Tendering and Brexit – What happens next?

posted on: 14th January 2021 by Propeller Studios

The end of the Brexit transition period has come and gone, and as of 1st January 2021, the UK’s procurement regime has had a few changes. There are no drastic modifications to the way UK procurement is run, but it’s a good idea to know what happens to the process, now we are no longer in the EU.

 

Are there any immediate changes to procurement policies?

No, there aren’t. However, the government can now introduce new or temporary legislation. The procurement process, as set out in the Public Contracts Relations 2015 (PCR 2015), won’t differ greatly from the previous arrangement under the EU.

 

What happens to ongoing contracts?

Ongoing procurement that wasn’t concluded by 31st December 2020, will remain under the same EU regulations until that particular contract has been awarded. Tenders that were launched before 31st December 2020 must still be advertised in OJEU (Official Journal of European Union).

 

What is ‘Find a Tender Service’ (FTS)?

It’s the new UK e-notification service that went live at 11pm on 31st December 2020. Previously, contracting authorities were required to publish contract opportunities above certain threshold values in OJEU. They will now need to publish procurement notices on ‘Find a Tender Service.’

 

Is FTS free to use?

FTS is free to use for contractors and awarding authorities. Notices should be published instantly by awarding authorities, to avoid the delays that sometimes affect OJEU and providing greater clarity regarding deadlines.

 

Are thresholds going to change?

The current EU thresholds brought in on 1st January 2020 will remain the same until 1st January 2022. In future, thresholds will be determined by the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Government Procurement Agreement (GPA). The UK has been a member since 1st January 2021.

 

What is the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA)?

The GPA is the procurement agreement within the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The UK is now an independent member. This means that UK businesses can continue to compete for overseas contracts, covered by the GPA.

 

How does this affect the content of the notices?

The form and content of notices will remain the same. Authorities should no longer refer to notifications as ‘OJEU notices.’

 

Will UK suppliers still be able to bid for OJEU tenders?​ 

UK suppliers can continue to bid for OJEU contracts. Suppliers need to be aware that they will now have the same status as suppliers in other countries (that adhere to GPA). This may cause limits on some contracts, particularly in the defence and utilities sectors.

 

What about other contract portals?

Current portals such as Contracts Finder, MOD Defence Contracts Online, Public Contracts Scotland, Sell2Wales and eTendersNI can still be used as before.

 

Do you need help with an upcoming tender? With Brexit and Covid-19 causing turbulent markets, be rest assured that the Bid Consultants at Propeller are on hand to win you more work.