Sector Focus Bulletin

Editorial

Watts Sector Focus Bulletin - Local Government

Watts has a long track record of supporting both central and local government organisations through a pattern of continuous change under successive administrations and is fully aware of the developing political and economic agenda. Central government departments and local authority estates departments remain under pressure to promote added value solutions and maximise the effectiveness of revenue streams. In this bulletin we take a look at some of the key issues affecting public sector property professionals and report on the latest developments in the sector as it strives to balance community expectations with commercial realism in an improving - but still challenging - economic climate.

Daniel Webb

Director, Project Consultancy Group, Watts Group PLC



Watts Sector Focus Bulletin - Local Government

All change for EU procurement

The UK government aims to bring in new procurement rules later this year, as a result of new EU directives on public procurement adopted earlier this spring. The UK has two years to enforce the changes but is working towards early adoption.

EU Change main

The UK government aims to bring in new procurement rules later this year, as a result of new EU directives on public procurement adopted earlier this spring. The UK has two years to enforce the changes but is working towards early adoption.

The legislation will introduce a number of new procedures that will impact on local authorities and their suppliers. Key changes include the following:

  • Greater flexibility to negotiate – the rules on the use of the competitive negotiated procedure have been relaxed and a new innovation partnership procedure introduced.
  • Identifying options prior to purchase – local authorities will now be able to consult with potential suppliers before putting work out to tender, without falling foul of the procurement rules.
  • No distinction between Part A and Part B services – the majority of contracts will be subject to the full scope of the procurement rules, although a new ‘light touch’ regime and a higher financial threshold of €75,000 will apply to those contracts with limited appeal to cross-border bidders.
  • A simplified selection process – this will include self-declarations and only winning bidders required to submit certificates and documents for verification purposes.
  • Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT) decisions may be based on additional criteria including cost-effectiveness, including life cycle costing, as well as price.
  • Improved access to public procurement for SME’s (see story below)
  • New measures and stronger provisions to Improve procedures including those relating to extended grounds of mandatory exclusion; expansion of discretionary grounds to include aspects such as poor performance and conflicts of interest; and a provision on ‘self-cleansing’ whereby bidders are able to provide evidence to show reliability despite grounds for exclusion.
  • Clarification of the rules as they apply to public sector contracts – setting out the principles established by recent case law and explaining in detail those arrangements between contracting authorities to which the public procurement rules apply.
  • Material and non-material changes – the rules that apply to modifications to contracts have been clarified.
  • Concessions – under the new Concessions Contract Directive, both works and services concessions with a value of more than €5 million will have to be advertised in the OJEU.

A recent briefing from lawyers Nabarro, outlines these changes in detail. The report also points to the fact that under the new regime, e-procurement is being made mandatory within 30 months of implementation of the new rules. This aims to speed up procurement and make best use of reduced mandatory timescales. Threshold caps for works, supplies and services contracts have not changed but these are to be reviewed within the next three years. Implementation of certain aspects of the new legislation is discretionary and as a result there are certain elements of the EU directives as they apply to the UK market, that the government is still considering and which are yet to be finalised.

For more information go to www.nabarro.com and www.europarl.europa.eu

What are you views on the new procurement rules? We would like to hear from you on Watts’ Twitter page or join the Watts Bulletin group on LinkedIn.

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