The Procurement Bill: The government starts its Consultation on secondary legislation

The Procurement Bill (the Bill) is currently making its way through Parliament.

Pending finalisation of the Bill, the UK government has started its Consultation on the secondary legislation, which will be required to implement certain aspects of the new procurement regime.

The Welsh government is also separately launching consultations mirroring those of the English government.

The latest of the UK consultations was launched on 17 July. Below, we set out some context to the Consultation and how to go about responding.

The Consultation

The Consultation refers predominantly to the numerous transparency notices that contracting authorities will need to refer to and employ throughout the procurement lifecycle including, Contract Award Notices, Contract Performance Notices, Contract Change and Contract Termination Notices.

However, it also addresses:

  • The approach for transitioning to the new regime, and how this will be managed for existing procurements or those that were awarded under existing regulations, and seeks views on the proposed approach.
  • The Bill already excludes private utilities from some elements of the transparency requirements (e.g. the requirement to publish KPI's for contracts and the need to publish Contract Performance Notices), but the Consultation also considers whether utilities should be excluded from further elements or have bespoke provisions (e.g. a reduced version of a Contract Award Notice).
  • Awarding bodies and contractors will also be interested in the proposals for the Assessment Summary (currently known as the standstill letter). It is proposed that awarding bodies will no longer be required to set out the relative advantages and disadvantages of a bidder's proposal compared with that of the winning bid. Instead, they will receive an assessment summary of their bid and as well as the winning bid. Such a proposal will no doubt please many awarding bodies, as it saves them the necessity to create bespoke comparisons. There is also no requirement to provide additional feedback which might help suppliers improve future tenders, though such activity is encouraged where feasible.
  • Organisations covered by the term "defence authority" used in the Bill and a number of other items that relate to transparency such as the Central Digital Platform.

Respond to the Consultation

The UK Government's consultation can be found through this link. If you would like to respond, please do so by Friday 25 August using this link.

You can also respond by emailing: [email protected].

The Welsh Government's consultation can be found through this link. If you would like to respond, please do so by Friday 25 August using this link.

Next steps

Following the Consultation, the final version of the secondary legislation will be put before Parliament, combining the provisions of the consultations into one single statutory instrument.

The government has said it will give a minimum of six months’ advance notice for the introduction of the new regime, and the laying of the secondary legislation would be the earliest point that this notice would be given. The government anticipates the new regime will be in force from October 2024.  

If you require any help preparing a response to the Consultation, or wish to consult an expert before doing so, please reach out to one of our specialists.

For more information on the progress of the Procurement Bill and its key reforms, we've written a series of articles which you can access below.

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