Regulatory Outlook

Regulated procurement | UK Regulatory Outlook May 2023

Published on 25th May 2023

Update on the Procurement Bill | Guidance on tackling modern slavery updated with revised selection questionnaire | Amending regulations published in line with UK-Australia and UK-New Zealand FTAs | 

Update on the Procurement Bill

There is speculation that the Procurement Bill is expected to return to the House of Commons within the next month to be read at Report Stage. A list of the tabled amendments so far can be found here, which includes an amendment to include a new public interest obligation when deciding to outsource or insource public services, the introduction of a "High Risk" list of suppliers and a new provision which would mean that contracting authorities could not award a contract if a supplier intended to sub-contract to a supplier which was on the "High Risk" list. We expect the bill to complete Report Stage ahead of summer recess and will provide further updates following that.

If you missed our recent "Eating Compliance for Breakfast" session looking at what we know now about the Procurement Bill, then you can find the recording here and the slides here. If you did not initially register for this session, please click "register here" in the right hand summary column and then you will be able to access it.

Guidance on tackling modern slavery updated with revised selection questionnaire

In light of the publication of PPN 03/23: Standard Selection Questionnaire (SQ) (see our previous Regulatory Outlook for more), PPN 02/23 guidance regarding tackling modern slavery has been updated.

Section 3(d) of the guidance outlines that the updated selection criteria can be used to identify whether a supply chain has any modern slavery features and provides information on how contracting authorities may assess bidder's compliance with provisions of section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act.

Amending regulations published in line with UK-Australia and UK-New Zealand FTAs

The Public Procurement (International Trade Agreements) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 have been laid before Parliament and will come into force on 25 May 2023. These regulations have been introduced due to the UK entering into two free trade agreements (FTA), one with Australia and the other with New Zealand.

The first and second amendments made by the regulations are of general application and are made to the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR), the Concession Contracts Regulations 2016 and the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016 (UCR). The first amendment introduces the rule that, where the value of a procurement cannot be estimated, the procurement is to be treated as having been valued at the relevant threshold for that type of procurement. In the case of the PCR and the UCR, special provision is made for the situation in which the value of one or more lots cannot be estimated.

The second amendment prohibits contracting authorities and utilities from terminating contracts that may circumvent obligations in the UK-Australia FTA.

The third amendment is made to the PCR and the UCR only and removes the possibility of using a prior information notice or periodic indicative notice as the call for competition.


* 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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