Politics of Procurement

Cabinet Office consultation on public contracts

In December 2010 the Cabinet Office invited feedback on the effectiveness of the public procurement rules. The purpose of that exercise was to inform the UK’s involvement in the ongoing review of the rules by the European Commission.

The Commission’s review is still underway, and it has now released a formal public consultation paper to which the Cabinet Office is preparing a UK response. Since the Commission’s recent consultation paper is substantially more detailed than the information previously provided by the Cabinet Office, they have extended the deadline for comments until 25th February.

Background

On 27 January 2011, the European Commission launched a consultation paper to take forward the process of modernising the EU public procurement rules. The Commission’s press release makes clear that it aims to make life easier for public authorities and bidders across Europe. The Commission expects to focus on providing smaller firms with access to contract opportunities, reducing red-tape and promoting cross-border procurement. The consultation is open to any interested parties, and will inform a Commission proposal for revised procurement rules due to be announced in the course of 2012.

The Cabinet Office is leading on the UK’s engagement in the EU review. The Government’s current view is that the public procurement regime needs to be radically simplified to reduce red tape and improve value for money. Cabinet Office is currently seeking feedback from UK stakeholders on the specific changes this will be used to inform a UK-wide response.

Please direct your response and any general enquiries to the OGC Service Desk: 0845 000 4999, Email: ogcservicedesk@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk

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