We haven’t mentioned Brexit since July last year but, as Halloween approaches and Boris Johnson’s oft-stated leave deadline looks likely to be missed. When, or even if, it will eventually happen is anybody’s guess.
Last time, we quoted economist Roger Bootle who said
“Brexit will produce some losers and some winners. Those business leaders who have been pontificating recently may be among the losers. But they do not represent all of British business….. large numbers of businesspeople have not said anything in public at all. In particular, very few owners and/or managers of small businesses have spoken out. They are predominantly potential winners from Brexit – especially from a full Brexit. They gain little or nothing from the single market but suffer from a welter of EU-driven legislation and regulation.”
The UK contributed to the EU legislation enacted by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. These were still open, fair, transparent, non-discriminatory and proportionate, but they were now less long-winded, less complicated, more ‘pro-SME’ and more ‘pro-local’. They were less complicated and arguable provided greater clarity.
The Regulations also set out the ability to allow community benefits by the inclusion of apprenticeships, local employment, training, community services and community facilities, hence public procurement can now unlock added Social Value.
In the short term, the UK public sector will still be required to comply with the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and not only will be obliged to, but will still want to, advertise contracts in accordance with the EU Directive. The current thresholds are £118,133 for Central Government contracts and £181,302 for other contracting authorities.
In the long term the UK Government will want to improve those regulations for the benefit of businesses and communities alike. Furthermore, if the UK negotiates continued membership of the European Economic Area (EEA), European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and/or Government Procurement Agreement, it will still be required to comply with procurement rules covering openness, fairness, transparency and non-discrimination, rules that already exist in the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.
So, it’s business as usual and there’s no reason to hang back from bidding and, hopefully, no reason for authorities to delay procurement exercises.
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