The new Public Contract Regulations 2015 replaces the 2006 Public Contracts Regulations. It will take time before some of these new concepts and approaches bed in, although we note that some indicative procurement pipelines indicate that the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) are preparing for the New European Single Procurement Document (ESPD); albeit the date by which to introduce the ESPD for the UK has not yet been finalised.
The ESPD will essentially work as a self-certification document whereby potential bidders will need to self-declare that they are not within the exclusion regulation criteria. They will be able to make this declaration without the need to submit proof and thus will only need to evidence this should they (and only if requested by the awarding body) be subsequently selected as the appointed supplier - one might argue this is a passport entry ticket but only validated once you cross the border!
The idea behind the ESPD, is that bidders will be able to complete this document once and subsequently rely on it as preliminary evidence of meeting various pre-qualification standards, thus saving on the time and effort needed to repeatedly complete PQQ’s. All very well but this does not come without risk!
In a recent published article by Supply Management one major flaw to note is: what happens when the identified ‘appointed supplier’ cannot provide the proof? Couple this problem with the overall evaluation criteria split, whereby we have recently seen too much weight being factored into the price, (which can often lead to suppliers submitting proposals at a low price, simply to win the business -which then becomes apparent when they start to fail during delivery) and you start to get a sense of the real risks that lie ahead for government buyers, as a result of Lean Processes being introduced. Don’t get us wrong we very much endorse Lean Procurement, but not at the expense of cutting short the true value add of looking back on the suppliers financial standing, capacity and capability; all key facets of of any sound procurement strategy. It is therefore important that the commercial capacity and capability across central government does not come under threat as a result of departments being increasingly under pressure to cut costs.
This table sets out the minimum key timescales relating to the main contract award procedures under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. Please note that this does not include for the appropriate time period that buyers will need to give for other aspects of the procurement process such as: the evaluation of tender responses.
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