The government is planning to incorporate the new EU procurement regulations into UK law in the early part of 2015. The changes have cross party support, so they are one of the few things that are likely to make it onto the statute books before the general election.
If you have the patience, you can read through the full text of the changes on the Cabinet Office consultation page here.
Or, you could read this, my précis of the main changes that affect IT providers:
1. Abolishing PQQ’s for procurements below the OJEU thresholds. This helps everyone in the market, not just IT providers.
2. Requiring by statute that all opportunities are advertised in Contracts Finder (this is currently government policy, but in future will be the law).
3. Requiring that all subcontractors are paid within 30 days. This is a key issue for the many IT SME’s in the supply chain who routinely work via larger prime contractors. Take note, big SI’s!
4. The introduction of dynamic purchasing systems. This allows government to set up a framework for a category of goods or services onto which suppliers can bid and (if they meet the qualification criteria) join the framework throughout its life. In essence, this allows government to turn things like G-Cloud into an enduring framework rather than one that suppliers have to re-bid to get onto every six months.
5. The use of electronic communications (translation: e-sourcing portals) is now embedded fully in the law. This means that the OJEU bulletin process may not always be the route that customers use to advertise their opportunities. You need to ensure you are registered on ALL the portals used by your customers for advertising opportunities.
6. Competitive Dialogue is back, I do miss her so. See here on a separate article produced by myself and Andy Lucas in 2013.
7. There is an obligation on public bodies to share information about any contact they have had with potential bidders prior to the start of a competition. This is a particularly important issue in ICT contracts, where the complexity of the requirements, and the fast pace in technology, mean that extensive pre-procurement consultation is common.
8. The size of a bidder (annual turnover compared to the annual value of the contract) has been set to make it easier for SMEs. Public bodies now have to use 2 x annual value of the contract as their threshold unless there are compelling reasons to go higher.
9. All tenders now have to be awarded on the basis of Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT), rather than lowest compliant offer.
There are a host of other changes hiding in the 96 pages of draft legislation. But, if you want to know about those then you will have to read it yourself…
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