The government has issued new guidance intended to stop inappropriate procurement boycotts by public authorities, except where the government has put in place formal legal sanctions, embargoes and restrictions. The guidance applies to all contracting authorities, including central government, executive agencies, non-departmental public bodies, wider public sector, local authorities and NHS bodies. There are remedies available through the courts for breaches of the UK’s procurement rules, such as damages, fines and ineffectiveness (contract cancellation) and the European Commission can also bring legal proceedings against the UK government for alleged breaches of EU law by a UK contracting authority. The government states that it will always involve the relevant contracting authority in these proceedings.
The policy note also records that the government expects its authorities to deal with bids from “third countries” (i.e. not part of the EU or World Trade Organisation Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) or other international free-trade agreements with the EU) )in the same way as EU or GPA countries.