What are framework agreements?
Frameworks are “umbrella agreements” that sets out the terms – particularly relating to price, quality and quantity – under which individual contracts (call-offs) can be awarded throughout the period of the agreement (normally a maximum of 4 years). They are typically used when the buyer(s) identify a need for specific products or services but are unsure of the scope or time-frame.
Continue reading “Framework Agreements: What You Need to Know”
After months of campaigning, debates and opinion polls the people have spoken and decided that Britain should leave the European Union. Once the dust has settled on the result the long and arduous task of the Government negotiating an exit will begin.
One of the key questions coming out of this result is: will the UK retain access to the Single Market, through membership of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)? This is what Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland have done but it remains to be seen whether the UK will decide to pursue this option as it will require us to contribute to the EU budget, accept the free movement of EU citizens and to implement European legislation relating to the Single Market. The obligations are very similar to those required of full EU members, but without representation on any of the decision making bodies. It is also doubtful whether the EU will agree to UK membership of EFTA.
Continue reading “Millstream reaction to Brexit vote”
The recent changes in the public procurement regulations have resulted in greater clarity concerning the rules on social and environmental aspects.
Social aspects can now also be taken into account in certain circumstances (in addition to environmental aspects which have previously been allowed)
In practice this could mean including specifications for design work to contain accessibility for people with disabilities, compliance with applicable social legislation such as current employment law and adherence to labour law obligations. (Regulation 42).
Environmental aspects are already considered in the majority of tenders and usually focus on expected environmental performance levels, sustainability issues and any applicable environmental legislation
Buyers will now be able to reserve procurement procedures to encourage social inclusion Continue reading “Social and environmental factors in the new regulations – How will they impact buyers?”
Under the new regulations there has been a change in the way a Prior Information Notice (PIN) can be used by sub-central contracting authorities in the restricted procedure and this blog will take a look at the change and what impact it has on this procedure.
In short a PIN can now be used, by sub-central contracting authorities, as a means of calling for competition in place of a contract notice (Regulation 28) and can also be used in place of a PQQ stage with selected suppliers being taken straight to the tendering stage. This is in addition to the traditional use of a PIN which is to notify the market of a possible opportunity so, under the new regulations, the PIN has a dual function. If the PIN is being used as a call to competition it must contain the information outlined in Annex V Part B I and II in the 2014 Procurement Directive. In summary the PIN must contain standard information such as: Continue reading “Public Contract Regulations 2015: The use of PINs in the restricted procedure”
Under the new regulations ‘Part B services’ have been abolished and replaced with the new ‘light touch regime’. Below we cover what the new rules are, what has changed and whether this is a change for the better.
Part B Services: What were the rules?
Under the previous regulations all services were split into two – Part A and Part B. All services fell into one of 27 service categories – service categories 1-16 were Part A and subject to the full procurement regulations whereas service categories 17-27 were Part B and were essentially exempt from the rules (although an award notice was required). The service category that the service fell under was determined by the CPV codes. The purpose of this was to exempt services which were considered to not have cross border interest from the strict EU publication rules. Services are considered to not have cross border interest when it is unlikely that a service provider in one country can (or will be willing to) provide their service in a different country – for example, hotel services or legal service.
However, part B was occasionally taken advantage of and notices that did have cross border interest were incorrectly excluded from the rules. This was often due to the use of service category 27 which was “Other services” and covered any service that did not fall into the CPV codes listed under any of the other, more specific, service categories 1-26.
Light Touch Regime: What now?
When reviewing the legislation it was deemed that services with no cross border interest do still need to be treated differently however, much discussion took place to determine WHICH services were to be considered to not have cross border interest and WHAT the rules would be. Continue reading “‘Part B Services’ verses ‘Light Touch Regime’”
Following on from our recent blog regarding the changes to the PQQ stage in the new 2015 Procurement Regulations we are going to look at what has changed at the ITT stage and what suppliers need to be aware of when tendering to the public sector.
The most important changes to the ITT stage for suppliers are:
1) There is now greater clarity regarding the rules on social and environmental aspects being taken into account in tenders meaning that:
- social aspects can now also be taken into account in certain circumstances (in addition to environmental aspects which have previously been allowed);
- contracting authorities can require certification/labels or other equivalent evidence of social/environmental characteristics, further facilitating procurement of contracts with social/environmental objectives;
- contracting authorities can refer to factors directly linked to the production process.
The caveat to this is that any factors taken into account must be reasonably achievable for all suppliers so as not to favour larger companies or specific methodologies. We would encourage suppliers to keep a check on your key buyers to see what policies they have in these areas and how they are likely to implement these new rules. For example do they have a big drive on apprenticeships or carbon emissions you could support them on? In general it would be a good idea to start gathering data, case studies and evidence of your company’s positive social and environmental impacts to use in your responses going forward as the level of detail asked for in these questions is only going to increase.
2) Full life-cycle costing can be taken into account when awarding contracts; this could encourage more sustainable and/or better value procurement which will hopefully save money for tax payers in the long term. Continue reading “2015 Procurement Regulations – Changes to the ITT stage – What Suppliers Need to Know.”
The official public contracts regulations which govern UK public sector procurement have been published and are coming in to force on the 26th February 2015.
One of the main aims of the regulations and their precursor strategies ( such as Europe 2020 and the Lord Young report) was to encourage more participation from SME companies in tendering exercises and ultimately to get more SMEs supplying to the public sector.
The current government set the lofty target of 25% of government spend going to SMEs by 2015, a target which is a long way from being met so the key questions for organisations looking to supply into the public sector in light of the new regulations are 1) What has changed? and, more importantly, 2) What does this actually mean for me?
What has changed?
Some of the more significant changes in the new regulations are:
- Tendering documents have to be available from the date of OJEU advertisement – no more registering interest and chasing for updates from the contracting authority.
- Reduced timescales for procurement – on average they have reduced timeframes by a third and have introduced the new Accelerated Open procedure for OJEU tenders and have prohibited the use of a PQQ stage for low value contracts.
Continue reading “New 2015 Procurement Regulations – Will SMEs benefit from the changes?”
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.
Continue reading “Cabinet Office consultation on public contracts”
A survey by the Local Government Association published this week has revealed. Although only a small pool, the result is interesting as it makes you wonder if this is a common trend across government. Only 36% of respondents believe that the EU Remedies Directive has led to more efficient and effective procurement practices.
The Remedies Directive aims to strengthen the hand of losing suppliers to challenge contracts under the OJEU. It highlights steps suppliers can take to challenge the award of a public contract. A key change is the remedy of “ineffectiveness” which gives courts the powers to scrap a contract in particular circumstances including, if it has not been advertised, the “standstill” period has been ignored or if the rules governing a framework agreement have been broken.
Public procurement accounts for roughly 17% of the European Union’s GDP. In times of tight budgets and economic difficulties in many Member States, public procurement policy must ensure the most efficient use of public funds, with a view to supporting growth and job creation. This would require flexible and user-friendly tools that make transparent and competitive contract awards as easy as possible for European public authorities and their suppliers. With these objectives in mind, the European Commission has launched a consultation which will focus on the modernisation of the rules, tools and methods for public procurement. The deadline for responses to the Green Paper is 18 April 2011.
Continue reading “Modernisation of the European Public Procurement Market”