FCN members have asked the team how UK procurement regulations may change when the country leaves the EU. Barbara Smedley, FCN’s Senior Commercial Manager, shares the answer below.
On completion of the transition phase from the EU on the 1st January 2021, the UK procurement regulations will continue to operate as we are used to, with some minor changes. This will be the case whether the UK agrees a trade deal or if there is ‘no deal’.
The UK government has taken steps to maintain the UK’s membership of the World Trade Organisation’s Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA).
Prior to the transition phase, the government made two Statutory Instruments (SI):
- the Public Procurement (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 and
- the Public Procurement (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations 2019.
These regulations amended UK procurement law to ensure that it continues to operate effectively in the period on the transition day and beyond.
The key practical difference is that contracting authorities would publish information about contract opportunities to a new UK e-notifications service instead of going through the EU official channel. Procurement professionals will still use their current portals such as Bluelight Procurement Database (BLPD) where the portals will send the notifications on your behalf to the UK e-notification centre and Contracts Finder.
The new UK service will be made available 1st January 2021 and is called Find a Tender (FTS). The requirements to advertise tenders remain unchanged. Also, suppliers wishing to access public sector contract opportunities would be able to use the FTS service.
Any changes to UK procurement law will need to follow government consultation with a draft Bill and final Act of Parliament before becoming UK law.
FCN's team will continue to monitor and advise on any further changes and any consultation on future changes to UK procurement law.
Helping forensic service providers get ready
Following on from a previous Brexit review earlier this year, FCN’s team will be re-engaging with forensic service providers (FSPs) directly, in readiness for the end of the EU transition phase on the 1st January 2021.
With FSPs responding to FCN's team directly, this will allow a standard comprehensive list of questions to be asked and updates to the business continuity plans from the FSPs, which will streamline communications channels.
A report will be produced and shared in due course with FCN member forces highlighting the FSPs contacted, measures in place and assessment of any risks, with mitigations.
More information is available from GOV.UK on public sector procurement after a no-deal Brexit and access for British businesses to global procurement contracts.