The Crown Commercial Service and the Government Legal Service have recently published a set of standard "short form" terms and conditions.

These are intended for use by Central Government departments, including Executive Agencies and NDPBs, when procuring goods and services where the likely contract value is under the relevant thresholds. Use of the new short form terms is advisory rather than mandatory.

The terms have been drafted to comply with current government guidance and policy, and also to be "light touch", to avoid complex terms which would increase costs unnecessarily and discourage the participation of small- and medium-sized entities. The accompanying procurement policy note points out that the new short form terms are not suitable for construction work (which should use the industry-standard terms) or for IT contracts (which should usually use an appropriate framework arrangement). NHS bodies will of course need to use the standard NHS Terms and Conditions rather than these short form terms. Users are advised to make an assessment on a case by case basis as to whether the new short form is in fact suitable.