Public procurement

We assist co-operatives and mutuals delivering or bidding for publicly funded projects where compliance with EU and domestic law surrounding public procurement and state aid is required.

The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (“PCR 2015”) are relevant when bidding for public contracts or running a PCR 2015-compliant procurement process, for example under the terms of a funding agreement.

When running or bidding for a compliant procurement process with limited experience and resources, the processes within PCR 2015 can feel daunting and heavy in bureaucracy. We will provide clear advice to support you through the process. We can also support you to provide consistency across in-house procurement exercises, update your staff on changes to the law and provide specialist advice for unusual procurement contracts.

We take the time to understand and respond to your challenges when providing procurement advice, whether buying or selling works, services or goods. Our services include:

  • Providing pre-procurement advice on soft-market testing and delivering social value.
  • Advising on the choice of procurement process under PCR 2015, including the use of framework agreements and “buying clubs”.
  • Drafting and advising on PCR-compliant procurement documents and underlying contracts.
  • Supporting with bidders’ clarification questions and tender evaluation.
  • Running full tender processes, including complex processes such as those involving negotiation or dialogue.
  • Advising on the possibility of contract negotiations and variations after contract award.
  • Empowering in-house teams through training or drafting procurement policies and toolkits.
  • Advising on procurement challenges.
State aid

State aid is also an important issue for many clients receiving public funds. We will help you avoid the risk of “claw back” of funds that can arise when there is unlawful state aid use, either in the flow of public funds to you or from you through your use of funds down your own supply chains.

We understand that you want to be able to focus on effectively delivering your projects, so we offer early support where public funding is given to reduce the risk of unlawful state aid use arising. Our range of support services includes:

  • Reviewing funding streams to highlight and mitigate state-aid risks
  • Advising on de Minimis declarations
  • Advising on the application of exemptions and notifications to the Commission
  • Reviewing and negotiating state-aid conditions within funding agreements
  • Providing strategic advise on avoiding State aid through competitive selection of suppliers

We know that many of our clients in this sector are looking to maximise the positive impact they can have on society and their communities in the process of developing, regenerating and maintaining our built environment. We are the legal pioneers of securing community benefits through contracts and helped Chris White MP with the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012.

Our leading work supporting public sector clients in delivering social value means we are well-placed to help cooperatives and mutuals achieve the same in their projects without unduly inflating contract prices. For those clients who are bidding for public contract opportunities, this can mean identifying how they achieve social value in bid responses in order to improve their prospect of winning public sector opportunities. For those buying in works, services and supplies this means working with clients to identify social value objectives before procurement starts and ensuring it is delivered through careful design of the procurement process and documents.

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