Transforming Public Procurement
I would like to draw your attention to the publication of the Government’s response to the Green Paper on Transforming Public Procurement. We are creating a public procurement system that is simpler, more open and competitive, that will work for British business and make it easier for small businesses and voluntary, community and social enterprises to win public sector contracts.
Public procurement accounts for around £300 billion a year - a third of all public expenditure. Now that we have left the EU, we have a huge opportunity to reform how this money is spent so that it better meets the needs of this country. We can create a new, simpler procurement regime that will cut costs for business and the public sector by reducing bureaucracy and improving commercial outcomes. Such a huge amount of government spending must be leveraged to play its part in the UK’s economic recovery from the pandemic and unleash opportunities to serve local and national priorities.
This Government intends to put in place a new regime that will ensure we remain compliant with our international obligations. This includes the World Trade Organisation’s Agreement on Government Procurement which gives British businesses access to £1.3 trillion in public procurement opportunities overseas. This two-way street allows us to maximise value for money for UK taxpayers, whilst ensuring that UK companies are able to compete abroad.
During an extensive consultation, we received feedback from over 600 respondents. Overall, levels of support for the proposed reforms were high and many responses recognised the ambition of the package of proposals. In many instances, there is no change to the proposals set out in the Green Paper. In others, the Cabinet Office has clarified or amended the proposals based on the consultation feedback. In summary the proposals will:
● simplify and consolidate the current legislation as far as possible into a single, uniform regulatory framework, which will remove duplication and make procurement more agile and flexible;
● ensure that procurement supports local and national priorities. More weight will be given to bids that reward social value, such as those that create jobs and opportunities for communities, and support action on climate change;
● strengthen the approach to the exclusion of suppliers from procurements, making it simpler, clearer and more focused on excluding suppliers who pose an unacceptable risk;
● give much greater transparency throughout the procurement lifecycle. Transparency will be improved through the use of open contracting and creating a single register of suppliers. The commitment to embed transparency is central to the new rules. This will mean anyone can analyse procurement spend to see if public money is delivering value for taxpayers;
● benefit small businesses and social enterprises, by making it simpler, quicker and cheaper for suppliers to bid for public sector contracts. We will create a single, more efficient ‘tell us once’ register of suppliers, and give new rights for subcontractors experiencing payment delays in public sector supply chains;
● put in place a new Procurement Review Unit to oversee the integrity of the public procurement system.
The publication of the consultation response is a key milestone in delivering the ambition to create a procurement regime that better meets the needs of our country. We are currently finalising the Bill to implement these proposals and intend to introduce it as soon as Parliamentary time allows.
I hope you find this information helpful.