How will the UK’s exit from the EU affect the procurement process?

As we’re all aware, the UK has left the EU and the public procurement policy transition period following the departure is now coming to an end. There are several minor changes that will affect England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

So, what’s next?

The first notable change is that as of January 2021, there will be a new way to post and view public sector procurement notices via an e-notification service called Find a Tender (FTS).

The Cabinet Office has already published one of 2 Procurement policy notes (PPNs)s, outlining the changes that are due to come into effect as an introduction of Find a Tender (FTS) which includes advice for contracting authorities.

As per the gov.uk site:

This PPN informs contracting authorities of the steps they need to take to ensure their legal obligations under the Regulations to publish certain notices in relation to public procurements continue to be met. This includes the circumstances where FTS or the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU)/TED must be used, how to access FTS and an associated FAQ.

There are several key messages for contracting authorities to take into consideration and more information can be found here.

Following this, information on public sector contract opportunities in the UK on the new Find a Tender Service (FTS) will be published on 31st of December 2020 at 11 pm.

As per the gov.uk site:

FTS is free to use and replaces the role of Tenders Electronic Daily, the Official Journal of the EU (OJEU/TED) for procurements in the UK.

So, the good news is that the new FTS is poised to replicate the abilities of Tenders Electronic Daily and therefore the disruption should be minimal.

For those of you who may have missed it, the Cabinet Office originally published advice on the Brexit transition and public sector procurement guidance on the 10th of November 2020 which has since been updated online. You can find full information on the new rules here including which eSenders are now fully compatible with FTS and those that are not.

In addition, there is also new information about bidding for overseas opportunities covered under the UK’s trade agreements and Government Procurement Agreement (GPA).

As per the gov.uk site:

The Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) opens up procurement markets among its parties. For the UK, as a party to the GPA, this means that:

UK businesses can bid for certain procurement opportunities in the other parties’ territories

  • businesses from those parties can bid for certain procurement opportunities in the UK

UK businesses will continue to benefit from the opportunities and rights provided by the GPA from 1 January 2021.

Fortunately, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have extensive information regarding which markets and what types of procurement opportunities are covered by the GPA.

The UK has already secured several trade agreements to ensure continuity after the 31st of December 2020, when EU agreements cease to apply. There are also some agreements still in discussion as outlined on the site:

If an agreement is not in force by 1 January 2021:

The UK has also signed Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) with Australia, New Zealand and the US which replicate the current agreements with the EU.

For Scotland, Public Contract Opportunities from Scottish public bodies will continue to appear on Public Contracts Scotland (PCS). Details on the EU Procurement Thresholds can also be found here.

And finally, the European Single Procurement Document (ESPD) is also being renamed, simply dropping ‘European’ from its title. The new Single Procurement Document (SPD) has been updated to reflect the new rules and buyers will remain responsible for identifying which SPD questions need answering by suppliers.

So it’s really business as usual, with a few tweaks.

Although significant, the changes are minor but if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

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