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Welcome to the October 2023 edition of Procurement in Profile.

In this month’s edition of Procurement in Profile we continue with our series on AI in procurement, including a look at how AI might be used in decision making. We also conclude our three part series on fraud in procurement, with a look at proactive steps that contracting authorities might take to avoid fraud in their procurement procedures.

The Procurement Bill continues its passage through Parliament, with it next being discussed in the House of Lords on 24 October 2023. Assuming that all final amendments and debate are concluded, this will pave the way for the Bill to receive Royal Assent in relatively short order, and the Cabinet Office is still working towards an October 2024 date for the Act to fully come into force.

Alongside the wider procurement reforms, the Government is continuing to take forward proposals for the NHS Provider Selection Regime, and we have published a summary of the Government’s response to its earlier consultation on those proposals. The wider consultations on the secondary legislation to implement the Procurement Bill have also now concluded, and we have included our comments on the draft regulations.

Also included this month are two case summaries of recent judgments - one looking at the differences between contracts let under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and the Concession Contracts Regulations 2016, and another looking at time limits in procurement challenges.

Please do get in touch with any of the procurement team if you would like to discuss any of the issues covered in this month’s edition of PiP!

List of Articles: 

Transforming public procurement – consultation on draft regulations to implement the Procurement Bill

Trowers & Hamlins have responded to parts one and two of the Government's consultation on draft regulations to implement the Procurement Bill. Our views on the consultation questions can be viewed below. 

Procurement fraud – part three: What proactive steps can you take to prevent procurement fraud?

In this third and final article of our series on procurement fraud, we look at what key steps organisations in the public sector should be taking in order to prevent procurement fraud in the first place and mitigate the risks associated with procurement fraud if despite best efforts, it occurs.

Procurement claim pitfalls: navigating the strict time limits, engaging in pre-action requests and pleading a declaration of ineffectiveness

A procurement challenge was made by Altiatech Ltd against Birmingham City Council following a direct award of a contract under a framework agreement that Altiatech was not a party to. BCC applied to strike out the claim and / or obtain summary judgment to dismiss Altiatech's claim.

Procurement and Artificial Intelligence – Using AI in your decision-making process

In our series of articles looking at the use of Artificial Intelligence in public procurement, we have been considering both the risks and opportunities that AI can present and how those might be navigated.

Healthcare Insights in England: Government response to Provider Selection Regime

In July the Department for Health and Social Care published its response to the February 2022 supplementary consultation on the Provider Selection Regime that has been developed by both the National Health Service England and the DHSC and proposes a new set of rules which would govern the purchasing of healthcare services.

Case analysis: Dukes Bailiffs Ltd v Breckland Council – Service contract or concession contract?

In the recent case of Dukes Bailiffs Ltd v Breckland Council, the High Court considered whether a local authority seeking to contract out enforcement of its debts (such as council tax) was governed by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 or the Concession Contracts Regulations 2016.

Cabinet Office updates Cyber Essentials Scheme for public procurements – PPN 09/23

In September 2023, the Cabinet Office issued PPN 09/23 to update the guidance for public sector bodies on the procurement of contracts with a higher risk of cyber security threats.