Regulatory Outlook

Regulated procurement | UK Regulatory Outlook February 2023

Published on 28th Feb 2023

Government outlines how to tackle modern slavery risks in government supply chains | PPN 01/23 - Requirements to publish on Contracts Finder | UK NHS suppliers required to commit to net zero by 2050 or lose out on future contract opportunities

Government outlines how to tackle modern slavery risks in government supply chains

The Cabinet Office has published procurement policy note (PPN) 02/23: Tackling Modern Slavery in Government Supply Chains, which outlines actions contracting authorities must take to ensure modern slavery risks are identified and managed in government supply chains, for both existing and new contracts. This PPN applies to central government departments, their executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies and NHS bodies.

The guidance published alongside the PPN sets out details on identifying and managing the risks in new contracts, tackling modern slavery risks in existing contracts (including advice on monitoring and supply chain mapping) and advice on what steps to take when modern slavery is identified within the supply chain. 

Contracting authorities that fall within the scope of this PPN should read and become familiar with this guidance. The PPN is applicable to new procurement activity from 1 April 2023.

PPN 01/23 - Requirements to publish on Contracts Finder

The Cabinet Office has published PPN 01/23 and guidance for in-scope organisations on how to publish procurement information on its platform service Contracts Finder.

The new PPN replaces PPN 09/21 and clarifies that the contract value limits have been raised to £12,000 for central government authorities and to £30,000 for sub-central contracting authorities and NHS Foundation Trusts. 

UK NHS suppliers required to commit to net zero by 2050 or lose out on future contract opportunities

The NHS has set itself a target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040. From April 2023, 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 in our Insight.

Publishing a Carbon Reduction Plan on a website homepage means businesses need to be prepared to be held accountable for their commitments to net zero. Crucially, any commitments an organisation makes need to be evidence-based and there must be a willingness to implement carbon reduction projects and reach targets. 

It is also important for businesses to have the next NHS milestone in mind when considering their position as a supplier. The April 2023 milestone represents a big move by the NHS towards reaching its net zero goals – but requirements will get more strict from then on. The most onerous change will be when the individual carbon footprint of a single product will need to be measured, monitored and (potentially) reduced, by 2028. 

Defence Sub-Committee launches inquiry into MOD equipment procurement process

The UK Parliament Defence Sub-Committee has launched an inquiry into Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), which is the body that manages a range of defence equipment and service purchases for the Ministry of Defence. The inquiry will examine the strengths and weaknesses of DE&S, its effectiveness and efficiency and determine what can be learned from the UK’s history of defence procurement and current international comparators. The inquiry closes on 31 March 2023.

The sub-committee's chair on defence equipment and support, Mark Francois MP, said: “This inquiry will place DE&S under the microscope, examining the agency’s strengths and weaknesses. It will ask how effective our current approach to procurement is and whether we have the necessary skills and incentives. We’ll also look to lessons from the past and overseas to establish what more we can do to improve the DE&S’ performance.” 


* 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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