Green Paper – Transforming public procurement

In December, the Government issued a Green Paper setting out its proposals for reforming the public procurement rules. 

This is the “consultation on ideas” stage of the legislative process. In summary, the proposals involve:

  • consolidating the procurement regulations for utilities and concessions into a single set of procurement rules;
  • reducing the number of potential procurement procedures to just the open procedure, a “competitive flexible procedure” (like the current light-touch regime procedure), and a limited tendering procedure based on the negotiated procedure without advertisement;
  • a new regulator with power to issue improvement notices and impose spending controls;
  • creating a list of excluded contractors and having greater scope to exclude contractors for prior poor performance;
  • moving from “most economically advantageous tender” to “most advantageous tender” as the basis for contract awards;
  • allowing 8-year frameworks which new suppliers can join after 3 years;
  • substantially increasing the number of notices that are required (linked to Open Contracting Data Standard) but replacing standstill letters with published information in a standard format; and
  • revising the challenge process, with the possibility of “papers only” decisions, a tribunal for lower value challenges and damages being limited to 1.5 times tendering costs plus legal fees.

The consultation closes on 10 March 2021 and we will be responding to the consultation.

We are also planning to issue a series of e-briefings on specific elements of the proposals, so do lookout for these.