How is Covid-19 Affecting the Procurement Process?

How is Covid-19 Affecting the Procurement Process?

As we’re all now acutely aware, a vast number of businesses have been affected by the current COVID-19 crisis. What you may not be aware of is that the Public Procurement Process under Regulation 32 of the Public Contract Regulations 2015 has now come into effect.

Fortunately, there are still opportunities out there and your tendering need not halt. NHS Trusts and local authorities in particular, may need your help as a matter of urgency.

In response to the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, the Cabinet Office has recently published a document outlining “Public Sector Procurement and COVID-19

COVID-19 and Public Sector Procurement

It’s abundantly clear that despite the strange and concerning situation we’re all currently facing, the procurement of services, goods, and works is still needed, some with great urgency.

According to the Public Sector Procurement and COVID-19 document, “Authorities are permitted to do this using Regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations 2015.”

The guidance given is for all contracting authorities which includes local authorities, central government departments, non-departmental public bodies, executive agencies, as well as NHS bodies and the wider public sector.

As per the recent guidance;

“There will be a range of commercial actions that must be considered by contracting authorities in responding to the impact of COVID-19. In such exceptional circumstances, authorities may need to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency. This is permissible under current public procurement regulations (PCRs) using regulation 32(2)(c).

 The options the authorities may use are:

  • direct award due to extreme urgency (regulation 32(2)(c);
  • direct award due to 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.”

This means that “contracting authorities may enter into contracts without competing or advertising the requirement so long as they are able to demonstrate the following tests have all been met:

1) There are genuine reasons for extreme urgency
2) The events that have led to the need for extreme urgency were unforeseeable
3) It is impossible to comply with the usual timescales in the PCRs
4) The situation is not attributable to the contracting authority.”

No one wants to ‘cash in’ on this crisis but businesses need to survive for the sake of the economy. We deem this an opportunity for you to contact buyers, whether they be current or previous customers, and see if there is a need for what you can supply – especially where there is already a framework or dynamic purchasing system in place.

This guidance is proof that the procurement process is still alive and valued, even under these exceptional circumstances.

Contact us to see how we can help you weather the storm.

Read the full publication here: Public Sector Procurement and COVID-19

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