Constructionline keeps an eye on EU policies and UK law to help you stay informed. Here’s the latest round-up of directives and regulations affecting procurement.
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Following their approval by the European Council in February, the new EU procurement directive will be transposed into national law by EU member states by 17 April 2016. The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 are aimed at making public procurement simpler, quicker and less costly for both buyers and suppliers across the EU.
The Cabinet Office’s draft Public Contracts Regulations spent four weeks at consultation stage recently, closing on 17 of October.
In its consultation document, UK Transposition of new EU Procurement Directives, the Government outlined how these changes may come into effect and how current procurement regulations could change as a result.
In regards to how this will affect the use of Constructionline as part of the procurement process, Constructionline’s Ganey Bond explained: “Registered suppliers will be able to qualify for work opportunities as simply as ever, and our registered buyers will continue to be confident that our system complies with the requirements of the new regulations.”
“EU member states have some optionality in choosing how to implement certain aspects of the directives,” Ganey added. “And these have been up for discussion within the UK public sector and its stakeholders.”
The cabinet office outlined in its draft implementation that it seeks to avoid “gold plating” the directive when transposing it into law, which means that any optional items under the directive may not be mandated in UK law. The Cabinet Office is intending to rely on policy guidance where it decides not to mandate.
Those under discussion include measures that the UK should take to ensure suppliers delivering public contracts comply with social, environment and labour-related obligations. Also under scrutiny are adjustments to the mandatory and discretionary reasons for exclusion. These are covered by Constructionline’s C3-QP1 and C3-QP2 pre-qualification questions.
Outlining the benefits of the new directives, Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude said: “We will seek to transpose these rules into UK law quickly, as the regulations will help British companies win business in other European countries.”
For England, Wales and Northern Ireland, regulations to comply with the directives could be transposed into national law by early 2015 (although some requirements will be introduced at a later date), well ahead of the EU’s deadline of April 2016. Scotland will continue to have its own regulations, which are also due to be implemented in 2015.
It is likely that the government’s new regulations will encourage buyers to break large contracts into smaller lots, or several projects of shorter duration, and cap turnover requirements for businesses at no larger than double the contract value.
In addition, the minimum timescales for response deadlines will be cut, helping to speed up simpler procurement, but buyers will still be able to choose longer timeframes if they feel necessary – making the process from bid stage to contract start date quicker where possible.