It was announced on 6 February 2015 that the long-awaited Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/102) will come into force on 26 February 2015, replacing the Public Contracts Regulations 2006.
The new Regulations will bring into effect a variety of subtle changes – but changes that nevertheless may have a significant impact for both authorities and contractors. For example, once the new regulations are in force:
- Removal of Part B services: The distinction between Part A and Part B services has been removed, so the vast majority of goods, works and services will be subject to the full ambit of the procurement rules. Certain health, care, educational and cultural services will be subject to a light touch regime until April 2016.
- Material Change: There has been a codification and evolution of the law on what amounts to a material change of a contract which has already been awarded (and therefore requires a new procurement process).
- Selection and award: There is a wider toolkit available to authorities for excluding bidders from the procurement process, including the ability to exclude a bidder for poor past performance.
- In-House and Collaborative Working Exemptions: There is helpful codification and evolution of the in-house (or ‘Teckal’) exemption and the public-public cooperation (or ‘Hamburg’) exemption, which gives broader scope for authorities to award contracts without competition and provide services in the marketplace.
- New Procedures: Contracting authorities are able to use the new Competitive Procedure with Negotiation and Innovation Partnership procedures, but lose the ability to use a negotiated procedure. Utilities may now use the competitive dialogue procedure.
- Framework Agreements: There is useful clarification on the permitted duration of framework agreements and when call-offs may be awarded.