Procurement Act 2023 – What do you need to know?

Procurement Act 2023

The Procurement Act 2023 comes into effect on the 28th October 2024 and has been hailed as ‘one of the largest shakeups to procurement rules in this country’s history’.  

 

It consolidates 4 pieces of legislation originally derived from EU Directives around public services procurement, with the intention of making public procurement in the UK simpler and less restrictive.  This is good news for suppliers that may have, in the past, veered away from public services procurement due to it being overly regimented and lacking in transparency.

If you’ve previously discounted the opportunities of public sector work, think again. 

  • One set of rules – utilities, concessions and defence contracts, as well as ordinary contracts for works, goods and services, will all come under a single set of rules and principles.
  • Language and terminology – whilst the concepts and principles remain the same, the underlying language and terminology has been simplified, moving away from the archaic language of the EU Directives.
  • Full procurement lifecycle – the concept of procurement will encompass the whole lifecycle, from pre-market engagement through to contract termination. Contracting authorities will have new obligations around reporting on contract performance and termination.
  • Broader procurement objectives and principles – contracting authorities must treat all bidders equally and consider potential barriers to tendering for SMEs.
  • Fewer procedures and greater flexibility – only three options remain: direct award, competitive tender and an award under an existing framework.
  • Debarment – excluding a supplier from applying to win public contracts will be centrally managed, and only Ministers will have the authority to place a supplier on the debarment list.
  • Expanded notice regime – as part of the government’s heightened transparency agenda, contracting authorities will have to post significantly more information on the central digital platform.  Notable changes relate to the requirement to post contract change and contract termination notices.
  • Standstill, remedies and challenges – remedies for disappointed suppliers remain the same, but the mandatory standstill period preventing entry into contract has been reduced to 8 days.  Claims must be issued within the standstill period and there are new rules for contract set aside (formerly known as ineffectiveness).

The message is clear: the government wants a simpler model for public services contracting, with the intention of making tendering more accessible to SMEs.  Contact us and let us help you expand your business by successfully navigating public services contracting.