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Green light for New Directive on Procurement of Public Contracts
Trowers Public Insight

Green light for New Directive on Procurement of Public Contracts

Following delays to the implementation timetable in 2013, we are pleased to confirm that the new EU Procurement Directive will now come into force on 17 April 2014 after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union on 28 March 2014.

Once in force Member States will have two years to implement the Directive into national legislation -  by April 2016 at the latest.  The UK government has stated, however, that it intends to implement the Directive sooner than this so that "the UK can benefit as soon as possible from the improved flexibilities [it] offers".  We understand that the New Directive will be implemented in the form of the new Public Contracts Regulations in late 2014/ early 2015 which means that organisations should start planning now for how this will impact upon the way in which they do business.

The New Directive has been welcome news for public bodies and also those organisations that will be bidding for work or will benefit from some of the new exemptions. In an era of cut backs in public spending and reduced funding, public bodies are under pressure to get "more for less" and demonstrate savings and efficiencies. This has sometimes been at odds with some of the procedures that public bodies have had to follow to comply with EU procurement and frustrating for those bidding for such contracts as it can be costly and time intensive and has made it difficult for SMEs to infiltrate the public sector market.

Recognising that changes needed to be made, the main drivers behind the new Directive have been:

  • Giving public bodies more choice and flexibility in how they award public contracts;
  • Providing more certainty of when the rules do not apply (such as in-house and shared services exemptions, land transactions and contract changes);
  • Making the public contract market more accessible for bidders (especially SMEs) with more streamlined procurement and less "red tape"; and
  • Recognising and facilitating new delivery models such as employee led mutuals.

We are already advising and providing training sessions to clients on the benefits of the new changes and how to plan for them.  If this would be of interest to your organisation then please contact Helen Randall and/or Lucy Doran who would be happy to discuss it further with you.

A copy of the New Directive can be found here.


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