Public buyers must use OJEU alternative in no-deal Brexit

25 January 2019

Public procurement professionals have been told that in the event of a no-deal Brexit they will need to publish contract information on a new UK e-notification service instead of Tenders Electronic Daily (TED).

In official guidance, the Cabinet Office said public bodies may no longer have access to the Official Journal of the EU (OJEU) but they will still have “a legal obligation to publish public procurement information”.

“The current regulations will be amended to ensure they remain operable and functional on exit,” said the guidance.

“The majority of the procurement regulations and in particular the different procedures available to contracting authorities and entities, will remain exactly the same. The key difference for contracting authorities would be the need to send notices to a new UK e-notification service instead of the EU Publications Office.”

The guidance said the government would be amending current leglislation to “instead require UK contracting authorities to publish public procurement notices to a new UK e-notification service”.

“The new UK e-notification service will be ready for use by exit day,” said the report.

The requirement to advertise in Contracts Finder, MoD Defence Contracts Online, Public Contracts Scotland, Sell2Wales and eTendersNI will remain unchanged.

Aside from that, it says public procurement regulations will remain unchanged after an EU exit, currently scheduled for 11pm on 29 March.

Suppliers wishing to access UK contract opportunities from the UK public-sector will also need to access the new UK e-notification service instead of TED.

Meanwhile, suppliers who wish to access contract opportunities from the EU may continue to do so via OJEU/TED.

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, the public procurement regulations will remain broadly unchanged during the implementation period, which runs until December 2020.

CIPS said the guidance was to be welcomed. “Our Brexit research last year found the public sector struggling to make any headway in Brexit preparations with almost half unable to prepare due to the continuing uncertainty,” said a spokeswoman. “This lack of clarity to enable forward planning has been the biggest block to managing supply chains, so any guidance for any eventuality is to be welcomed.

“Early in 2018, 40% were still hanging back and performing risk analyses and almost a quarter (23%) were strengthening relationships with their European suppliers. Procurement teams were making themselves accountable in safeguarding their supplies should the uncertainty continue or the negotiations result in a hard Brexit. As we get closer to the March deadline, useful guidance and shared knowledge means that whatever the result, supply chains will remain robust and effective for UK citizens.”

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