The upcoming reforms present an opportunity to empower procurement, drive greater value for businesses, and foster positive social and environmental change.
So, what can we anticipate from the impending changes to public procurement?
- The Bill aims to reduce the red tape associated with public procurement, signalling a significant decrease in the number of regulations from the current regime,
- Processes will be consolidated into fewer, simpler procedures,
- Transitioning from five to two processes (with a third that can be used in exceptional circumstances) will enhance forward planning and delivery. The new competitive procedure will provide contracting authorities with the flexibility to design procurement procedures tailored to business needs and market dynamics.
- Contracting authorities will have greater visibility over the performance of suppliers on other contracts and will be able to exclude them in some circumstances,
- Supported by a new, unified ‘debarment list,’ which names ‘excluded suppliers’ and which will promote consistency in the treatment of suppliers.
- A central digital platform for suppliers to input selection information once and make bidding less time-consuming,
- The introduction of an ‘Open’ Framework, which will provide for greater flexibility and opportunity.
Reporting and Transparency:
- There will be a heightened emphasis on achieving value for money, accompanied by more stringent measurements and reporting. Procurement teams will need to carefully consider processes, systems, and resources to meet these requirements,
- Contracting authorities are mandated to publish procurement data throughout the contract lifecycle. This involves introducing several new procurement notices and the requirement for a minimum of three Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to be defined pre-procurement and reported annually throughout the contract period,
- This increased transparency will enable suppliers to identify new bidding and collaboration opportunities and enable them to better plan their own resources and bidding priorities.
- The Bill’s primary objective is to make public procurement “simpler, quicker, and more efficient,” positioning contracting authorities to secure the best deal for taxpayers while removing barriers for small businesses,
- There is a clear emphasis on using procurement to drive wider social, environmental and other strategic priority benefits, through a National Procurement Policy Statement that will sit alongside the legislation and that will need to be taken into account by contracting authorities,
- The Bill introduces a duty on contracting authorities to consider the impact of the procurement on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and to minimise the barriers these entities might face in the market. Similar to the Social Value Act, contracting authorities will need to actively consider and record how they plan to achieve this in the procurement process,
- Pre-market engagement will play a much bigger role under the new legislative regime with a clear focus on ensuring meaningful engagement with suppliers pre-tendering and the requirement to justify where this does not take place.