In this insight we summarise the latest update from the Cabinet Office in relation to the new Procurement Bill which will replace the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016 and the Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011 in late 2023/24.

Timetable & next steps

The Cabinet Office has confirmed that the Procurement Bill has completed its journey through the House of Lords. It will now be considered by the House of Commons with Royal Assent expected in the spring of 2023 (but it won’t come into force then – see below). This is when the Bill has completed all of the parliamentary stages and is formally agreed by the King that the Bill will become law as a new Act of Parliament. 

As previously, the Cabinet Office confirms that there will be a six month period before the new legislation is in force. This looks likely therefore to be towards the end of 2023.

A new digital platform is being developed and this will use the current “Find a Tender Service” platform. A test environment should be available in the spring and procurement practitioners should therefore be talking to their e-providers to understand how they propose to engage with this.

Changes to the Bill

As the Bill has progressed through the House of Lords some changes have been made to the original Bill which was published in May 2022. It is likely that further changes will be made as the Bill is reviewed by the House of Commons.

Notable changes so far are:

  • A duty to have regard to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) has been added, together with provisions which support this including a prohibition on requiring insurance to be in place before the award of a contract.
  • Where a contracting authority undertakes preliminary market engagement, it will now be mandatory to publish a notice prior to this (this was optional under the original drafting).
  • It is now stated that a voluntary standstill period in relation to contract modifications must be not less than eight working days.
  • Open frameworks which relate to light-touch services will now not be limited in length.
  • The threshold for publishing Key Performance Indicator (KPI) data has been increased to cover contracts valued at £5 million (previously it was £2 million).

How Capsticks can help

Capsticks acts for both contracting authorities and bidders and we continue to track the Procurement Bill as it progresses.

With extensive knowledge of procurement law, our specialist team are always on hand to review to support you with all aspects of the procurement process and how to get ready for the new Procurement Bill.

If you would like to hear more about the Procurement Bill please see our podcast series ‘Procurement Bill podcast’ which discusses the first draft Bill in detail. 

Please speak to Katrina Day or Mary Mundy to find out more about how Capsticks can help.