EU procurement rules – are you in or out?

23 January 2013
In or out of the European Union? That is the question David Cameron has promised to give the people of the UK the chance to answer. In a speech at Bloomberg HQ this morning, the Prime Minister said his party would put negotiating a better deal for Britain’s role in the EU, front and centre of its manifesto for 2015. If successful in winning a majority, it would then launch a referendum, simply asking should Britain be in or out of the EU. By extension, the referendum would also be asking whether or not EU procurement rules would continue to impact on UK buyers. I’ve written many words, and listened to many more, on how time-consuming, bureaucratic and impractical EU procurement regulations are, but I’d be interested to know - particularly from those who work in the public sector – whether you feel we would be better off by waving goodbye to them.

Before you do, I’d just like to share an excerpt from our story on yesterday’s Public Administration Select Committee hearing, and some of the evidence given by Colin Cram, managing director of consultancy Marc1.

“Overall, this country has benefited a great deal from the EU procurement directives,” he said, recalling the “truly appalling” state of public procurement 30 years ago with unfair competition and the “same old suppliers”. He said the regulations had bought discipline to the process and encouraged the recruitment of professional buyers. Cram also said that the EU regulations were being used as a “scapegoat for very poor practice”. So would buyers really be better off by abandoning the European rules?
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