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Procurement - Obligations If The Rules Apply - The Process

The obligations apply to the procurement of all contracts worth over £25,000.  However, the requirements differ according to the value of the procurement of the contract.

LIGHT TOUCH REGIME

Following the implementation of the EU Directive, the Procurement Regulations 2015 provides for a more relaxed set of rules for the procurement of certain services and no longer classifies a Schedule 3 service as Part A or Part B; it is now known as the Light Touch Regime which includes all previous Part A and Part B services.

If the value of the procurement of the contract is calculated above the threshold of £589,148, the contracting authority is required to:

  • advertise (unless part of the negotiated procedure); 
  • provide an award notice; and 
  • follow procedures determined by the contracting authority (subject to Regulation 76).

Please note that it is not mandatory to follow the Procedures under the Light Touch Regime.

Advertising above threshold Light Touch Regime

A Contract Notice is required to be advertised in the OJEU. This notice is a standard form notice and can be found on the EU SIMAP website.  It must be in electronic form. A Contract Notice must be advertised at EU level.

An alternative is to use a Prior Information Notice (PIN). These are notices used by Contracting Authorities to inform the market in advance of what they intend to buy in the future. A PIN can be published in the OJEU or on a buyer’s profile. A PIN must be published not less than 35 days and not more than 12 months of the date of the contract starting.

The Contract Notice needs to also be advertised on Contracts Finder within 24 hours of being advertised in the OJEU.

Award notices for above threshold Light Touch Regime

The Contracting Authority must send a contract award notice for publication in the OJEU and Contracts Finder.

Please note that if you are a school or an academy, you are not required to publish notices of awards on Contracts Finder. However, you still have to comply with the publication requirements in the OJEU (Regulation 105).

ALL OTHER SERVICES AND GOODS

A Contract Notice is required to be advertised in the OJEU.

If the value of the contract is over the threshold, the Contract Notice needs to also be advertised on Contracts Finder within 24 hours of being advertised in the OJEU.

An alternative procedure to public authorities that are not central government is to use a PIN (Regulations 48 and 52). A PIN can be published in the OJEU or on a buyer’s profile. A PIN must be published not less than 35 days and not more than 12 months of the date of the contract starting.

A Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) is required outside the open procedure (Regulation 24) in order to remove any conflicts of interest. PQQs are used to shortlist suppliers before inviting them to tender. These will then need to be evaluated by the Contracting Authorities.

An invitation is then sent out to tender or negotiations take place with the suppliers (depending upon Procedure followed) and an award is eventually given.

Standstill Period 

After the award of the contract, the contracting authority is required to publicise the notice. Following this, the Standstill Period is required.

The Standstill Period is the period between the notice of the intended award and the actual award of the contract. This period is mandatory and ends on the tenth day after sending the notice. The Standstill Period allows unsuccessful bidders to ascertain if they have a potential claim. Whilst the Standstill approach does not strictly apply to the Light Touch Regime, it is recommended that it be followed.

The Standstill Rules do not apply to call off contracts under framework agreements but do apply to the tender of for the framework agreement.

BELOW THRESHOLD – STILL REGULATED

Part 4 of the Procurement Regulations 2015 deals with procurement below the threshold (but above £25,000 or £10,000 for central government). These were not implemented by the EU Public Contracts Directive 2014, but created to facilitate access to public contracts by SMEs.

Advertising requirements

The obligation of a contracting authority to advertise a contract only arises if it has advertised it in any other way – such as their own website.

Should the requirement to advertise arise, the contracting authority must also advertise on Contracts Finder within 24 hours of the initial advert.

PQQ

Contracting Authorities are prohibited from using the PQQ stage for the procurement of a contract below the threshold.

Award Notices

If there is a requirement to advertise, the contracting authority must also publish the award on Contracts Finder within a reasonable time of awarding the contract.

Note that the more interest there is likely to be in the contract, the more stringent the process is likely to be.

What Does It Mean To You?
Exclusions
Procedure
Light Touch, Framework Agreements, Concession Contracts and Reserved Contracts


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