The new Procurement Bill is currently passing through Parliament, having had its first reading in the House of Lords yesterday. This follows the Queen’s Speech on 10 May 2020 which stated that public sector procurement will be simplified to provide new opportunities for small businesses.

The Bill is intended to:

  • Create a simpler regime that works better for the UK, reducing costs and improving productivity.
  • Establish a single digital platform for supplier registration, businesses will only have to submit their data once to qualify for any public sector procurement.
  • Give public sector buyers more freedom and flexibility by allowing them to better negotiate with suppliers and to design the buying process to meet the needs of their specific procurement.
  • Enable smaller contracts to be restricted to UK suppliers, as permitted by World Trade Organization rules, and ensuring that procurement activities aid jobs and innovation.

Read the Procurement Bill here.

The Bill will take several months to complete its passage through Parliament. The Government will give a minimum of six months’ notice before ‘go-live’; this will not be until 2023 at the earliest.  The existing legislation will apply until the new regime goes live and will also continue to apply to procurements started under the old rules. Guidance will be provided to cover the transition from the old to the new regulations.

There is a dedicated webpage on Government’s platform here which will be updated as the programme develops.

The Government Commercial Function is hosting webinars to talk through the proposals and provide updates on the reform programme. For more information and to sign up, see below.