Regulatory Outlook

Regulated Procurement | UK Regulatory Outlook May 2024

Published on 31st May 2024

Procurement Act 2023: commencement regulations and further guidance | Procurement Regulations 2024 | Updated National Procurement Policy Statement published

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Procurement Act 2023: commencement regulations and further guidance

Despite Parliament being prorogued, the necessary regulations for the Procurement Act 2023 to go live from 28 October 2024 made it through. The Procurement Act 2023 (Commencement No 3 and Transitional and Saving Provisions) Regulations 2024 were signed on 23 May. These regulations legislatively set out the go-live date of 28 October 2024, bring into force the revocation of the existing procurement regulations other than in respect of devolved Scottish procurements and include the transitional provisions which determine the relationship between the current and new procurement regime.

The Cabinet Office has also updated its guidance collection page which is now arranged to list guidance documents under the four stages of the commercial pathway: Plan, Define, Procure and Manage. The page sets out the full list of guidance documents, both published and unpublished. The latest guidance documents that were published on 24 May were as follows:

• Guidance: Utilities Contracts

• Guidance: Defence and Security Contracts

• Guidance: Concessions Contracts

• Guidance: Light Touch Contracts

• Guidance: Reserved Contracts for Supported Employment Providers

For more on what went through before Parliament was prorogued ahead of the general election, please see our Insight.

Procurement Regulations 2024

The House of Commons debated the draft Procurement Regulations 2024 on 13 May and approved the regulations.

The House of Lords also then approved the regulations on 20 May, meaning the regulations are now made and will come into force alongside the Procurement Act 2023 on 28 October 2024.

Updated National Procurement Policy Statement published

The National Procurement Policy Statement was laid in Parliament on 13 May and will come into force alongside the Procurement Act on 28 October 2024.

Contracting authorities must have regard to this statement as set out in section 13 of the Procurement Act. The main priorities are:

  1. Value for money: Contracting authorities must prioritise value for money by optimising the use of public funds and achieving the intended outcomes of the procurement, including wider socio-economic and environmental benefits. This is also explicitly referred to in the Act itself.
  2. Social value: Authorities should consider outcomes such as creating resilient businesses, opportunities for quality employment and skills development, improving innovation and supply chain resilience, and tackling climate change and reducing waste. While much shorter than the previous NPPS, the social value section remains largely the same and there have not been any substantive changes.
  3. Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs): Authorities should support SMEs and open up public procurement opportunities to them, reducing and removing barriers in the procurement process to create a competitive marketplace.
  4. Commercial and procurement delivery: Authorities should consider having the right operational policies and processes in place to manage the key stages of commercial delivery, following the principles and guidance provided in the government's Playbook series.
  5. Skills and capability for procurement: Authorities should assess their organisational capability and workforce plans to ensure they have the necessary procurement and contract management skills and resources to deliver value for money effectively.

Guidance published on the Procurement Review Unit

The Cabinet Office has published guidance on the Procurement Review Unit (PRU) and how it will support the implementation of the Procurement Act 2023. The role of the PRU is to ensure compliance with the new procurement regime and improve practices of contracting authorities. The PRU is comprised of three services:

  • Public Procurement Review Service (PPRS). The PPRS investigates complaints from suppliers about specific procurements and issues recommendations for improvement.
  • Procurement Compliance Service (PCS). The PCS focuses on investigating systemic and institutional non-compliance issues and can make statutory recommendations to contracting authorities.
  • Debarment Review Service (DRS). The DRS manages debarment and exclusions, ensuring that only suitable suppliers can bid for public contracts.

Overall, the PRU's ambition is to raise standards in public procurement and drive accountability for contracting authorities and suppliers in the UK.

DHSC update commercial procurement pipeline

The Department for Health and Social Care has updated its commercial procurement pipeline. This provides a forecast of potential commercial activity over the next 48 months where spend is over £2 million. Suppliers should review this pipeline to decide if there are any forthcoming procurements they wish to bid for. 


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* 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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