Today (Thursday 17 April) sees the coming into force, at European level, of the new public procurement directives which will impact upon all those involved in spending from the public purse particularly those in the health and social care sector.
These new directives were formally published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 28 March 2014 and will replace the existing Directive 2004/17 (Utilities) and Directive 2004/18 (Public Sector), as well as providing for a new additional directive on the award of concession contracts.
Each EU member state must now implement the directives into its own domestic legislation and has two years from today’s date to do so. Until this period has passed (or until implemented, if earlier), the existing Public Contracts Regulations 2006 will remain the principal source of applicable law on public procurement in the UK. However, it is currently anticipated that the UK will transpose the new directives with little amendment and hopes to have done so before the end of 2014 in order to allow quickest access to the greater flexibility offered by the new regime.