How the New UK Procurement Regulations Affect Local Authorities

With the new UK Procurement Regulations being implemented this month (and the Scottish Procurement Regulations following in August 2015), local authority procurement is finding it necessary to put plans into action now.

The changes that have been implemented, as a result of the new EU Directives on Public Sector Procurement, are intended to simplify rules and procedures; increase the use of eProcurement; reduce the administrative burden on suppliers; and improve public procurement.

For Member States, eProcurement is soon to become mandatory, offering clarity over use of eProcurement. New requirements coming into force under the new Public Contracts Directive include that all notices are to be sent to the OJEU electronically, that all documents are to be made available electronically, and that all responses to notices are to be submitted electronically.

This comes at a time when the government has set out the need for greater transparency across its operations to enable the public to hold public bodies and politicians to account. This includes commitments relating to public expenditure, intended to help achieve better value for money.

The transparency code states that: “Local authorities must publish details of every invitation to tender for contracts to provide goods and/or services with a value that exceeds £5,000” and “Local authorities must also publish details of any contract, commissioned activity, purchase order, framework agreement and any other legally enforceable agreement with a value that exceeds £5,000”. (Source: Department for Communities and Local Government Transparency Code)

Of particular interest to local authorities in the new UK Procurement Regulations are the modification of contracts (the new Regulations now clarify specifically what is and is not permitted) and the lifecycle cost of contracts (gone are the days of buying cheap at the outset then incurring very high lifetime costs).

Key changes will see a much simpler process for assessing bidders’ credentials with increased use of supplier self-declarations, meaning more responsibility for suppliers but less paperwork for buyers as only the winning bidder should have to submit the required certificates/documents to prove their status. There is also more freedom to negotiate, with the Negotiated Procedure to be less constrained.

Prior Information Notices can now be used as a call for competition, meaning that buyers do not need to issue a second invitation.

The Regulations will mean penalties for previous poor performance; where a supplier has been guilty of poor performance under a previous contract, buyers are now explicitly permitted to exclude them from new contracts. It is also intended to reduce red tape on suppliers’ response times through shorter deadlines.

With an impressive track record in local authority eProcurement, Delta eSourcing offers a secure EU-compliant eTendering service, from notice publication to PQQ and ITT creation and exchange; and from online response evaluation to contract award. It is a solution that streamlines the full tender process and reduces the cost of procurement for buyers and suppliers alike.

Delta eSourcing offers buyers in local authorities access to an established supplier community to engage, identify, assess and qualify suppliers through online supply chain management activities. It can also connect distributed teams pre and post tender for one-off tender exercises, repetitive procurements or as part of longer-term joint ventures.

In the age of eProcurement, the new EU Directives and the government’s Transparency Agenda, Delta eSourcing offers a tendering solution that more than meets the demands of Central Government eProcurement.