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15 May 2014 | Will Green
It will be a “significant challenge” to transpose the new EU procurement rules into UK law within a year, a conference was told.
Ed Green, deputy director of EU and domestic procurement policy in the Crown Commercial Service, said the government wanted to implement the rules ahead of the two-year window allowed under EU law but it would take time to draft new regulations and consult on them.
Speaking at The Public Sector Show 2014, he said: “Although we have a two-year deadline, we want to transpose significantly more quickly than that. Ideally within a year, but it is a significant challenge in terms of draft regulations, consultation and embedding.”
Green said 200 free face-to-face sessions would take place in June across the UK where up to 6,000 people could get advice on the new rules, and an e-learning course had a 60,000 capacity. “There are still spaces left,” he said. A public consultation on the draft regulations is due to take place over the summer.
He added the European Commission had given assurances the financial thresholds at which the rules kick in would be reviewed by 2019.
“The Commission has a binding commitment to review the financial thresholds within three years of the transposition deadline,” he said.
The new rules include protection for new mutuals from full EU-wide competition, to allow them to become established, and they allow new suppliers to join existing frameworks, said Green.
He said EU procurement rules had been around since the 1970s and the current ones dated from 2004.
“There have been a lot of calls for those rules to be simplified, particularly in light of the financial crisis, and for them to support growth and SMEs,” he said.
“Procurement has been a particular focus of this government. It has had a focus on commercial and procurement reform and simplifying processes.”