The Procurement Act 2023 ‘goes live’ on 28 October 2024

United Kingdom

The Government has announced that it is working towards a ‘go-live’ date for the new procurement regime of  28 October 2024. This marks the beginning of the six month preparation period for contracting authorities, utilities and suppliers to the public, utilities and defence sectors.

Guidance for transitional arrangements

On 22 April, the Cabinet Office published guidance for transitional arrangements.

The guidance sets out how the changeover from the previous legislation to the Procurement Act 2023 (the ‘Act’) should be managed and effected by contracting authorities, confirming the position that has been trailed by the Cabinet Office over the last few months.

Key points to note are as follows:

  • Procurements "commenced" on or after 28 October 2024 will be governed by the Act.
  • Procurements "commenced" before 28 October 2024 will continue to be governed by the previous legislation (i.e. The Public Contracts Regulations 2015, The Concession Contracts Regulations 2016, The Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016 or The Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011) until the contract ends.
  • Any modifications to contracts awarded under the  previous four sets of legislation will be subject to the rules in Regulation 72 (or equivalent), even where the modification is made after 28 October 2024. So the current legislation should not be thrown away just yet, as this also means obligations in the Act relating to contract management, including KPIs and publication of related notices, will not apply to contracts that were awarded under the previous legislation.
  • Framework Agreements, Dynamic Purchasing Systems and Qualification Systems that have been established under the previous legislation will continue to be governed by that legislation. Any Dynamic Purchasing System and Qualification System established under the previous legislation must come to an end as set out when they were established, or by 27 October 2028 (four years after the new regime comes into effect), whichever is earlier.
  • “Commenced” under the previous legislation generally means the publication of a contract notice. The position is slightly different for direct awards.

The countdown is on

For contracting authorities, utilities and suppliers to the public, utilities and defence sectors, now is the time to prepare. Our top tips are:

1. Familiarise yourself with the new rules contained in the Act and secondary legislation (which was laid before Parliament last month). The Cabinet Office has begun publishing detailed guidance on the Act and a full suite of guidance documents should be available by the end of June 2024.

2. Take advantage of the Cabinet Office’s free learning and development offer. Knowledge Drops have been available since December 2023 and can be accessed by all stakeholders. In addition, a 10 part series of e-learning modules targeted at the public sector was released on 23 April 2024.

Find out more

Please visit our Procurement Cube - CMS’ interactive Procurement Cube explores the Procurement Act through the lens of a number of key sectors: Defence, Energy & Utilities, Infrastructure, Life Sciences & Healthcare, Real Estate and TMT & Outsourcing, providing sector-specific insights and commentary from the team, as well as links to relevant legislation and guidance.