As many organisations focus on mitigating risk and ensuring business continuity post COVID-19, it has become apparent to us that some are less focused on the impact of Brexit. Most importantly, the changes to how UK businesses will transact business with the public sector.
On this basis, we thought we’d offer a jargon-free overview of what will change as the Brexit transition period comes to an end.
If a public sector organisation has a need for goods or services over a certain contract value (see table below), they are obliged to publish their requirements on a public platform to invite businesses to bid for the contract. We refer to this as an ITT or ‘Invitation to Tender’.
This practice of making new contracts public, ensures that the procurement process is fair, encouraging competition from all businesses who meet the criteria and may wish to bid for the contract, and ultimately ensuring best value for money for the public purse.
This is particularly important in the public sector for two reasons:
The process enables a wider set of businesses to bid for the contract. Indeed, more recently we are seeing an increase in contracts being awarded to SMEs, as opposed to fewer, larger, organisations taking the majority of these larger contracts. This shift is needed to ensure fair and ethical procurement in the UK.
As it stands, all contracting authorities across the EU must publish their contracts to the Official Journal of the European Union’s Tenders Electronic Daily (OJEU/TED), or Contracts Finder. As members of the EU, this would have included the UK.
As the transition period for Brexit comes to a close at the end of 2020, the UK will no longer publish new notices to the EU’s OJEU/TED.
Instead, as the cabinet office’s Procurement Policy Note (PPN 08/20) reminds us, at 11pm on 31st December 2020, the new UK e-notification service – “Find a Tender” – will go live.
But what does this mean for UK businesses?
The key point is that we will no longer be publishing to OJEU in 2021 in the UK and that all new public procurements must be published to Find a Tender.
The system is free to use, and any notices are published instantly. This may overcome some of the issues with delays, previously experienced with OJEU.
There is also an argument that there will be greater clarity regarding deadlines due to the way contracts are published. This will become clearer as more contracts are published.
There is lots of helpful information on the government’s website about how these changes will affect both contracting authorities and businesses across the UK.
If you are looking to run a tender process early in 2021 or you need advice on how to ensure you are following the correct processes, you can book a free appointment with one of our procurement consultants below.
We will continue to review the changes and how they impact the process of running tenders within the public sector and publish periodic updates to assist our clients into 2021.
Book an appointment now.
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