Tag: ppn

Improved public sector opportunities for SMEs

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

Works
< £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.  


Top 5 bid writing mistakes  
You’ll want to avoid these mistakes to take full advantage of these SME specific opportunities. 

Request a free demo 
See how our system works, and discover the opportunities available for business like yours.

Brexit and Public Procurement 
Read about the other changes introduced with Brexit’s conclusion on 1 January 2021.

Reserving Below Threshold Procurements 
View the full policy procurement note on GOV.UK 

Public Sector Round-Up 25.09.20

In the news this week: a new PPN puts a focus on social value, £80m boost to towns across England, and £8.7m to introduce digital records and e-prescribing capabilities to seven NHS trusts.
Our top OJEU notices for the week feature a 3 year kitchen and bathroom installation contract in Birmingham, a building materials and associated services framework in Preston, and a framework for information technology services in Chester.
Our stand out PIN this week is a £670,000,000 Building Safety and Compliance Framework from Fusion 21.
This week we saw 887 notices published across the UK, with 678 of those being low value opportunities.


UK tenders update

887

678

279

Total UK NoticesLow-Value NoticesOJEU Notices
Tender notices published in the UK between 18.09.20 & 24.09.20

887 notices were published between 18.09.20 and 24.09.20.
As of 25.09.20, there are over 3800 live notices across all industries on Tender Direct.
If you would like more information about the types of opportunities available for your business, we would be happy to provide you with a free Market Overview.


In the news this week

Procurement Policy Note – Taking Account of Social Value in the Award of Central Government Contracts
If you are looking to win public sector work, you could soon have to make it clearer in your proposals how you plan to help the government deliver its social value priorities. A newly released PPN introduces requirements, from 1 January 2021, for Central Government buyers to evaluate their procurements and ensure they provide a significant level of social value. The 5 key pillars for evaluating social value are: COVID-19 recovery, Tackling economic inequality, Fighting climate change, Equal opportunity, and Wellbeing.

£80 million boost to towns across England
Over 100 towns across England will be be given up to £1m to support projects that will make a difference in the area. Projects highlighted include new green spaces, businesses spaces, greater pedestrianisation, and new community hubs to support those living alone.

Digital prescribing and records introduction boosted by funding
The government have announced £8.7m funding, across seven hospital trusts, to introduce digital records and e-prescribing capabilities. 130 NHS trusts already have similar systems, and as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, over £78m will be invested in introducing electronic prescribing systems across the NHS.


Stand out prior information notices

£670,000,000 Fusion21 Building Safety and Compliance Framework
The framework is intended to support public sector organisations in managing the safety and compliance of their buildings. Included within the 12 lots are opportunities for £120m worth of fire safety consultancy and £80m for electrical testing.
View full prior information notice HERE



Would you like some help with developing your bid strategies? We have a free webinar coming up on the 30th of September that can help. Our webinar starts at 1pm and will last 45 min – register here.


Top OJEU contract award notices

Title: United Kingdom-Birmingham: Installation of fitted kitchens
Short description: To deliver kitchen and bathroom installations to include the supply of bathrooms and any associated works. This contract will be for a 3 year duration with an option to extend annually for a maximum period of 24 months. 
Published By: Midland Heart Ltd
Date Published: 23 September 2020
Framework/DPS: No
Value excluding VAT: £24,000,000.00
Number of tenders received: 6 (of which were SMEs: 1)
Contractors: Woodland Property Services | J Tomlinson Ltd | Lovell Partnerships Ltd
View full award notice with your Tenders Direct login HERE

Title: United Kingdom-Preston: Construction materials and associated items
Short description: Contract for building materials and associated services, providing high quality services using a customer focused approach particularly in the public sector to create an end to end building materials framework. 
Published By: Places for People Group Ltd
Date Published: 21 September 2020
Framework/DPS: Yes
Value excluding VAT: £200,000,000.00
Number of tenders received: 2
Contractors: Travis Perkins Trading Company Ltd
View full award notice with your Tenders Direct login HERE

Title: United Kingdom-Chester: Information technology services
Short description: A national framework agreement for the provision of a secure managed service of technology assets to public sector organisations.
Published by: Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Date Published: 18 September 2020
Framework/DPS: Yes
Value excluding VAT: £5,000,000.00
Number of tenders received: 1
Contractors: Clares Office Supplies Ltd
View full award notice with your Tenders Direct login
HERE


Tenders Direct is the UK’s most accurate tender alert service. We are the only service to guarantee that with us – you’ll never miss a tender.
Visit www.tendersdirect.co.uk to find out more.

