National Procurement Policy
Plans to require contracting authorities to have regard to national priorities of strategic importance in public procurement focusing on: creating new businesses, jobs and skills in the UK; improving supplier diversity, innovation and resilience; and tackling climate change.
Simpler Regulatory Framework
Possible creation of one procurement regulation covering different areas (e.g. utilities, defence).
Simplification of Procedures
Overhaul of complex and inflexible procurement procedures and replacing them with three procedures:
- A new flexible procedure that gives buyers freedom to negotiate and innovate to get the best from the private, charity and social enterprise sectors.
- An open procedure that buyers can use for simpler, ‘off the shelf’ competitions.
- A limited tendering procedure that buyers can use in certain circumstances, such as crisis or extreme urgency.
Awarding the Right Contract to the Right Supplier
Enable wider point of view than that of the contracting authority to be taken when evaluating tenders. This would be by exception and only within a clear framework of rules. Proposals also to allow past performance to be taken into account more easily during evaluation.
Using the Best Commercial Contracting Tools
Proposals to legislate for a new Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS+) that may be used for all types of procurement (not just commonly used goods and services). Also, proposal to legislate for new options in framework agreements including option for an ‘open framework’ with multiple joining points and a maximum term of 8 years. Proposals point to possible wish to increase ability to “direct call-off” from DPS’ and to make frameworks more flexible.
Ensuring Openness and Transparency
Requirement that all contracting authorities implement the Open Contracting Data Standard so that data across the public sector can be shared and analysed to embed transparency by default throughout the entire commercial lifecycle of the procurement. Proposal also to establish a single digital platform for supplier registration that ensures businesses only have to submit their data once to qualify for any public sector procurement. Could lead to greater emphasis on contract monitoring.
Fair and Fast Challenges to Procurement Decisions
Reform of Court processes, including through the introduction of a tailored expedited process, to speed up the review system and make it more accessible. Potential use of a tribunal system in some cases; refocusing redress for suppliers onto pre-contractual measures; capping the level of damages available to aggrieved bidders, reducing the attractiveness of speculative claims; removing automatic suspension on the award of contracts let competitively in crisis or extreme urgency situations; and removing the mandated requirement to provide an individual debrief letter to each bidder at the end of a procurement process. Possible that legal challenge may become less frequent.
Effective Contract Management
Proposals are aimed at tackling payment delays in public sector supply chains and giving small businesses, charities and social enterprises better access to contracting authorities to expose payment delays. Proposes allowing more flexibility to amend contracts in times of crisis, thus improving the ability of contracting authorities to adapt quickly in these circumstances. Possible introduction of a new requirement to publish contract amendment notices for transparency and to give commercial teams greater certainty over the risk of legal challenge. Proposed capping of the profit paid on contract extensions where the incumbent raises a legal challenge.