Regulatory Outlook

Regulated procurement | UK Regulatory Outlook April 2023

Published on 27th Apr 2023

Update on the Procurement Bill | PPN 04/23: Procuring steel in government contracts | Revised Standard Selection Questionnaire implementation delayed to 1 June 2023

Update on the Procurement Bill

In its April update on "Transforming Public Procurement", the Cabinet Office set out that it expects the Procurement Bill's Report Stage to be scheduled for May, and still anticipates that the bill will receive Royal Assent later this spring. Following this, secondary legislation in the form of regulations will be published and be subject to public consultation. These regulations will include more detail on matters such as the form and expected content of transparency notices.

PPN 04/23: Procuring steel in government contracts

The Cabinet Office has this month published Procurement Policy Note 04/23 (PPN): Procuring Steel in government contracts. This PPN replaces PPN 11/16 and applies to all central government departments, executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies when conducting steel procurements directly or indirectly. It applies with immediate effect. Contracting authorities who are not within direct scope of the PPN are encouraged by the government to consider best practice as set out in the guidance.

The new PPN reflects changes to commercial best practice, commercial policy and business case as set out in the Green Book, Project/Programme Outcome Profile, National Procurement Policy Statement (PPN 05/21), Social Value Model (PPN 06/20), Construction Playbook (PPN 09/20), Supply Chain Visibility (PPN 01/18) and Value Toolkit.

A summary of the key outcomes and actions that contracting authorities should take can be found here. Examples include ensuring responsible and sustainable steel production, delivering best value over life of the asset, and conducting early market engagement.

This PPN also has slightly amended the reporting requirements of annual steel data returns. The reporting requirement currently consists of data on two elements: a) pipelines of projected demand for steel procurement; and b) actual data on steel procured in the previous financial year. PPN 04/23 retains both these requirements but in regards to the requirement on actual data, the PPN clarifies that this requirement applies to projects/programmes: with a value of £10 million or more; and with a value of less than £10 million where it is anticipated that the project/programme will require in excess of 500 tonnes of steel.

Revised Standard Selection Questionnaire implementation delayed to 1 June 2023

In last month's Regulatory Outlook, we outlined that the government's new Standard Selection Questionnaire (SQ) and accompanying statutory guidance as set out in PPN 03/23 was to be used at the latest by 1 April 2023. The PPN has now been updated to state that the new SQ should be in use no later than 1 June 2023. As noted before, it can be used immediately.

PPN on tackling modern slavery comes into force

On 1 April, PPN 02/23: Tackling Modern Slavery in Government Supply Chains came into force, which sets out actions that contracting authorities must take to ensure that modern slavery risks are identified and managed in government supply chains. Read our Insight for more on what this means for businesses.

Carbon reduction plans now a must for NHS suppliers

As flagged in an earlier Regulatory Outlook, from this month, in every procurement for a contract above £5 million per year, the NHS will seek an express commitment from bidders to reach net zero by 2050. This commitment needs to be demonstrated by a bidder in a Carbon Reduction Plan. Read more about this requirement in our Insight.


* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

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