As part of the new coalition government’s transparency agenda (to ensure greater transparency across all operations to enable the public to hold public bodies and politicians to account), the following new commitments have been made as regards all central government procurement:  

  • All new government ICT contracts to be published online from July 2010.  
  • All new central government tender documents for contracts over £10,000 to be published on a single website from September 2010, with this information to be made publicly available free of charge.  
  • All new central government contracts to be published in full from January 2011.  

These requirements apply to all central government departments including their agencies, non-departmental public bodies, NHS bodies and trading bodies. The guidance states that where a supplier does not consent to publication of the contract, departments will need to assess the options available, including whether or not abandonment of the procurement or re-tender is likely to offer better value for money (though how either of these options would be legally sound is certainly questionable).  

The contracts are expected to be published in full, including specifications, terms and conditions and schedules. Certain confidential information such as that which would benefit from an FOI exemption can be redacted if requested and justified but this will have to be agreed between the parties.  

Further guidance on the detail of these new requirements (eg. practical guidance to assist departments in what and how to publish ICT contracts and tender documents and how to include the obligation contractually) is available from OGC.

Further guidance on the detail of these new requirements (eg. practical guidance to assist departments in what and how to publish ICT contracts and tender documents and how to include the obligation contractually) is available from OGC.