Parliament introduces new Procurement Bill
Legislation which will create a simpler and more flexible system for public procurement has been announced in the Queen’s Speech and is set to come into force next year.
The Government has published the Procurement Bill 2022 in the House of Lords – legislation designed to open public procurement to new entrants such as social enterprises, allowing them to compete for, and win, more public contracts; embed transparency throughout the commercial lifecycle so public spending can be properly scrutinised, and simplify the system.
The bill is the culmination of more than two years of policy development which has included views and contributions from across the procurement industry, including NOE CPC.
The input included a consultation on the government’s Green Paper, which attracted more than 600 responses, plus workshops, seminars and discussions on the detail of the bill.
The Government hopes the new bill will make the procurement regime simpler and significantly more transparent, bringing in a new way of working that reduces costs for business and the public sector alike.
It envisages it will unleash the potential for innovation in public service delivery and offer greater scope to support important local and national policy priorities.
The bill is designed to give public sector buyers more freedom and flexibility: encouraging innovative new approaches, negotiating and collaborating more with suppliers, and designing the buying process to meet the needs of their specific procurement.
It is anticipated the bill will make it easier to do business with the public sector, as buyers will only have to give their core credentials once on a single platform – helping organisations of all sizes to find information in one place and give greater opportunity for new suppliers to bid for and win public sector contracts.
The bill will take several months to complete its passage through Parliament and, following Royal Assent, there will then need to be secondary legislation made to bring some elements of the bill and the wider regime into effect.
Whilst the bill represents the backbone of the new regime, some of the detail of how the new regime will work – for example the transparency platform – will be specified in this secondary legislation and in guidance that we will continue to develop as the bill makes its passage through Parliament. The bill is not expected to come into force until 2023.
The text of the bill and other accompanying documentation, including the explanatory notes, are available at the Parliamentary website here.
There is a dedicated web page on the government website here which will continue to be updated as the programme develops.
There will be six months’ notice before the new legislation goes live. The existing legislation will apply until the new regime goes live and will continue to apply to procurements that began under the current rules. Guidance will be provided to cover the transition period from the current regulations to the new act.