The UK’s exit from the European Union has provided the Government with an opportunity to reform the UK’s public procurement law. In December 2020, the Government published a Green Paper with its initial proposals for reform, which then commenced a consultation period, that closed in March 2021. In December of 2021, the response to the consultation was published along with modified proposals, which took account of the feedback received during the consultation period.
A Procurement Bill, has now been introduced to Parliament which will ultimately lead to a Procurement Act, under which subordinate regulations will be made. These new Regulations will replace the existing 4 sets of public procurement regulations, and the new regime is currently expected to go live during 2023.
The new procurement regime will apply to public sector contracting authorities and utilities as well as those private utility entities which
carry out a defined utility activity on the basis of special or exclusive rights, which is generally the current position, although the postal sector will no longer be a regulated activity.
The new regime will apply to contracting authorities and regulated utilities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with some specific differences, however devolved Scottish contracting authorities and Scottish utilities are specifically excluded from coverage.
The Government’s Procurement Green Paper December 2020 and Consultation Response of December 2021 are set out in 8 chapters, and this whitepaper summarises the draft legislation in the Bill using the same chapter headings and using the same convention as the Government papers with the term ‘contracting authority’ generally to include utility entities also.
Download our whitepaper for advice on the UK Procurement Bill.