On 3 February 2016, the Cabinet Office published its response to the consultations on the draft Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016 (“UCR”) and Concessions Contracts Regulations 2016 (“CCR”) which were published last summer. The UCR and CCR will implement the utilities and concessions directives (2014/25/EU and 2014/23/EU respectively). The Government has confirmed that it is on schedule to implement the new regulations by 18 April 2016 for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the deadline for implementation under the EU directives.
The Scottish Government has implemented its own Regulations covering Scotland.
The Cabinet Office's responses to key issues raised during the consultations are summarised below. Overall, the consultations have confirmed that the draft regulations implement the Directives effectively. View the Cabinet Office's response in full.
In relation to the UCR, the Cabinet Office has confirmed that:
- Cabinet Office guidance already available in relation to the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 will be expanded to cover the UCR.
- The UCR will not include a comprehensive list of utilities as this would require the list to be updated on a regular basis. Organisations will therefore need to form their own view as to whether they are caught by the definition of "utilities" in the UCR.
- There appears to be an anomaly regarding how the use of a prior information notice, as a means of a call for competition, fits with the Competitive Dialogue procedure. The Cabinet Office has raised this issue with the European Commission.
In relation to the CCR, the Cabinet Office has confirmed that:
- It will publish guidance on the CCR either by way of expanding current guidance available or by issuing new CCR specific guidance.