Changes to procurement policy: Use of Procurement Cards

The Government has been very responsive in making changes to procurement policy to help protect suppliers, their workforce and their supply chains during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their latest PPN: Use of Procurement Cards, is aimed at maintaining cashflow to suppliers, while also ensuring the public sector is able to access goods and services quickly.

What has been introduced with this PPN?
Procurement Cards are being highlighted as the preferred method for purchasing goods and services, and the key points from this document are:

  • Single transaction limit increased to £20,000 for key card holders
  • Monthly limit on procurement card spend set to £100,000
  • Monthly procurement card spend in excess of £100,000 is permissible to meet business needs.
  • Opening up of more purchase categories providing access to a greater range of goods and services.
  • Above points apply to all Central Government Departments, their Executive Agencies and Non Departmental Public Bodies.
  • Effective immediately as of 6 April 2020

What are procurement cards?
Procurement Cards are essentially charge cards used to purchase goods and services directly. These cards allow for instant payment and avoid the need to go through any forms of purchasing processes.

What is the benefit of using Procurement Cards?
The instant transactions are the major benefit to suppliers, receiving prompt will help them to protect their business, their employees and their supply chains.

By making Procurement cards the preferred payment method and increasing their spending limits, the Government is helping contracting authorities follow the instructions set out in previous PPN: Supplier relief due to COVID-19 – which focuses on prompt payment to support businesses and protect jobs during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Where can I view the full PPN: Use of Procurement Cards?
Click here to read the full PPN on GOV.uk


Changes to procurement policy: Supplier relief due to COVID-19

Businesses of all sizes are feeling the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and on March 20th the Cabinet Office issued reassurance to suppliers with the Procurement Policy Note: Supplier relief due to COVID-19. The document serves as guidance for public sector bodies on protecting suppliers, their workforce and supply chains, helping to ensure service continuity now and into the future. 

The policy changes have been put in place with immediate effect until 30 June 2020, and the key actions are:

  • Urgent review of contract portfolio and inform suppliers who they believe are at risk that they will continue to be paid as normal (even if service delivery is disrupted or temporarily suspended) until at least the end of June.
  • Put in place the most appropriate payment measures to support supplier cash flow; this might include a range of approaches such as forward ordering, payment in advance/prepayment, interim payments and payment on order (not receipt). 
  • If the contract involves payment by results then payment should be on the basis of previous invoices, for example the average monthly payment over the previous three months. 
  • Ensure invoices submitted by suppliers are paid immediately on receipt (reconciliation can take place in slower time) in order to maintain cash flow in the supply chain and protect jobs.  
  • To qualify, suppliers should agree to act on an open book basis and make cost data available to the contracting authority during this period. They should continue to pay employees and flow down funding to their subcontractors. 

As a supplier, the final point highlights that during this period, you will need to work collaboratively and ensure there is full transparency and operate on an ‘open book’ basis. This means you should share data if requested, to demonstrate the payments you receive have been used in the manner intended.  

The PPN provides full details of how public sector bodies are to respond to issues that will affect contract delivery and are a direct result of COVID-19.

Click here to read the full PPN on GOV.uk

Changes to procurement policy: Responding to Covid-19

On March 18th, the government acknowledged the strain on the public sector by making changes to procurement policy, and ensuring resources can be sourced as a matter of urgency.

These policy changes allow for the following:

  1. direct award due to extreme urgency;
  2. direct award due to absence of competition or protection of exclusive rights;
  3. call off from an existing framework agreement or dynamic purchasing system;
  4. call for competition using a standard procedure with accelerated timescales;
  5. extending or modifying a contract during its term.

What does this mean for suppliers?

If buyers can demonstrate that they have an ‘extreme urgency’ for goods, services or works, and/or there are no other suitable suppliers, they can enter into contracts without competing or advertising as long as they have satisfied several criteria categories. On top of this, buyers also have the ability to make changes or extend existing agreements.

For accelerated timescales, you will have to pay very close attention to tender notices:

  • Check your tender alerts thoroughly.
  • Make sure you have the people and resources needed to complete your bid.
  • Ensure your pricing strategy works for your business.
  • Check you have addressed all the key criteria.  

For suppliers providing ‘non-urgent’ goods and services

Despite uncertainty with other industries, the public sector will always have a requirement for goods and services. In the last week, the number of tender notices published for the UK was 1613, which is not far off the weekly average of 1664 seen in 2019. Looking across the UK, ROI and EU, there are around 25,000 live notices.

There is reassurance in knowing that there is still a drive to maintain normality during such unprecedented circumstances. We will be keeping a close eye on these figures and letting you know if there are significant changes and providing you with more insight into the sectors that may be affected.


We hope your workplace has not been affected too dramatically by the unprecedented situations caused by COVID-19.

Wishing you the best of health.


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