Time running out for guidance on EC directives before implementation

19 January 2006
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19 January 2006 | Rebecca Ellinor

With less than a fortnight before the implementation date for the EC procurement directives, buyers are still awaiting guidance on the new provisions.

The directives - 2004/18/EC and 2004/17/EC - cover public-sector and utilities contracts and are expected to come into force on 31 January. The former combines three previous directives on supplies, services and works.

The directives should simplify procedures and clarify existing rules, bringing them into line with purchasing technology.

The new provisions include details on framework agreements, competitive dialogue and e-auctions. The Office of Government Commerce is writing guidance on all areas.

An OGC spokesman said: "We are aiming to publish the guidance at the same time as the regulations come into force."

In the meantime, the OGC has made available some case studies based on the directive. Advice can also be found at www.bipsolutions.com/html/ecdirectives

Responses to an OGC consultation on the directives were published in December.

In total, 79 responses were received from interested parties in central government, local authorities, the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency, purchasing organisations, businesses, industry groups and more.

This results make amendments to some of the directives' language, answers questions and clarifies how some of the regulations will be interpreted.

The paper also acknowledges that more explanation is needed. One section states: "We recognise the need for guidance on competitive dialogue and intend to supply it before the regulations come into force."

SMjan2006

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