Summary: Last week, the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 came into force in the UK, bringing with them fundamental changes to the way in which both buyers and suppliers do business.
The public procurement landscape is changing as a result of this new legislation. For suppliers in particular, the changes should make the procurement process more flexible, simple and transparent, allowing for greater competition, more opportunities and easier procurement processes.
So, how can the Public Contracts Regulations help you win more public sector business?
Public Contracts Regulation 2015: The Headline Changes
As a result of the new Regulations it is now even easier for suppliers to work with the public sector in a number of key areas.
Most notably for businesses like yours are as follows:
Reduced bureaucracy – the PQQ for has been abolished for procurements below EU thresholds, only the winning firm will need to supply full audited evidence to support their bids, and online procurement will gradually become mandatory.
Streamlined procedures – the new Regulations demand that everyone in the supply chain must comply with a 30-day payment period, and public bodies must publish an annual ‘late payment report’. In addition, public buyers will have more scope to negotiate terms with the private sector through new procedures.
Stronger legal measures – there will be new steps to help EU Member States to identify and prevent conflicts of interest, attempts to influence procurement decisions and other forms of corruption.
Beyond the headline improvements, however, there are several areas of improved regulation which could open up new opportunities for businesses. If your firm gains a good understanding of some of the new policies early, it could place you ahead of an increasingly competitive marketplace.
The future is online
eProcurement includes publishing notices online and submitting bids electronically, and it is set to become the norm in the coming years.
eProcurement can significantly simplify the way procurement is conducted, delivering greater efficiency, cutting down timescales and saving administration costs while allowing greater competition. For these reasons, the new Regulations make it clear that the future is online.
- By March 2016, electronic notifications and access to tender documents online will be mandatory
- By March 2017, electronic notification of offers made by Central Government buying authorities will be made mandatory
- By September 2018, electronic notification of offers by all other public bodies (ie local government) will be mandatory
Public sector buyers which have already made the leap online have noted savings of between 5% and 20% in their procurement procedures. Given the size of the total procurement market across the EU, the move online could greatly strengthen the economy and stimulate greater competition for businesses like yours.
Go pink or go home
A major factor now being introduced by the European Union is one which should already be familiar to UK suppliers: pink procurement.
The new rules aim to put more emphasis on environmental considerations in procurement procedures. In bidding for public sector work, an enterprise which does not respect the environmental requirements of UK law can be excluded, and the firm which submits the best tender may not be awarded the contract if certain pink considerations are not met.
Your firm may have a strong bid at a low price, but could still lose out if the product is not of fair trade origin, if sustainable materials are not used or if full life costs are not factored into the bid.
New provisions may be made for social criteria and social inclusion in the Public Contracts Regulations.
The new rules include a ‘social clause’, which states that any company failing to comply with relevant social obligations may be excluded from the procurement procedure.
In the construction and production sectors, buyers may now give consideration to the process by which goods are produced, and may decide to award a contract to a company which intends to employ the greatest number of ‘disadvantaged’ people, social enterprises or third sector firms, if set out in the contract.
Get ready for the opportunities
Given these important changes, now is the time to ensure that your business is ready to make the most of the opportunities the Regulations will bring.
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Feb 27, 2015.