Get ready to win with the Public Contracts Regulations
Summary: Last week, new Public Contracts Regulations came into force in the UK, Regulations which will bring fundamental changes to the procurement processes for the public and private sectors.
For suppliers across the defence and civil sectors, the changes should make the procurement process more flexible and transparent, allowing for greater competition, more opportunities and making it easier for you to win business.
So, what is changing and how can you get ready for the new opportunities?
The key changes
There are a number of key changes which will affect the entire procurement process for businesses of any size. For example:
Abolishing the PQQ – the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire has been abolished for procurements below EU thresholds, and from now on only the winning firm will need to supply full audited evidence to support their bids.
Streamlined payment 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 support – 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 these headline improvements, however, there are several areas of new regulation which could open up real opportunities for businesses.
With a good understanding of some of the new policies, your business could be best placed for success in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
eProcurement is the publishing of notices and submitting of bids online. The new Regulations make it clear that online procurement is set to become the norm in the coming years.
Moving procurement procedures online can significantly simplify the way procurement is conducted, delivering greater efficiency, cutting down timescales and saving administration costs while allowing greater competition. As such, eProcurement will gradually become mandatory:
- 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.
A major factor now being introduced by the European Union is one which should already be familiar to UK suppliers: green 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 green considerations are not met.
Going green could significantly improve your chances of success in the new Regulations. Your firm may have a strong bid at a low price, but could still end up losing 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.
The precision intelligence you need
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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