On 20 May 2021, the Cabinet Office published Procurement Policy Note 03/21: The Sourcing and Consultancy Playbooks (PPN 03/21).
The Sourcing Playbook is the third annual iteration (and is a rebranding) of the Outsourcing Playbook. It sets out how government departments should approach service delivery and how contracting authorities and suppliers should engage with each other. The Consultancy Playbook is being published alongside the Sourcing Playbook to provide guidance on engaging more effectively with consultants and achieving better outcomes, better value for money and improved civil service capability through the transfer of knowledge and skills.
PPN 03/21 applies with immediate effect to all central government departments, their executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies (in-scope organisations). The Sourcing and Consultancy Playbooks are considered good practice and the wider public sector is required to consider taking them into account.
This iteration of the Outsourcing Playbook is intended to improve how public bodies deliver public services with the private sector by:
- Rebranding and superseding the Outsourcing Playbook with the Sourcing Playbook, to better reflect government policy of choosing the appropriate approach to delivery models (insource or outsource or a combination), and to deliver high-quality public services, better outcomes and value for money.
- Refining policy to reflect latest priorities and lessons learnt, including adopting a social value model and alignment with the government’s commercial standards.
- Developing the Consultancy Playbook in partnership with the government’s consulting hub.
On 20 May 2021, the Cabinet Office published Procurement Policy Note 04/21: Applying Exclusions in Public Procurement, Managing Conflicts of Interest and Whistleblowing.
PPN 04/21 replaces existing policy guidance in PPN 01/19. The guidance has been revised and updated to clarify changes to the procurement regulations following the UK’s exit from the EU, and provides supplementary guidance and answers to frequently asked questions in relation to the exclusion provisions in procurement regulations, including case law. It also contains further guidance to assist in the development of strategies, systems and procedures to prevent, identify and remedy conflicts of interest and to enable whistleblowing where appropriate.
PPN 04/21 applies with immediate effect to all central government departments, their executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies in conducting procurement procedures for public, utilities and concession contracts (in-scope organisations). It is also relevant to the wider public sector such as local authorities and NHS bodies.
The accompanying guidance provides in-scope organisations with information, advice and direction to support activities relating to the application of exclusions in public procurement (section 1) and the prevention, identification and remedy of conflicts of interest in a commercial context (section 2). In addition, the Civil Service Code provides a framework for the process to be followed (whistleblowing) by civil servants who are concerned about any perceived wrongdoing in a procurement procedure (section 3).