COVID-19: Making best use of procurement resources

The current outbreak of COVID-19 is having a significant impact on both the public and private sectors.

Procurement is being affected, especially by sudden pressing requirements for items such as PPE, which may mean that public sector bodies will have to use accelerated procedures to meet these urgent needs.

In the case of ongoing procurements, suppliers may fail to meet their contractual obligations, which will put their financial viability, ability to retain staff and their supply chains at risk. The public sector must do everything it can to support its supply chain during this time.

Is your organisation making the best use of procurement resources during the COVID-19 pandemic? The UK Government has encouraged public bodies to implement the range of procurement procedures available to them, which can support them through this unprecedented time.

Procurement during the COVID-19 pandemic

During this time, if a public sector organisation has an urgent requirement for goods, services or works due to COVID-19, they must procure this requirement under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. As stated in the Cabinet Office Procurement Policy Note, accelerated procurement measures can include:

  • direct award due to extreme urgency
  • direct award due to the absence of competition or protection of exclusive rights
  • call off from an existing framework agreement or dynamic purchasing system
  • call for competition using a standard procedure with accelerated timescales
  • extending or modifying a contract during its term

Regulation 32 deals with the direct award due to extreme urgency or direct award due to the absence of competition or protection of exclusive rights.

Buyers can implement Regulation 32 in specific cases and circumstances. Using the Regulation, contracting authorities may award public contracts by a negotiated procedure without prior publication.

Regulation 32 can be used when “for reasons of extreme urgency brought about by events unforeseeable by the contracting authority, the time limits for the open or restricted procedures or competitive procedures with negotiation cannot be complied with” – which is relevant to the current Coronavirus crisis.

Latest SPPN from the Scottish Government

Within the Scottish Procurement Policy Note (SPPN) 6/2020, the Scottish Government reminds public bodies of the range of procurement procedures available to them, to support their organisations throughout this period.

Along with SPPNs 4/2020 and 5/2020, the Policy Note gives details on the practical steps a public sector organisation can take to “optimise resources in these exceptional circumstances”.

The Policy Note gives examples of “practical steps for existing contracts and forthcoming contracts that public bodies might want to consider in discussion with their customers and suppliers to reduce pressures on them at this time.”

To find out more, read the full SPPN on Making the best use of procurement resources during the COVID-19 Pandemic, click here.

We are here to help

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, public procurement regulations will be under constant review from the Government.

In such challenging times, we want to let you know what we are doing at Delta eSourcing to make sure our customers receive the very best service. Find out more about how we are helping public sector buyers during these uncertain times.

Delta eSourcing, along with our sister brand, PASS, will continue to update our customers and community on these updates. To find out more information for procurement buyers during the pandemic, and to receive further support, visit the PASS COVID-19 buyer resources page.