Public Contracts Regulations: one year on

United Kingdom

This article was produced by Nabarro LLP, which joined CMS on 1 May 2017.

Summary and implications

12 months on from the introduction of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (the Regulations) and the additional flexibilities that they looked to introduce are now firmly embedded in our procurement regime.

The Regulations were introduced to make the procurement of goods and services from the public sector much more straightforward. As they approach their first anniversary, we reflect on how they have affected the public sector procurement process and whether they have had a positive or negative impact on the sector.

What is public procurement?

Public procurement is the process by which public sector organisations buy goods, works or services from third party suppliers. It can range from routine, day-to-day supplies, to complex spends such as large scale infrastructure, major IT or organisational change initiatives.

What impact have the Regulations had so far?

The Regulations benefit both public and private sector organisations in that they provide a more flexible and commercial approach to procurement. Many of our clients are subsequently reporting the benefits of those additional flexibilities including:

  • faster, less costly procurement processes;
  • more options, in terms of procurement procedures;
  • the benefits of applying higher financial thresholds for certain “light touch” services; and
  • greater promotion of innovation.

However, despite the positive changes delivered so far, many still view the procurement of public sector contracts as a complex process, both in terms of which procurement procedure to use and how that procedure is intended to work in practice. With this in mind, Nabarro has created Pathway to procurement: a clear guide through the maze of public procurement.

This guide summarises the new procedures and outlines when each procedure can or should be used and how it can be applied to secure maximum flexibility. This can benefit businesses by making public procurement faster, less costly and more efficient for both parties to a transaction. The guide is jargon-free and will help you identify the best procedure to maximise your procurement objectives.

If you would like further information on the guide or any aspects of public procurement, please contact Tim Shaw or Kuldip Dhanoya.