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1 August 2013 | Will Green
The Cabinet Office has announced it is preparing “ambitious plans” to make the most of reforms to EU procurement rules.
Talks between the EU Council, Commission and Parliament concluded in July concerning a package of three directives covering the public sector, utilities and procedural rules.
The EU is expected to officially adopt the directives in the autumn, subject to MEPs’ approval.
A Procurement Policy Note (PPN) published by the Cabinet Office urges public sector bodies to “apply the advice” to “ensure a smooth transition”.
“Cabinet Office is preparing ambitious plans for early transposition, so that the UK can take advantage of the additional flexibilities in the new rules as soon as possible,” said the PPN.
“These rules would only bite on new procurement exercises commenced after the date when the new UK rules take effect. A blended learning package will be developed to support the changeover.”
The directives offer a boost to SME suppliers, a simplified process for assessing suppliers, more freedom to negotiate, safeguards from corruption and improved rules on social and environmental factors.
The PPN said: “These changes support UK government priorities of economic growth and deficit reduction by making the public procurement process faster, less costly, and more effective for business and procurers alike.
“For contracting authorities, this means being able to run procurement exercises faster, with less red tape, and more focus on getting the right supplier and the best tender. And for suppliers, the process of bidding for public contracts should be quicker, less costly, and less bureaucratic, enabling suppliers to compete more effectively.”