Progress on the new procurement directive
On 25 July 2013 the Cabinet Office published a Procurement Policy Note (PPN) in which they confirmed that a package of 3 procurement directives had been provisionally agreed: a public sector directive, a utilities sector directive and a new directive regarding procedural rules for the award of concession contracts.
On the 5th September 2013 the Internal Market Committee voted to adopt the proposed new directives. The final European Parliament vote on the matter is scheduled for November 2013. Progress indeed!
Following these formalities, member states have two years within which to transpose the directives and the PPN notes that it is the intention of Government to facilitate early transposition to enable contracting entities to take advantage of the flexibility of the new rules.
Further consultations are to take place on the implementing regulations at which time further PPN’s will be issued.
For public sector organisations, these are a few of the key changes in the new directive:
- a self-certifying system of assessing credentials, where only the winner is required to provide documentation to support its self-certification;
- poor performance is permitted as a ground for exclusion;
- the distinction between Part A and Part B Services has been removed. Advertising in the OJEU will still be required, but there will higher thresholds;
- the statutory time limits for responses by suppliers have been reduced by a third;
- there is a binding commitment on the Commission to review the application of thresholds and to do so within 3 years of the transposition of the directive;
- buyers will be encouraged to facilitate SME involvement by dividing contracts into lots;
- the new rules allow preliminary market consultation which should allow for better engagement and clearer specification of requirements.
The above is not a full list of the changes, but do give a flavour of the intent to make the procurement rules more user-friendly and less prone to red tape-type procedures.