First, it was Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 11/20 on reserving below threshold contracts for local suppliers and now it is PPN 1/22 on limiting Russian and Belarusian contractors' access to contracts (see my colleague Steven Brunning's ebriefing on this PPN).
In both of these cases, section 17 Local Government Act 1988 stops local authorities from acting in the ways suggested by the PPN, by preventing them from taking into account 'non-commercial' (such as ethical or geographical) considerations in their procurements.
It is surely time for the Government to repeal this outdated and unethical legislation if only to make it possible for local authorities to do what the Government is itself recommending in its guidance.
The logical time to do this is in the Procurement Bill to implement the Transforming Public Procurement Green Paper, as we called for in our response to the Consultation on the Green Paper.
Until then, the Government has the power to make a statutory instrument relaxing section 17 under section 19(1) Local Government Act 1999. The Government has the power to do this quickly and without taking parliamentary time. However, this should only be regarded as a temporary solution.
The sooner section 17 is repealed the better.
It is surely time for Government to repeal this outdated and unethical legislation.