On 23 November 2020, the Cabinet Office published Procurement Policy Note 08/20: Introduction of Find a Tender (the PPN), together with Frequently Asked Questions: Find a tender at the end of the Transition Period.
All “contracting authorities” (which includes local authorities and Registered Providers) are required to apply the provisions of the PPN from the end of the Brexit transition period at 11pm on 31 December 2020.
At the end of the transition period amendments to the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016 and the Concession Contracts Regulations 2016 (the Regulations) will come into force, by virtue of the implementation of the Public Procurement (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, which you can view here. Whilst the principles underlying the public procurement regime will not substantially change, after the end of the transition period contracting authorities will be required to publish public procurement notices for new procurements in the new UK e-notification service “Find a Tender” instead of in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). Other requirements to advertise on other platforms such as Contracts Finder are unaffected by this change.
The PPN sets out practical guidance for contracting authorities on how to access the Find a Tender service, and provides details of the eSenders and tender management providers that have already completed the integration work to enable notices to be automatically published in Find a Tender. The PPN encourages contracting authorities to check whether their tender management provider has completed the integration work required.
In respect of procurements which are commenced prior to 11pm on 31 December 2020 and which have not yet been finalised by that date, the current requirement to publish notices in OJEU will continue to apply after the end of the transition period. This means that if a contracting authority commences a procurement process before the end of the transition period, but that procurement process has not been completed by the end of the transition period, the authority will need to continue to publish notices relating to the procurement in OJEU. This includes any relevant notices such as contract notices, contract award notices, contract amendment notices and corrigenda notices.
The PPN also asks contracting authorities to send pre-end of transition period notices, which are required to be sent to OJEU for publication, to the Find a Tender service as well so that there is only one place for suppliers to look for UK tenders. However, this is not a legal requirement (as made clear by paragraph 18 of the PPN).
Looking further into the future, the Government has indicated an intention to simplify the Regulations to make them more flexible and SME friendly. We await the Government’s Green Paper on that, and will provide further updates as and when we know more.
For further information, please contact Kris Kelliher.