UK Procurement Changes for 2024
October 2023 saw one of the largest shake ups of UK procurement policy in history, as the landmark Procurement Bill became an Act of Parliament.
The Act outlines a complete overhaul of our current procurement process in the United Kingdom, as we move away from EU regulations following Brexit. These changes will make public procurement more efficient, transparent, deliver better value for money, and place a bigger emphasis on social value generated by potential suppliers.
An estimated £300 billion of public money is spent on procurement each year, and the Procurement Act aims to ensure each penny of this goes as far as possible- with greater transparency on what is being spent and where.
Another key aim of the Act is to make the market more accessible for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). These objectives will be achieved in a variety of ways.
What does the Act mean for suppliers?
One of the barriers currently facing new potential suppliers is that preliminary market engagement carried out by procuring bodies is often limited and only done with ‘established’ lists of suppliers and networks only.
The Procurement Bill will put clear rules around pre-market engagement and contracting authorities must publish notices signposting this activity and how new suppliers can participate.
This makes the Public Sector market much more accessible for smaller businesses who may have previously thought they were too small to win work.
Unsuccessful bidders will be named in award notice
A notable change in the Procurement Act, is the inclusion of poor performance alone as a factor to allow the exclusion of suppliers- along with usual factors such as not adhering to Modern Slavery legislation. The names of these excluded parties will be published as part of the award notice- promoting greater competition between potential suppliers.
Invitation to Tender
Once procuring authorities are ready to go to market with tenders, a tender notice will be published on a central platform. This will have all the information needed for suppliers to bid and can also receive notifications for relevant opportunities.
A key challenge for SMEs currently is the number of platforms on which they are required to register: if a construction business wishes to bid for contracts across the Public Sector, they may need to sign up to NHS, local authority, housing associations and universities separately.
The added registration system introduced with the Procurement Act will require new suppliers to enter information only once, and the information will be shared with relevant authorities; saving valuable time and resources for SMEs.
More direct awards
The Act grants increased authority to directly award contracts to suppliers in specific situations, rather than carry out a competition. For example, to protect human, animal, or plant life or health, or to maintain public order and safety.
The Act also allows contracting authorities to reserve certain competitions for UK-based suppliers, SMEs, and social enterprises as well as placing a greater obligation on authorities to consider SMEs throughout the procurement process.
Feedback on unsuccessful bids
SMEs and new entrants to the Public Sector may not have extensive knowledge on how to create a winning bid- a key complaint with the current system is the lack of consistent feedback on unsuccessful bids from contracting authorities.
Under the new Procurement Bill, tenderers who are unsuccessful will receive an assessment summary which will show them directly how their bid compared to the winner.
Where GovData can help make the most of these changes
As the market leaders in winning Public Sector business, GovData’s experts have been watching the Procurement Act closely as it made its way through Parliament.
In particular, the new legislation around unsuccessful bidders being named publicly places an even greater importance on getting your bid right- so that you are not locked out for the duration of the framework, and publicly named as having failed.
We can assist in every aspect of your bid, and beyond. From carrying out a full gap analysis and compliance assessment on your business to ensure you are up to Cabinet Office standards, to supporting you whilst on the framework and helping bid on live deals.
Give us a call at 01925 269600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how we can help.