How the Queen's Speech outlines the future of public procurement
The Queen’s Speech included a keynote update and an intention from the Government to introduce a new Public Procurement Bill, which will replace the existing Public Contracts Regulations 2015 regime.
The reform of Public Procurement has been an aim of government following the Brexit decision, with the PCR2015 legislation being largely based on the EU Procurement Directives. Only minor changes have been made to domestic legislation since the UK left the EU. The reform of Public Procurement was announced with the intention that it would “consolidate and streamline the 350 plus EU-derived regulations and make our procurement regime quicker, simpler and easier to use.”
In order to re-regulate public procurement, the Government requires legislative reform to create a new public procurement framework, which achieves the aims and ambitions of the ‘Transforming Public Procurement’ paper, as detailed here: Green Paper: Transforming public procurement – GOV.UK
Parliamentary priorities in the last few years, however, have been elsewhere. Despite public procurement reform being on the cards since the publishing of the Transforming Public Procurement green paper, it has yet to be progressed.
In April 2022, the Government confirmed that the Procurement Reform bill would be put through parliament in the ‘coming session’. The Queen’s Speech further reiterated this: Queen’s Speech 2022: Brexit—Retained EU law and the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland – House of Lords Library
The proposed changes to public procurement aim to ‘simplify and provide new opportunities for small businesses’, something which many procurers in the public sector will be supportive of.
Whenever the new bill is passed, and public procurement is updated, there will be a requirement for schools, trusts and public procurers to get up to speed on new procurement processes and legislation. The importance of ‘compliance’, which underpins the great mission of ensuring ‘value for money’ and ‘competition’, cannot be underestimated.