Once the 2014 EU Procurement Directives came into force, the government prioritised the Public Contracts Directive for early implementation because it would deregulate and simplify the rules for where most procurement spend and activity takes place.
The changes enable buyers to run procurements faster, with less red tape, and with a greater focus on getting the right supplier and best tender in accordance with sound commercial practice. The implementation of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 took effect from 26 February 2015.
Above set financial thresholds, if you are buying supplies, services or works for central government, a non-ministerial department, executive agency, or non-departmental public body, you must follow the procedures laid down in the Public Contracts Regulations before awarding a contract to suppliers.
There are exceptions if you are buying for the defence and security sector, where requirements may be covered by the Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations (DSPCR) 2011.
Procurement for wider public sector bodies, such as local government, health and education, is also subject to the Public Contracts Regulations. However, the threshold contract values for goods and services is higher as explained in Procurement Policy Note 18/15.
The UK regulations also include some specific UK rules to support growth by improving suppliers’ access to public contracts below the EU thresholds (“sub-threshold contracts”). These rules include requirements for advertising all public contracts below the EU thresholds, but over certain other threshold values, on Contracts Finder.
They also include a requirement for contracting authorities to have regard to CCS guidance on the selection of suppliers and the award of contracts, and to ensure that suppliers pay their subcontractors within 30 days as is already required of contracting authorities.
CCS has published a handbook and policy specific guidance to help public sector buyers understand the new public contracts regulations.
There is also a free eLearning package available to public sector buyers which covers the main changes in the new directive.
To help raise awareness of the new EU Procurement Directives, CCS also arranged more than 200 face-to-face training sessions on the main changes in the directives for people working in the public sector. Read the training materials from these sessions.