Key updates from the Procurement Cabinet Office

In late October, Cabinet Office provided an update on the future of public procurement and how it will ‘transform’ via the Green Paper consultation and the Procurement Bill. There were some key factors in this update, ones that will have an impact on schools, colleges and trusts going into the future.  

Here are the key points to take away from this update:

  • In December 2020, Cabinet Office published a green paper called “Transforming Public Procurement”, starting a 3-month consultation process. The purpose of this is for the UK to scrap its current procurement regulations that derive from EU directives to bring in more UK-specific legislation. 
  • In May this year, procurement reform was mentioned in the Queens speech, with a suggested date for the draft legislation from September 2021. 
  • Recently, the Cabinet office has informed participants of the consultation that they have had over 600 respondents, and that this has caused a delay. Therefore, the proposed procurement legislation changes have been postponed until at least 2023.  

For schools, colleges and trusts these delays in legislation mean that the PCRs are not changing yet. The Cabinet Office states: 

“We know that people are keen to know when the rules will change. We can’t give a firm date of when this will be…the existing legislation continues to apply until the new reforms are implemented and will also continue to apply to procurement started under the old rules.” 

As the UK moves to create a more bespoke set of legislation dedicated to UK procurement, the Queen mentioning the subject in her speech and the recent update to the National Procurement Policy Statement regarding social value and well-structured procurement, highlights the importance of this Bill. The Cabinet Office is working to create a solution that improves procurement across all sectors in the UK – the surge in participants during consultation can attest to this 

With the Cabinet Office now focusing on preparing their legislation for Parliament, Wales has confirmed their support of the Bill (with a request for some reserved matters), with Northern Ireland and Scotland looking to follow behind as well. This means that this Bill will eventually become the new norm for procurement.  

However, with the consultation process delaying the new legislation until 2023 at the earliest, public procurement must continue with the current rules and regulations set in place, meaning compliance will have renewed impact in the coming years. Unfortunately, nobody will be sure how long this delay lasts until it is announced so it will be best to prepare for the long-term.  

Any contracts or procurements that are coming up for renewal within the next year will still be governed by PCR2015. We recommend audits or assessments on individual contracts and procurements to check your compliance. If you are a trust, we would recommend a procurement portfolio to check compliance with PCR2015 across all your procurement.  

Education Buying can help with all of these checks. From running audits and assessments, through to a procurement portfolio. Even through using our compliant DPS and frameworks, maturity assessments and training to ensure you are safeguarded for the future.