As we’re all aware, the UK has left the EU and the public procurement policy transition period following the departure coming to an end on 31st December 2020. There are several minor changes that will affect England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
The first notable change is that as of this month, January 2021, there is a new way to post and view public sector procurement notices. The UK government has replace the Official Journal of the European Union’s Tenders Electronic Daily (OJEU/TED) with the Find a Tender Service (FTS) – the new UK e-notification service where notices for new procurements will now be published.
So, the good news is that the new FTS effectively replicate the capabilities 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.
The key messages are:
- Find a Tenderis now in use.
- Procurements on OJEU/TED that were commenced prior to the end of the Transition Period must be concluded on OJEU/TED.
- New procurements commenced after the end of the Transition Period must be advertised on Find a Tender.
- Requirements to advertise on Contracts Finder, MOD Defence Contracts Online, Public Contracts Scotland, Sell2Walesand eTendersNIremain unchanged.
- The following e-Senders are publishing to FTS:
- Adam HTT Limited
- Atamis Limited
- BiP Solutions
- Elcom Limited (formerly known as ADB (UK) Limited)
- European Dynamics
- EU Supply
- In-Tend Ltd
- Proactis Tenders Ltd (part of Proactis)
- Wax Digital
Customers of eSenders who are not listed above are advised to contact their eSender for an update and to register directly on FTS in the interim if necessary.
Any contracting authority that publishes directly to TED should follow the instructions for direct registration on FTS set out in PPN 08/20.
Some eSenders have advised that they are not able to support parallel publication to both FTS and OJEU/TED. In these circumstances they have switched publication over to FTS by default. You may need to register on TED in order to post notices related to ongoing procurements manually. Your eSender can advise you if this is the case.
Advice for Business
Information on public sector contract opportunities in the UK is published on the Find a Tender Service (FTS):
- 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.
- FTS works alongside existing procurement portals such as Contracts Finder, MOD Defence Contracts Online, Public Contracts Scotland, Sell2Wales and eTendersNI which can be used to access a wide range of opportunities to supply the public sector.
If you wish to access public sector contract opportunities in the EU, you may continue to do so via OJEU/TED. Information about procurements launched by UK contracting authorities before 23:00 on 31 December 2020 will be available via OJEU/TED or the existing portals mentioned above.
Enquires can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, there is also new information about bidding for overseas opportunities covered under the UK’s trade agreements and Government Procurement Agreement (GPA).
Bidding for overseas government procurement opportunities
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) 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
Procurement opportunities under the GPA
The WTO website sets out which markets are covered by the GPA. It also sets out what types of procurement opportunities are covered in each market.
GPA parties use their own online platforms for publishing procurement opportunities. The WTO website provides party specific procurement-related information.
Procurement opportunities in addition to GPA coverage
The UK and EU have agreed an extension of market access coverage beyond the GPA.
This includes, but is not limited to:
- the gas and heat distribution sector
- certain private utilities that act as a monopoly
- services including:
- real estate
If you are a business seeking to bid for EU procurement opportunities, read more about the terms of procurement provisions of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
The UK has already secured several trade agreements to ensure continuity after the 31st of December 2020, when EU agreements ceased to apply.
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.