Procurement in Profile
Welcome to the July 2023 edition of Procurement in Profile
As we inch closer to the Procurement Bill obtaining Royal Assent, last month saw the Third Reading and Report Stage of the Bill in the House of Commons. The Bill has passed with amendments, and is now expected to be subjected to "ping pong" between the Lords and Commons on final amendments before being passed into law. The current timetable envisages that the Bill will be in force by October 2024 at the earliest (following the six month "go live" period). The first tranche of consultation has also now been launched on the secondary legislation that will support and underpin the Procurement Act. The consultation window is open until 29th July 2023, and the first draft statutory instrument focusses on the topics of the light touch regime, disapplication of the Procurement Bill to the NHS, vertical arrangement thresholds, cross-border procurement with Scotland and s17 of the Local Government Act 1998. We will be responding to the consultation in due course, and would encourage contracting authorities and providers to the public sector to consider the consultation and respond accordingly.
In this edition of PIP we look at a broad range of topics, and launch a three part series examining fraud in the public procurement regime. We also kick start a series of articles on the topic of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in procurement. AI is an increasingly important topic of conversation, and over the coming weeks we will be looking at some of the key consideration from a procurement perspective (including how to address AI in tender documents, how to procure AI, and how to handle data in an increasing AI environment).
In policy updates, we have recently seen the publication of a number of Procurement Policy Notes, including PPN 06/23 which makes a number of updates to the Commercial Playbooks, and PPN 07/23 which updates Government security classifications. Whilst PPN 06/23 is predominantly a reminder for central government departments (and their executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies) to make use of the Commercial Playbooks (and that these are considered best practice for the wider public sector), there are also some key updates that have been made to some of the underlying guidance notes (such as guidance on assessing and monitoring economic and financial standing of bidders). We will publish a more in-depth insight looking at these key changes in more detail to be included in the next edition of PIP – just in time for some summer reading … Enjoy!
List of articles:
As the Procurement Bill (the Bill) makes its way through Parliament, there is much that housing associations can be doing now to prepare themselves for the upcoming reform to the public procurement regime.
Despite what the Government had previously set out in its Green Paper on transforming public procurement around the key driver of innovation and the use of innovative procurement practices, the Procurement Bill itself is completely silent on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as part of a procurement process.
Prominent organisations, including the Ofcom, the BBC, British Airways, Boots and Aer Lingus, have been recently targeted in a global cyber-attack by the hackers known as "CLOP", compromising personal data belonging to their employees.
This hack exploited a file-transfer software known as "MOVEit", produced by Progress Software and enabled the hackers to breach multiple companies' data simultaneously. As part of this, Zellis, a payroll services provider in the UK, disclosed that eight of its client firms had experienced data breaches.
In our May 2023 edition of Procurement in Profile, we addressed collusion and bid-rigging in public sector tendering. The extent to which the public sector is exposed to fraud and corruption, however, goes much further than collusion and bid-rigging.
In the recent case of James Waste Management LLP v Essex County Council, the High Court considered whether an in-term modification to the defendant council’s integrated waste handling contract (the Contract) was permissible under Regulation 72 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR).
Following publication of PPN 03/23, Contracting authorities are now able to use either the well-known PAS 91 supplier questionnaire for public works contracts or the Common Assessment Standard (CAS). PPN 03/23 primarily updated the Selection Questionnaire and replaced PPN 08/16.
Procurement reform and clients who are prepared to use alternative price evaluation models are surely the way to improve the whole process and get the right bidder at the right price for a project, argues Rebecca Rees for Building Magazine.