UK Public Procurement 2021 – Brexit and Tenders

You might be wondering what’s happening regards Brexit and tenders? What’s the impact on UK Public Procurement 2021? In short, not much immediately. But some interesting changes are on the cards. Brexit transition ends in 2020. On the 1st January 2021 there are some small changes to public procurement. More changes have been announced as the year progresses.

Brexit and Tenders – UK Public Procurement 2021

UK Public Procurement for 2021

The Government has issued information on public procurement post-Brexit.

These are the main issues:

Find a Tender Portal

There is new e-tender service Find a Tender. It will replace the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) in the UK for above threshold tenders. The Find a Tender service (FTS) will be in place on 1st January 2021.

UK high-value tenders will no longer be posted on TED. See Finding Tenders Post-Brexit. However, if the process was started using TED, there is a requirement for dual publishing. So, if there was a PIN published the authority is required to continue publishing on both TED and FTS. This also applies if there are any notices required under the Modification of Contracts (PCR Reg 72 and UCR Reg 88).

Existing UK Government Portals

Contracts Finder, Public Contracts Scotland, Sell2Wales, eTendersNI, MOD Defence Contracts Online etc. all remain in place without any changes.

Transition

The 2020 procurement regulations will apply to any procurement started but not completed before 31 December 2020.

Public Procurement Thresholds for 2021

For now, they stay the same as 2020.

UK Procurement Changes Post-Brexit

The Government transferred the EU procurement Directives (2014/24/EU) into UK law in the form of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and others. Later, the Government said there will be no immediate changes to procurement policies for 2021.

However, future changes may have an impact on the minimum timelines and processes for tenders. (e.g. advertising, response times etc.) and thresholds.

Government is continually reviewing its procurement policies. Changes are published in Procurement Policy Notes (PPNs). In 2020 there have been two PPNs to deal with the impact of Covid-19. PPN 04/20 gives instructions on how to deal with suppliers during the recovery and transition from COVID-19. PPN 01/20 advises on procuring goods, services and works with extreme urgency and short cutting the normal process. So, changes always happen.

The Government has published a green paper with proposed changes to UK public procurement. It explains how it wants to rationalise the regulations and change procedures. The UK Government says these new rules will help SMEs to win more contracts. It’s early days but if some of these proposals come to fruition we could see significantly changes in the future.

One significant change is making it easier for SMEs to win low-value tenders from 2021. PPN 11/20 explains how buyers can can create tenders for low-value tenders that favour SMEs. For example, specifying the geographical area that bidders must reside in or restricting bidding to SMEs and Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises (VCSEs).

Another notable change from June 2021 is the National Procurement Policy Statement contained in PPN 05/21. It states:

Contracting authorities should consider the following social value outcomes alongside any additional local priorities:

  • Creating new businesses, new jobs and new skills in the UK
  • Improving supplier diversity, innovation and resilience
  • Tackling climate change and reducing waste

These reflect the need for post CV-19 recovery and the UK Government’s legally-binding target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. Mills & Reeve’ procurement law team have a published a post explaining the changes.

If you need support on a public sector tender, contact us to get help with winning the bid.

Finding Tenders Post-Brexit

Again, not much has changed. Contracts Finder and all the other portals advertising UK public sector tenders stay in place. See finding UK public sector tenders. The only immediate difference is that UK high-value tenders advertised from 1st January 2021 will no longer be posted on TED. They will appear on Find a Tender.

At the time of writing, there’s very little more information on Find a Tender and how it fits in with the four nations’ portals. They all currently include high-value tenders so there will be duplication.

Summary – Brexit, Tenders & UK Public Procurement 2021

Initially, there were no significant changes to UK public procurement rules and thresholds. But things are developing now that the UK can determine its own public procurement regulations.

You can still find public sector tenders using the same portals. But the UK will no longer use TED. Find a Tender replaces OJEU / TED for the UK.

Hopefully SMEs will have an even better chance of winning low-value public sector tenders in future. And from June 2021, we should see some more specific social value requirements.

Have you seen any changes in public tenders following Brexit?

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