Procurement reforms pushed back to Spring 2024

United Kingdom

The Cabinet Office has issued its latest update on the UK Government’s Transforming Public Procurement Programme, including helpful information on the timeline for the “go-live” of the new regime.  The new regime, which we know will be the most significant change to procurement law and practice for a generation, is now due to come into effect in spring 2024.

While we are still expecting the Bill to receive Royal Assent later this spring, the Cabinet Office has clarified that the six month lead in period to the new regime taking effect should start after the final version of secondary legislation is laid in Parliament. There will be a consultation on the draft secondary legislation (regulations) before a final version can be laid in Parliament. This pushes out the anticipated “go live” date from the end of 2023 to spring 2024 “at the earliest”.

This update should give contracting authorities, utilities and suppliers some comfort that the content of the secondary legislation should be known in advance of the six month preparation period. The Bill itself is a complex piece of legislation. Much of the detail of the new regime will sit within the supporting regulations and statutory and non-statutory guidance. Procurement professionals within procuring authorities will need to get to grips with the new regime, not only to ensure procurement practices comply with the new laws, but also to take advantage of new flexibilities. Suppliers will need to understand the new regime to ensure they have the best chance of success when bidding.  The more certainty we have on the new regime during that preparation period, the better.

An updated draft of the Bill was published on 24 February. The Bill now returns to the floor of the House of Commons for its report stage, where the Bill can be debated and further amendments proposed.

As the Bill moves to the final stages of its passage through Parliament and closer to becoming law, we will be publishing a series of articles looking at some of the main features of the new regime and how it will impact key sectors in the UK.

In the meantime, please get in touch if we can help you prepare for the forthcoming changes.