The February 2015 launch of the new Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR 2015). has changed public sector procurement in the UK. The new requirements aim for a simpler and more consistent approach to selection for all public sector contracting authorities. The intention is to remove some of the bureaucracy and barriers which make it difficult for businesses, in particular smaller firms, to access public sector contracts.
However, the regulations also bring new compliancy issues and we’re finding that these put pressure on already busy public sector procurement teams, for example ensuring documentation is ready from day one.
I’ve been sharing the following pointers with my clients:
1. Preparation of procurement documents
- All procurement documents must be ready and made available electronically from the date of the advertisement (or invitation to confirm interest where a Prior Information Notice (PIN) has been used as a call for competition). This rules out finalising tender documents during the pre-qualification process.
2. Check the timescales
- The timescales for OJEU procurement have been updated. Click here for a document mapping out the new minimum timeframes.
3. Update standard documents
The revised and expanded grounds for exclusion (both mandatory and discretionary, under Regulation 57) must replace the existing grounds
Any selection criteria must still be compliant (e.g. turnover requirements must not exceed twice contract value).
The term ‘most economically advantageous tender’ has a slightly different meaning, and the new term “best price-quality ratio” has been introduced. If using "life cycle-costing" as an award criterion, Regulation 68 has new requirements
All threshold procurements must be published on Contracts Finder, with the exception of opportunities under an existing Framework or to a group previously selected.
Notices sent to the Official Journal must be published on Contracts Finder within 24 hours.
5. Record keeping
The Regulations are being implemented in advance of the new standard forms being finalised by the European Commission. The Cabinet Office guidance shows how to use the existing forms for the new regulations.
Record keeping and reporting obligations include the “Regulation 84 report” requirement to document, for each procurement, key decisions and steps taken along the way.
Faithful+Gould leads this process for many public sector clients, supporting them to ensure an efficient and compliant procurement pathway. We implement robust procedures, tailored to clients’ requirements, which alleviate pressure on internal teams.