Regulated Public Procurement Will Survive Brexit
At the time of writing (February), Britain will exit the EU at 23:00 on Friday 29th March. You’ll also be aware that the Public Procurement Regulations 2015, which are the UK’s transposition of European Procurement rules into domestic law, apply to all public sector and many other ‘contracting authorities’ such as some charities and many bodies governed by public law. A no-deal Brexit is currently still a very real possibility and the Government is stepping up ‘no-deal’ preparations.
Recently the Cabinet Office published guidance on public-sector procurement after a no-deal Brexit. The guidance states that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, then the public procurement regulations will remain ‘broadly’ unchanged.
Government will need to amend the current legislation to ensure that it remains “operable and functional on exit”. The procedures will remain exactly the same, with the key difference being that their will be a new, UK e-notification service rather than an EU publication service. In layman’s terms, the term OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union) will disappear, but the concept of OJEU will remain and it will become something like (I’m guessing here) ‘UKENS’ (UK e-Notification Service).
Public-sector organisations and all ‘contracting authorities’ will still be required to advertise. Those that use e-procurement should check with their procurement software providers that they intend to integrate their software to the new e-notification service. BiP, Proactis and several others have already done so according to Cabinet Office, but by no means all of the e-procurement software providers yet.
Procurements commenced before Brexit will need to continue under existing legislation, however award notices will need to be via the UK e-notification service, not OJEU. The amended regulations will need to be followed from the point of exit.
Suppliers to the public-sector will need to also make sure that they are aware of this so that they update their searches for opportunities. Additional information has been published by the EU which confirms that suppliers wishing to tender for EU work, will still be able to access OJEU and TED as they currently can, although this reassurance is limited to access to opportunities and does not cover any aspects of tariffs or commercial implications.
Chris Cliffe FCIPS MIoD
Director, CJC Procurement Ltd
IoD Norfolk Ambassador for Procurement