The Government has replaced the misleading Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 7/16 with an updated version, PPN 7/21.
We criticised PPN 7/16 at the time, as it misleadingly suggested that all contracts valued over £25,000 had to be published on Contracts Finder. Whilst these contracts did need to be included in a contracting authority's quarterly returns of contracts let, they did not need to be advertised "in advance" where a contracting authority chose not to advertise the opportunity anywhere else. Full marks to the Crown Commercial Service on this - the new PPN is much clearer as to when a contracting authority must advertise on Contracts Finder before letting a contract.
There are two aspects of the new PPN which are confusing though. Firstly it says that the PPN applies to "in-scope organisations". This is confusing, as the term has previously been applied mainly to central government related contracting authorities. In this PPN it applies to all contracting authorities in England, other than some in the NHS and education sectors. It is only Part 2 of the guidance note that is limited to central government organisations.
Secondly, it suggests that contracting authorities should consider whether a procurement is likely to be of "cross border interest" before deciding not to advertise. The requirement to advertise opportunities that are of "cross border interest" came from the EU Treaty, which no longer applies in England. I have not spotted anything in all of the post Brexit legislation that imposes this requirement (but I will eat humble pie if we've missed something). We have therefore contacted the Crown Commercial Service to ask them why they think that this requirement still applies. I will post again if I get a response from them.