Welsh government to use new powers to regulate public procurement

Paul Snell is managing editor at Supply Management
17 August 2015

Welsh public sector organisations will soon need to appoint a ‘community benefits champion’ under new regulatory powers that came into force in the country last week.

Public bodies will also need to apply a measurement tool to all deals worth more than £1 million – down from £2 million – as a minimum, and the government will provide a community benefits policy.

This follows the revision of the Welsh Procurement Policy Statement in June. The policy sets out how the devolved government expects public purchasing to be delivered.

Powers that will allow the Welsh government to regulate public procurement were granted by the UK government and came into force on 14 August. Community benefits will be one of the first areas where the powers will be used. Welsh minister for finance and government business Jane Hutt tweeted: “These new powers will be instrumental in strengthening the adoption of our refreshed Procurement Policy Statement.”

The first Procurement Policy Statement was published in December 2012 and set out nine principles for the public sector to adopt.

The revised statement includes an additional principle on policy development and implementation, which explains how the government anticipates procurement can support the seven well-being goals set out in the Future Generations (Wales) Act, which was passed earlier this year.

Public sector organisations will also need to complete an annual report to the government on how they engage with the statement. And purchasers will be incentivised to continue their professional development under CIPS’ ‘licence to practise’ and the CIPS ethics test. The government also intends to publish new guidance for the public sector on ethical procurement.

“I would expect to see procurement treated with the respect it deserves, with organisations acknowledging the economic benefit it delivers, and recognising procurement at board level,” Hutt said.

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