-EU transition period (11.00 pm on 31 December 2020).
Key proposals include:
- A new framework founded on the principles of public good, value for money, integrity, fair treatment of suppliers, non-discrimination, transparency, impartiality, competition and objective criteria. Alongside this, a new transparency regime will be introduced, which requires all contracting authorities to publish procurement and contracting data throughout the commercial lifecycle of a project to a central platform in a format compliant with the Open Contracting Data Standard including a revised set of contract notices. Contracting authorities will also be required to have regard to strategic national priorities and outcomes, which will be published in a new National Procurement Policy Statement.
- Consolidating the existing public procurement regulations (excluding healthcare) into a single set of regulations, the basic structure of which would follow the existing regulatory framework. The existing seven procurement procedures would be replaced with three simplified procedures, including removing the Light Touch Regime (LTR) and applying the same rules to LTR services that will apply to other contracts for services. The existing dynamic purchasing system mechanism would also be replaced with a new commercial tool, a DPS+ . New framework arrangements would also be introduced allowing for longer maximum terms and for frameworks to be open for new suppliers to join at defined points.
- Creating new Civil Procedure Rules and practice directions for hearing procurement challenges, which would change the focus of supplier remedies away from damages (which would be capped) towards measures which allow for elements of a procurement to be re-run, decisions to be set aside or documents amended where a breach has been identified. The proposed remedies regime would also remove the automatic suspension of the award of contracts let competitively in a crisis or in extreme urgency and remove the requirement to provide a debrief letter to each bidder at the end of a procurement.
Responses should be sent to email@example.com by 10 March 2021.
The Welsh Government has published an initial response to the Green Paper confirming that it is considering whether to adopt these proposals or pursue alternative options and that it will engage with Welsh stakeholders in January and February 2021 on this topic.