General Procurement

Who am I? Central or Sub-Central Organisation? And why does it matter?

Contracting Authorities are divided into two types of organisations under both the 2014 EU Directive and 2015 UK Regulations. These are:

Central Government Authorities
Sub-Central Contracting Authorities

SO WHICH ARE YOU? AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO KNOW?

It is important to know which organisation you are because different rules apply to the two different types of organisations (discussed in more detail below).

Central Government Authorities

A public body is considered to be a “Central Government Authority” if they are a “Central Government Entity” as listed in the World Trade Organisation’s Government Procurement Agreement (WTO’s GPA). Due to the obligations of this international agreement the EU are not able to provide the same level of flexibility to these organisations.

How do you know if your organisation is a Central Government Authority?

This is ordinarily quite simple. Your first port of call is to check whether your organisation is listed under Schedule 1 of the 2015 UK Regulations. If your organisation is listed on this Schedule then you are a Central Government Authority.

When this can become slightly more complicated is when your organisation is a subsidiary of one of the organisations on this list. The Regulation clarifies this by stating that:

“Where an entity listed in this Schedule is succeeded by another entity, which is itself a contracting authority, the successor entity shall be deemed to be included in this Schedule.”

So if you are a subsidiary of an organisation on Schedule 1 then you would also be considered a Central Government Authority.

Sub-Central Contracting Authorities

All other public organisations would be considered to be Sub-Central Contracting Authorities.

SO NOW YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, WHAT DOES IT MATTER?

Thresholds

The thresholds for Central Government Authorities are set lower than that for Sub-Central Contracting Authorities. This means that more contracts published by Central Government Authorities are likely to be above threshold and subject to the full EU rules and regulations.

For more information on the current thresholds please see our colleague’s blog here.

For more information on the aggregation of contract values for the purposes of calculating whether the total value exceeds the thresholds please see this blog.

Minimum Timescales

When a notice is above the EU thresholds, and therefore subject to the full rules of the EU, this normally requires Contracting Authorities to allow long timescales before the return of tenders. This is no longer necessarily the case for Sub-Central Contracting Authorities. When a Sub-Central Contracting Authority is using the Restricted Procedure, Competitive Procedure with Negotiation or Innovation Partnership Procedure then they can set the second stage timescales (the timescales for the receipt of tenders) as low as 10 days and possibly lower if agreed by all suppliers they are inviting through to this stage.

For more information on the minimum timescales please see this blog.

Prior Information Notice (PIN) as a call for competition

Sub-Central Contracting Authorities now have the option to use a Prior Information Notice (PIN) as a call for competition when using the Restricted Procedure or Competitive Procedure with Negotiation. This option is not available to Central Government Authorities.

For more information on the use of a PIN as a call for competition please see our colleague’s blog here.

WHERE TO PUBLISH YOUR OPPORTUNITIES?

Both Central Government Authorities and Sub-Central Contracting Authorities are welcome to utilise the Millstream’s myTenders to create and publish fully compliant notices in the UK.

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