Procurement in Profile - February 2023
Welcome to the second edition of Procurement in Profile
There is so much happening in the world of procurement at present and there has been a lot of activity to comment on and content to choose from. However, it is clear from the numerous conversations we have had over the past couple of months that our clients and contacts want to talk about transparency in procurement: what it requires now and how the transparency ambitions of the Government will impact on their day to day procurement lives moving forward. You will find two links below to hear some views on the Government’s ambitions.
The Public Bill Committee is currently sitting to scrutinise the Procurement Bill 2022. It is a reminder as to the centrality of procurement in public sector life and also what can be achieved through good practice. It is also interesting to note what has piqued the Committee’s scrutiny: reminding us of the post-Brexit potential of procurement being used as a political football. To this end, it is noted that the Committee is voting along party lines. One cannot help but be slightly disappointed that the considered amendments put forward in Committee are not gaining traction. Some of these amendments would ensure that the reforms are a little bit bolder in what they achieve through the Bill … time will tell if the reform agenda results in a truly transformed regime, as promised.
In the meantime, the courts have continued to be active, determining the outcomes in a range of disputes concerning the current regulations. Of particular note are the decisions covered in this edition concerning the application of the "sufficiently serious" test in respect of available remedies where an unsuccessful bidder succeeds in their challenge. On the theme of procurement litigation, our procurement litigators are as busy as ever and also comment in this edition on a recent success in the High Court.
List of articles:
Procurement Bill: Our submission of written evidence to the Public Bill Committee
The Procurement Bill is currently passing through Parliament and as part of this process, The House of Commons Public Bill Committee (Public Bill Committee) is going to consider the Bill.
The Public Bill Committee invited procurement experts to submit written evidence to be scrutinised line by line ahead of its first sitting. As part of this process, Trowers & Hamlins submitted its own response which can be viewed here.
LGG Blog: Transparency in procurement - is daylight the best disinfectant?
In this blog, Rebecca Rees explores the Cabinet Office's transparency ambitions for the Transforming Public Procurement agenda.
The Procurement Bill: Benefits for Prospective Suppliers to the Public Sector – facilitating access for SMEs and VCSES
In this article, we consider the seven key issues highlighted in the Government's recent guidance regarding benefits for prospective suppliers to the public sector under the Procurement Bill, and what suppliers should be doing now to prepare for the new procurement regime.
Transforming Public Procurement – Transparency
In this article we examine the Cabinet Office Policy Paper "Transforming Public Procurement – our transparency ambition" and assess the direction of travel for the proposed transparency regime.
High Court Judgment: Gateway Housing Association
Trowers were recently successful in the High Court obtaining a Summary Judgment in favour of the housing association Gateway Housing Association (Gateway).
Pitfalls to avoid for a compliant procurement – Bromcom Computers plc v United Learning Trust and another  EWHC 3262 (TCC)
In its recent judgment, the High Court has highlighted various pitfalls to avoid in procurement procedures following a claim brought by Bromcom Computers plc ("Bromcom") which was the unsuccessful bidder in a procurement of a contract for the supply of a cloud-based Management Information System ("MIS") to United Learning Trust ("ULT").
Braceurself Ltd v NHS England  EWHC 1532 (TCC)
This case is an important reminder that where the outcome of a procurement is marginal, even a minor breach of duty by the contracting authority can have big repercussions.
Getting ahead of the procurement reforms
As specialists in the procurement world, and with unique insight into the Bill and its policy drivers, Trowers & Hamlins is able to offer a range of legal support, workshops and bespoke advice to help you get prepared and make the most out of the upcoming procurement reforms.