• Some of the changes that you as a supplier need to be aware of when bidding for public sector contracts are:

    • The Regulations prohibit the use of a PQQ stage for contracts below £25,000 (£10,000 for central government) – this should make it easier for SMEs to participate.
    • All contracts with a value estimated to be greater than £25,000 (£10,000 for central government) have to be advertised on Contracts Finder.
    • Above the relevant OJEU thresholds, there are now altered and new procedures for Contracting Authorities (CAs) to use. In particular, the ‘Innovation Partnerships’ procedure offers a real alternative. The aim of the innovation partnerships procedure is to enable both the development and purchase of an ‘innovative’ work, service or product from the same supplier. Proposals would be submitted during the competitive process and then the ‘innovative’ solution would be developed after the award of the contract. This gives much more flexibility than the competitive dialogue procedure where discussions have to continue with bidders until the CA decides on the final solution that it wishes to tender for. We know that CAs are looking to work with the private sector to commercialise new products and services – this is potentially a great opportunity for CAs and suppliers to explore.
    • Suppliers will now give self-declarations and only the winning bidder will have to prove their status. It is hoped the UK will adopt the European Single Procurement Document (covering most of the standard PQQ questions) and suppliers will then hopefully be able to re-use the same form – saving time and money.
    • A turnover cap has been introduced to help SME participation. Unless there is specific justification, CAs will not be able to set turnover requirements at more than two times the contract value. If there is a turnover requirement of more than two times the contract value, then ask why.
    • CAs can now take in to account full life-cycle costs.
    • CAs will have the power to ask for and evaluate evidence of social/environmental characteristics. So make sure your policies are in order in these areas and start collecting data and evidence of your company’s positive impacts to use in bids.
    • Relevant skills and experience of individual staff members can be taken into account at the award stage, where it is relevant.

    We are working with suppliers, service providers and contractors to help them understand the new Regulations and how to get the best out of them.

    To summarise – key changes

    • the abolishment of Part A and Part B services (replaced by the new ‘light touch regime’)
    • preparation of all documents before advertisement
    • timescales
    • changes to what can be used as selection and award criteria
    • MEAT
    • procedures available; and
    • when a contract can be changed.

    The implementation of the new light touch regime for health services has been delayed until April 2016 for CCGs and NHS England – however, commissioners can potentially still take advantage of some of the more helpful and flexible aspects of the new regime. When procuring supplies, works and non-healthcare services, CCGs and NHS England will need to comply with the new regime.

    Can we help?

    Take a look at our Commercial Law page for useful information, resources, guidance, details of our team and how we may be able to help you

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