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A Roadmap for Readiness Part 1: The Procurement Act 2023, What are you doing to get ready?

Article, Industry Insights

A Roadmap for Readiness Part 1: The Procurement Act 2023, What are you doing to get ready?

As the regulatory landscape evolves, the utilities sector is poised to navigate through one of the most significant shifts in procurement law in recent history.

The Procurement Act 2023, heralding a new era of procurement practices in the UK, marks the transition from a framework influenced by EU directives to a regime grounded in purely domestic legislation. This act, which will come fully into force in October 2024, introduces a unified legal basis that encompasses public sector, utilities, concessions, and defence/security procurement.

This change is more than a legislative update; it represents a shift towards enhancing transparency, promoting fairness, and ensuring value for money in procurement processes.  For private utilities and their suppliers, the act represents evolution and not revolution. The new regime will maintain the effect of a sourcing and selecting system (such as UVDB Powered by Achilles) as a separate tool for utilities under similar terms to the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016. This is to maintain how utilities currently operate and will continue to allow utilities and suppliers to join the network under the UCR 2016 QSN post implementation of PA23 in October 2024.

This 2-part article aims to provide utilities and their suppliers with a roadmap to navigate the complexities of the Procurement Act 2023. Drawing upon insights from the Cabinet Office and leveraging Achilles’ extensive experience in supplier management, we delve into the key aspects of the Act, the imperative of readiness, and the necessity of a seamless transition to the new procurement regime.

In part 2 we will provide a more detailed approach to how UVDB Powered by Achilles & Link-Up will be facilitating compliant routes to market.  This strategy will be based around interactions with the Cabinet Office and the most up to date revisions to the act allowing for a seamless transition into the new procurement regime.

Understanding the Procurement Act 2023: Key Changes and Implications

Central to the Act are Dynamic Markets (DMs) and Qualifying Utilities Dynamic Markets (QUDMs), which allow ongoing supplier engagement without fixed terms, promoting competitive access. The Act also upholds the validity of established systems like UVDB Powered by Achilles, ensuring a smooth transition. For more detailed insights read our article ‘Utilities Dynamic Market and Dynamic Market Notice: Everything you need to know’

Implications for Utilities and Suppliers

The Procurement Act 2023 presents a landscape of change for utilities and suppliers, mandating a thorough evaluation of procurement strategies to meet new domestic regulations.

This shift influences various operational factors, from award procedures and transparency norms to supplier exclusions and governance models. Utilities can greatly benefit from leveraging UVDB to align with the new procurement frameworks, ensuring compliance and facilitating seamless market access. UVDB Powered by Achilles offers a robust support system for a smooth transition to the dynamic procurement landscape introduced by the Procurement Act 2023.

Facilitating Readiness

As the utilities sector braces for the significant changes brought about by the Procurement Act, the question on everyone’s mind is, “What are we doing to be ready?”

Achilles is dedicated to providing utilities with a compliant route, accommodating both existing and new regulations set by the Procurement Act. With the choice to either adhere to existing standards or transition to new ones, utilities can rely on Achilles for tailored support.  This approach offers flexibility, allowing utilities to assess and prioritise their transition strategy to align with their operational timelines and requirements.

Ensuring a Compliant Transition

Compliant Systems: Achilles has engaged with the Cabinet Office and legal experts over the past three years to develop a system that aligns with the Procurement Act 2023 and Utilities Contract Regulations 2016, ensuring that all necessary adjustments are in place well ahead of the October 2024 enforcement date.

Flexibility in Adoption

Recognising the diverse readiness levels across the sector, Achilles offers flexibility for utilities and contracting authorities to adopt the new regulations. This flexibility ensures that each entity can transition at a pace that aligns with their operational readiness, without disrupting ongoing procurement processes.

Leveraging Existing Qualification Systems

Stability Through Transition

Existing qualification systems like UVDB Powered by Achilles and Link-Up, established before the Procurement Act 2023, remain unaffected and compliant. This continuity ensures that utilities can maintain operational stability while adapting to the new regulations, providing a familiar and reliable framework for both buyers and suppliers.

Advantages of Early Adoption

For those ready to embrace the new regulations immediately, Achilles is prepared for the forthcoming QUDM notice, designed to be operational ahead of the Act’s enforcement.

Comprehensive Support from Achilles

Robust Supplier Network: UVDB Powered by Achilles and Link-up offers access to a high volume of validated suppliers, ensuring that utilities can efficiently find and engage with compliant and competitive suppliers for their procurement needs.

Dedicated Services: The suite of services provided by Achilles, including Account Management, Customer Success, and Supplier Support, ensures a seamless transition for utilities. These services are designed to assist utilities in navigating the changes, optimising their procurement processes, and enhancing their overall supply chain resilience.

Continuous Improvement: By joining Achilles, utilities not only ensure compliance with the current regulations but also position themselves to benefit from continuous improvements in supplier management practices. UVDB Powered by Achilles and Link-up Networks’ facilitates ongoing enhancements in areas such as ESG, cybersecurity, and operational best practices, ensuring that utilities remain at the cutting edge of industry standards.

Roadmap to readiness

The readiness for the Procurement Act 2023 requires more than just an understanding of the new regulations; it demands strategic planning, robust support systems, and a flexible approach to adoption. Achilles provides and will continue to provide the utilities sector with the tools, resources, and expertise needed to navigate this transition confidently.  Utilities organisations can rest assured that Achilles will continue to ensure that contracting authorities have a compliant route for procurement, regardless of the regulations they intend to operate in line with.

As the sector moves towards October 2024, partnership with Achilles will ensure that utilities and their suppliers are not just prepared for the changes but are also equipped to thrive in the new procurement landscape.

The forthcoming ‘Part 2 Roadmap to Readiness‘ will outline the finalised structure Achilles will implement post-discussions with the Cabinet Office and UVDB Powered by Achilles members. It will provide a detailed outline of the chosen structure, whether it involves updating existing networks like UVDB Powered by Achilles and Link-Up or creating a new network that offers a compliant route to market in alignment with the Procurement Act 2023.

Stay tuned for insights on navigating the updated procurement landscape and leveraging the support structures in place for a seamless transition.

Contact us today to discuss your requirements in aligning to the Procurement Act 2023

Are you Ready to get Ready for the Procurement Act 2023?

Contact us to understand how you can ensure a smooth transition to the new regulations.

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