Changes have been made to the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR) which will come into force on 25 May 2023.

In this insight we highlight the key changes coming into effect.

Whilst keeping a watchful eye on the progress of the Procurement Bill, which is set to overhaul procurement legislation in early 2024, it’s easy to overlook more minor changes which are still being made to the existing legislation, the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR), to reflect the terms of UK trade deals.

A new set of regulations has introduced a series of changes to the PCR, which will take effect on 25 May 2023. These changes have been introduced following the signature of two free-trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand.

The three key changes to be aware of are:

  1. Valuation of contracts – if you are unable to value a contract then it now will be deemed to be valued at the relevant threshold to trigger compliance with the PCR. 
  2. Termination of contracts – a new requirement has been added to the PCR which states that contracts cannot be terminated in a way that “circumvents” the procurement rules under the PCR, Parts 2 and 3.

    Although this is a new provision, contracting authorities will be aware of the existing procurement principles of non-discrimination, equal treatment and transparency, which are already a consideration when thinking about terminating contracts and putting in place replacement suppliers. This change does, however, introduce a specific requirement to ensure compliance with procurement rules when looking at contract termination. Contracting authorities should ensure their record keeping of decisions around termination reflect this.
  3. Prior Information Notices (PIN) – it will no longer be possible to use a PIN as a call for competition. This applies to all procurements including those that are procured under the so-called “light touch regime”.

    The option to use a PIN as the call of competition was not used very often and therefore this is unlikely to have a significant impact moving forwards.

The changes are made under The Public Procurement (International Trade Agreements) (Amendment) Regulations 2023, a copy of which can be found here. The changes do not apply to devolved Welsh authorities.

How Capsticks can help

Capsticks’ procurement team can help contracting authorities and bidders navigate the changes and what it means for their procurement processes or bids. Capsticks act for a number of public sector clients and bidders to the public sector. With extensive knowledge of procurement law, our specialist team are always on hand to review and advise on any aspects of the procurement process.

If you have any queries around what is discussed in this insight, and the impact on your organisation, please speak to Katrina Day or Mary Mundy to find out more about how Capsticks can help.

More information about procurement at Capsticks is available here.