Transforming Public Procurement: green paper consultation response

06 December 2021      Ashley Shelbrooke, HEPA and Project Specialist

The Cabinet Office have today published their response to the Transforming Public Procurement green paper.  You can read the response here.

In a statement, the Government said:

We’ve listened: This document summarises the 619 responses with over 17,000 individual comments on the questions in the Green Paper and sets out the Government’s response. We have considered carefully all of the comments received. The level of support for the proposed reforms was high and many responses recognised the ambition and breadth of the package of proposals. The majority of answers to individual questions were positive. In many instances, there is no change to the proposals set out in the Green Paper, however in others we have clarified or amended the proposals based on the consultation feedback.

The benefits: The new regime will be simpler, fairer, more flexible and competitive and will be one of the most transparent regimes in the world. It will make it easier for small businesses and social enterprises to win public sector contracts. It will support innovation and reduce costs for both suppliers and the public sector.

The Government’s response sets out the detailed proposals. In summary:

·        We 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, making it easier for suppliers to respond to tenders. We plan to ensure certain flexibilities within the Utilities Contracting Regulations are retained. Working closely with the Ministry of Defence, we also plan to include specific features where necessary for defence and security in order to protect our national interests.

·        We will retain the Light Touch Regime which will retain the flexibility of the current regulations and will be improved in line with the broader regime changes such as the noticing and transparency requirements.

·        We will strengthen the approach to the exclusion of suppliers from procurements, making it simpler, clearer and more focused on suppliers who pose an unacceptable risk to public confidence in procurement, effective competition for contracts, reliable delivery, and protection of the public, the environment, public funds or the rights of employees.

·        We will embed greater transparency throughout the procurement lifecycle, and this will be central to the new rules. In response to feedback we have made some adjustments to better focus the transparency requirements by adding a threshold of £2m (contract value) for the publication of redacted contracts.

·        We are working closely with the Department for Health and Social Care to ensure there is a coherent procurement regime for joint commissioning and integrated provision across health, public health and social care for these and other types of ‘people-centric’ services.

·        We have decided not to take forward the proposal to cap the level of damages available to bidders that challenge a contract award decision. Instead we will make changes aimed at resolving disputes earlier and enabling faster decisions.

·        A new Procurement Review Unit (PRU) will focus on non compliance with the new procurement regime, overseeing the integrity of the public procurement system and wrapping in the activity of the existing Public Procurement Review Service.

·        We will address key issues such as tackling payment delays in public sector supply chains.

Next Steps: We know many of you will have questions or wish to hear more about the response. We will be hosting two open webinars for anyone who wishes to join, on 13 December 10:00 – 11:00 and 21 December 14:00 – 15:00. Please register for one of these here:

Watch our short animation to find out more about the changes and support to implement them:

Implementation: To support contracting authorities in taking full advantage of the opportunities the new regime will provide, we are planning a package of guidance and learning and development products. Subject to funding decisions, we intend that this will comprise a comprehensive programme to suit different roles and will be complemented by ongoing communities of practice for procurement and commercial professionals to share experiences and support each other. We will promote this offering as soon as we are able and in time before the new regime comes into effect.

Start of the new procurement regime: Although we cannot yet confirm the start date of the new procurement regime as it is subject to Parliamentary process, we plan to give a minimum of 6 months’ notice before “go-live”, once the legislative process has concluded. This will not be until 2023 at the earliest. The existing legislation will apply until the new regime goes live, and will continue to apply to procurements started under the old rules.

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