It’s crunch time on 29 January, as Parliament prepares to vote on Plan B of Theresa May’s Brexit deal. If unsuccessful, the UK could be leaving the EU without a deal on 29 March 2019!

Inevitably, a no-deal outcome will have a significant impact on a number of our sectors, but what does this actually mean for public procurement?

Currently, the UK operates under the Public Procurement Directives set out under the EU Legal Framework. Therefore, most procurement by local authorities, housing associations and care providers is governed by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

If it’s a (Plan B) deal…

Nothing changes! The UK will continue to operate as it presently does under the Regulations, with full access to be able to publish notices in the Official Journal of the EU (OJEU).

If it’s a no deal…

The Regulations will largely remain the same, although they will be amended slightly to ensure that they remain operable and functional after Brexit. There will be no ‘UK versions’ of procurement documents; it is intended that the existing procedures and processes will continue as they are, but with one key difference – the UK will no longer have access to OJEU!

The impact of the loss of OJEU is more administrative than anything else. In simple terms, a new UK e-notification service, which is being set up by the Government, will replace OJEU. This new service will be up and running, ready for use on Brexit day, so notices that are legally required to be published on OJEU will be replaced with notices on the UK e-notification service.

However, the requirements to publish other opportunities on the UK domestic portals (such as Contracts Finder and Sell2Wales) will still apply; i.e. notices will still need to be sent to both the domestic portals and the UK e-notification service.

What to do next?

UK contracting authorities and entities currently using e-Senders (i.e. third parties) to submit OJEU notices will need to ensure that their e-Sender has successfully integrated the new UK e-notification service.

For contracting authorities who submit notices directly to OJEU, they will need to register notices directly with the new UK e-notification service instead of OJEU (the Government will provide further information on this in due course).

Suppliers looking for UK contract opportunities will need to access the UK e-notification service instead of Tenders Electronic Daily (TED).

Further information

For more information on what this means for you as a contracting authority or supplier, please contact Richard Brooks or Andrew Millross.