Regulatory Outlook

Regulated Procurement | UK Regulatory Outlook November 2022

Published on 30th Nov 2022

Procurement Bill 2022-2023: new guidance published for contracting authorities | Updated Allowable Cost guidance | Impact assessment on eradicating slavery and human trafficking in NHS supply chains

Procurement Bill 2022-2023: new guidance published for contracting authorities

The Government Commercial Function updated the Transforming Public Procurement programme page with two new guidance pages to help contracting authorities prepare for the changes in the procurement bill.

One of the guides is in relation to their Learning and Development programme outlining what training they intend to provide. The guide notes that they expect to make the learning and development package available once the bill has received royal assent and the secondary legislation has been made. The leaflet is designed to help contracting authorities decide which of the learning and development options are most suitable for their needs and what actions they need to take in the coming months to plan their training programme.

The second guide is a one-pager checklist which sets out initial actions in four key areas - policies and processes, systems, people, and transition - where early consideration will help contracting authorities get in the best shape for when the new regime comes into force.

While the bill is still progressing through parliament, and these guides highlight that it is not likely to enter into force until late 2023, the guides are a useful tool for contracting authorities to familiarise themselves with the upcoming changes and with the training that will be of use to them.

Procurement Bill 2022-2023

The Procurement Bill has now completed its committee stage and has moved to the report stage in the House of Lords. The amended version on the bill has been published and can be found here.

The changes made from the original draft of the bill do not drastically change the regime but are slight adjustments to certain areas. Changes include, among others: where the bill originally gave authorities a discretion as to whether to publish a notice (market engagement and contract change) this has now moved either to a presumption in favour of publication or a requirement to publish; the Lords have strengthened conflicts of interests under the bill; and mandatory contract change notices must also now be made where the modification is a novation or assignment on corporate restructuring.

See also our recent Insight on how the bill aims to strengthen transparency in supply chains.

Updated Allowable Cost guidance

The Single Source Regulations Office (SSRO) launched a consultation earlier this year on changes to the Allowable Costs guidance to help contractors and the Ministry of Defence reach an agreement on costs to be included in the calculation of the price of qualifying defence contracts. In light of the responses received, the SSRO has published an updated version of the guidance, "Allowable Costs guidance (version 6)".

The changes that have been made from the previous guidance have been set out in a table, with the majority of changes made to clarify certain areas of the guidance that responses to the consultation flagged needed clarification. This updated guidance will be of interest to those within the defence sector when negotiating cost recovery rates and will guide those parties to meet their responsibilities under the Defence Reform Act 2014 Act in agreeing the overheads the supplier may recover under a qualifying contract.

Impact assessment on eradicating slavery and human trafficking in NHS supply chains

Please see Modern slavery.

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