Last week the Procurement Bill had its second reading in Parliament. It’s the biggest reform to the procurement process in a generation and one of its main objectives is to make it easier for SMEs to do business with the public sector.
Cabinet Office have released their latest paper outlining 7 key benefits the new regulations offer to prospective suppliers. We’ve listed them below but you’re able to access the full paper here – The Procurement Bill – Benefits for Prospective Suppliers to the Public Sector (publishing.service.gov.uk).
The 7 key benefits include –
- Publishing pipelines – this is now a legislative requirement – Large contracting authorities will need to publish their pipeline of opportunities over £2m at least 18 months in advance. This means that suppliers will now have visibility of these in advance, with more time to prepare for tender and delivery.
- Clearer rules around pre-market engagement – The Bill will put clearer rules in place so that contracting authorities can publish notices and better engage with new entrants and existing suppliers.
- Centralised platform with clear Invitations to Tender – The Bill focuses heavily on transparency in order to support new entrants to the market. CA’s will now publish tenders on a centralised platform with all the key information required for potential suppliers to bid.
- A new supplier registration system with a “tell us once” approach – This new system will mean suppliers will sign up to a single centralised portal and submit their information once, rather than entering the same details on several different systems dependant on the tender.
- A new Competitive Flexible procedure for complex, high-tech or innovative solutions – The new procedure will allow Contracting Authorities to design their own process which allows them to draw on the strengths of a new specialist entrant to the market. This won’t be applicable for every area of spend however, and contracting authorities are still able to use an open procedure.
- Assessment summaries for unsuccessful bids – Unsuccessful bidders will receive an assessment summary which will show suppliers directly how they compared to the winner. This will promote organisational development and support new entrants.
- Legislation will now extend beyond award – to support contract management – 30 day payment terms will apply throughout the supply chain – regardless of whether they are written into the contract. Main contractors working with sub-contractors will also be required to follow this rule.
We caught up with Liam Cochrane, our Senior Procurement Partner on his thoughts on their latest update –
“The latest update to the Procurement Reform Bill demonstrates the Cabinets Office commitment to improving the tendering and contracting process for Public Sector suppliers, including SMEs and new entrants to the market.
The requirement for larger Contracting Authorities to publish a pipeline and the introduction of more defined Pre-market engagement will ensure suppliers have sufficient notice in order to plan and prepare for tenders.
The centralised tender notice platform and ‘tell us once’ supplier registration portal will reduce the administration burden and make finding tenders to bid for more efficient for suppliers.
Revised procurement routes, including the new Competitive Flexible procedure and the enhanced ‘Dynamic Marketplace’ tool, will look to improve the accessibility and routes to market for bidders and contracting authorities.
Finally, more defined feedback in the form of an assessment summary for unsuccessful suppliers will ensure bidders can understand how to improve their tender submissions going forward
Overall, the Reform Bill will make it easier for suppliers to bid for public contracts, improving transparency and accessibility for all.”
We’ll be providing updates to our Procurement Reform webpage regularly as things evolve – Latest Updates on UK Procurement Reform – SouthEastConsortium
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