The Procurement Bill 2022 is set to be the next major post-Brexit shake-up that determines how public bodies spend money. The new bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech in May 2022, and it will revoke several rules set out in the EU directives that affect the procurement of goods, services, and works.
The Procurement Bill 2022: what is it and when will it come into effect?
The Procurement Bill 2022 is a legal framework that aims to reform public procurement. The purpose of the bill is to provide more transparency and fairness to suppliers. It will also mean that the government can spend less money on procurement and get better value for money.
It’s a new piece of post-Brexit legislation announced in May 2022 that aims to reform public procurement by revoking several regulations that were implemented by the EU Directive. The regulations that the bill will revoke include:
• the Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011;
• the Public Contracts Regulations 2015;
• the Concessions Contracts Regulations 2016; and
• the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016.
The bill affects the entire UK except ‘devolved Scottish authorities’, meaning the bill will only affect authorities in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Transforming Public Procurement
Transforming Public Procurement is a green paper released by the Cabinet Office in late 2021 which outlines many of the principles that will be enacted in the new Procurement Bill. The paper was written in response to a consultation on the UK’s existing procurement regulations with the goal of both speeding up and implying UK procurement processes. The paper highlighted a number of questions posed to a total of 619 responders from both government and industry organisations and found that the desire for reform was present across all groups.
It’s no doubt that the Procurement Bill 2022 will address many of the issues raised in the 2021 green paper and improve procurement across the UK as a result.
What changes will the new bill bring to procurement rules in the UK?
The Procurement Bill 2022 will have wide-ranging effects on procurement processes across the UK. Broadly, the bill aims to embed important principles of equality and non-discrimination into the UK’s procurement legislation while meeting particular objectives including value for money, maximal public benefit, transparency, and integrity.
Some of the biggest changes in the bill include:
• Evaluation criteria to identify the ‘most advantageous tender’ rather than the ‘most economically advantageous tender’
• More flexible procedures for public contract awards that give more power to contracting authorities to design processes in the way they want to;
• The introduction of a single digital platform for supplier registration that all contracting authorities must use
• Clearer and more comprehensive grounds for excluding suppliers on the basis of poor performance
• Further obligations relating to proactive assessment and mitigation of potential conflicts of interest
• New arrangements for procurement processes under emergencies like Covid-19
• The introduction of ‘open frameworks’ makes it easier to replace frameworks multiple times using the same terms and the same suppliers
What benefits will the new rules bring?
The Procurement Bill 2022 is set to bring a raft of benefits to businesses and organisations across the UK. Lord True has pointed out that “£1 in every £3 of public money—some £300 billion a year—is spent on public procurement. Imagine the power of the most efficient and effective use of that money every year. Imagine the extra small businesses that we could help to hire more workers, expand their operations and contribute to the wealth of this nation”.
The purpose of the new bill is to deliver benefits to procurement specialists across all industries, such as:
• Easier access to suppliers
• Increased competition from suppliers and better deals for the public sector
• Better value for money
• More flexibility for procurement teams
• Increased protections from discrimination
For most businesses and organisations across the UK, the Procurement Bill 2022 will introduce principles that ensure transparency and accountability while improving flexibility and value.