On 9 March 2023, the Cabinet Office published a new Standard Selection Questionnaire (‘the Revised SQ’) and PPN 03/23, replacing the old SQ and PPN 08/16, updating the statutory guidance under Regulation 107 of the Public Contracts Regulations.

The Revised SQ and PPN applies to all Contracting Authorities and must be applied to all new procurements commencing after 1 April 2023, although it can be used immediately.

The PPN advises that the amendments have been made to reflect feedback on the previous standard SQ and statutory guidance providing further clarity in some areas and introducing new questions in others. These include:

  • clarity on changes Contracting Authorities can make to the wording of questions;
  • clarity on what is meant by ‘relying on another organisation’ to meet the selection criteria;
  • amendments to financial questions and checks;
  • introduction of new questions on health and safety, supply chains questions and data protection;
  • introduction of additional requirements for modern slavery and additional clarity on considering responses to these;
  • introduction of new questions related to reducing carbon emissions;
  • introduction of updated payment question; and
  • changes to SQ template responses to questions relating to exclusions, to make these self-declarations rather than simple yes/no answers.

Contracting authorities will therefore need to review their procurement documents, selection questions and e-procurement tools and update these where necessary and in good time to ensure full compliance. Suppliers should also familiarise themselves with the new guidance and amend any standard responses they use in bidding for public sector tendering opportunities accordingly.

PPN 03/23 and the Revised SQ can be found here.