With no requirements to comply with EU directives for public procurement, the UK Government is able introduce changes to how they procure below threshold goods, works and services.
On 10 December 2020, the Cabinet Office published the Procurement Policy Note (PPN): Reserving Below Threshold Procurements – which outlines how central government buyers are encouraged to reserve low value tenders for Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs), and suppliers in specific geographical regions from 1 January 2021.
What does this mean for SMEs?
The introduction of this PPN is aimed at supporting SMEs by making more opportunities available to them, and increasing their chances of securing work with the public sector.
As part of its drive to level up the UK economy, the government is committed to tackling inequality and giving everyone across the country the opportunity to fulfil their potential. An economy with diverse, resilient and innovative supply markets provides the best environment to start and grow a business.Point 16. Procurement Policy Note – Reserving Below Threshold Procurements
There are two ways that buyers are advised to create tenders which favour SMEs:
Reserving them by supplier location – buyers are able to open tenders which can only be bid on by suppliers located in a specified geographical area. The scope of these tenders can be UK wide or narrowed down by county. Buyers will not be able specify individual nations of the UK.
Restricting the types of organisations that can bid for the work – buyers are able to specify that only SMEs and Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises (VCSEs) are eligible to bid for the work.
While the PPN applies to central government buyers, the wider public sector is “encouraged to apply the principles” outlined within – meaning as familiarity with these practices grows, so too will UK-led and SME specific opportunities.
The PPN does not apply to low value tenders involving any provision of goods into Northern Ireland – which remains subject to EU regulations under Northern Ireland Protocol, avoiding a hard border with the Republic of Ireland.
What are low value tenders?
Low value tenders are those which fall below specific thresholds, which have been identified to prevent discriminatory procurement practices. If buyers wish to reserve low value tenders, the current thresholds which tender values must fall below are:
Supplies & Services
< £122,976 ex VAT
< £4,733,252 ex VAT
The EU thresholds introduced on 1 January 2020 will remain in place until 1 January 2022. Future thresholds will be determined by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) – which the UK has been a member of since 1 January 2021.
How do I find low value tenders?
There are thousands of portals through which public bodies can publish their notices, and it would take a lot of time and effort to try and locate every opportunity relevant to your business.
Thankfully, Tenders Direct eliminates your need to search for tenders by collating every UK and ROI notice in one place, and alerts you to the tenders relevant to you. Our unique service ensures we are aware of every tender published, and allows us to guarantee that with Tenders Direct – you will never miss a tender again.
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See how our system works, and discover the opportunities available for business like yours.
In our last blog we outlined the challenge faced by suppliers when attempting to find suitable public sector contracts. Missing out on just one opportunity – particularly a framework agreement which can encompass many invitations to tender – is a nightmare scenario for any company. In this post we focus on how Tenders Direct prevents lucrative public work from passing our customers by.
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All businesses exist to overcome some sort of challenge on behalf of their clients. At Tenders Direct, we specialise in helping suppliers find – and win – public sector contracts. But aren’t public contract notices in the public domain? Surely this information is easy to find? Well, much like a needle in a haystack, relevant tenders for your business are out there but locating them is another matter.
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Low value tenders are those which aren’t published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) as they are below the EU threshold set at £122,976.
More information can be found about thresholds in our blog post, but what are the key benefits of low value tenders?
For SMEs and companies who have no experience of working in the public sector, low value tenders are a good starting point. Securing a few low value contracts allows smaller suppliers to build up a body of work that can help them go after high value OJEU notices in the future.
The five key benefits of low value tenders
Continue reading “Why we love low value tenders”
The North East of England is to benefit from new public sector business opportunities in the construction industry as leading e-tender service provider Millstream Associates attends local event.
Millstream Associates will be showcasing their flagship product Tenders Direct, at Constructionline’s North East Meet the Buyer event in Sedgefield, on Thursday 10th September 2015.
The construction industry accounts for 6.1% of the total economic output in the UK, worth £103bn and resulting in 2.10million jobs in 2014. The industry has experienced fluctuations in growth since the recession, but from 2013 Continue reading “Millstream Associates announce 14% rise in UK-wide Construction tenders”
If you have ever attempted to read the public procurement directives then you will know there are a number of regulations governing the advertising and award of public sector contracts.
Contracts that fall below the EC procurement thresholds are not subject to these directives. Below threshold contracts are subject to the rules and principles of the EC Treaty (including non-discrimination, equal treatment, transparency etc), and European Court of Justice case-law has indicated these contracts should be ‘sufficiently’ advertised. However, aside from these rather ambiguous guidelines, there are no real rules regulating these contracts.
OJEU tenders are required to follow specific regulations on timescales to allow suppliers adequate time to respond to tenders, not usually less than 22 days. Below threshold tenders, however, often have much tighter deadlines. To make this situation worse, below threshold contracts are found in literally hundreds of places, including websites, local and national newspapers, and trade journals, meaning that they cannot always be identified as soon as they are advertised.
It is therefore particularly important to respond to these contracts as soon as possible. In fact, regardless of whether it is a below threshold or OJEU tender, it is advisable to make initial contact with the awarding authority as early as possible. This can only increase the time you have to prepare your bid or Pre-Qualification Questionnaire. It also means that the authority should keep you informed of any changes or further information relating to the tender. Responding to the tender notice does not bind you to bidding for the contract, but if you miss the deadline, then you have missed your opportunity. As the old saying goes “you snooze, you lose!”