Public expenditure on goods, works and services represents around 13% of the European Union’s gross domestic product. All tenders for higher value contracts valued at around €420bn were published EU-wide in OJEU in 2014.
Ever since the UK joined the then common market, public procurement regulations have been based on European law and regulation.
However, recent changes to the EU procurement directives demonstrate how the UK can currently influence the regulations. These arise from the EU Public Contracts Directive (Directive 2014/24/EU) which has transposed into UK law for England, Wales and Northern Ireland by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and for Scotland by the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015.
The new rules are fundamentally important and are a step forward in the simplification and modernisation of public procurement, with one change being the acceptance and justification for the use of Competitive Dialogue and the newly created Competitive Procedure with Negotiation.
Furthermore, the modernisation of Public procurement rules hopes to secure social value and value for money in more efficient ways.
Given the importance of and the emphasis which the government is placing on major public infrastructure programmes, and the continual wish of some in the public sector to adopt outsourcing arrangements for the delivery of public services, it is critical that public officials understand the potential opportunities which these European regulations create.
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