Procurement Reform 2023

London | 1st March 2023

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Supporting flexible, competitive procurements is what we do… and have been doing since 2001.

We’ve been at the forefront of evaluation best practice, developing innovative solutions to support complex procurements with the flexibility, transparency and defensibility they demand.

We are 100% focused on complex evaluation – helping people make the right decisions on strategic and high-risk projects to achieve the best possible outcome.

What are the headlines from the Transforming Public Procurement programme?

The aims of the reforms are to:

  1. Create a simpler and more flexible, commercial system.
  2. Open up public procurement to new entrants such as small businesses and social enterprises so that they can compete for and win more public contracts.
  3. Embed transparency throughout the commercial lifecycle so that the spending of taxpayers’ money can be properly scrutinised.

The change to the procedures available will give buyers more flexibility. The current standard list of Public Contracting Regulation procedures include:

Open Procedure; Restricted Procedure; Competitive Dialogue Procedure; Competitive Procedure with Negotiation; and Direct Award Procedure (Single Source).

In the past buyers had to select which procedure most closely matched their strategy, after which there was little flexibility. In the future there will be a choice between:

Open Procedure

Any supplier can submit a tender in response to a published notice, with no pre-qualification or shortlisting process, and the new.

Competitive Flexible Procedure

This will allow the buying authority to design a procedure with no limit to the number of stages.

These stages can include increased emphasis on early market engagement; pre-qualification; supplier selection; rounds of dialogue and rounds of negotiation; down select after rounds of submissions; scored demonstrations, trials and site visits; and iterative refinement of award criteria.

This will facilitate a more bespoke approach with the needs of the procurement matched to the various techniques available.

This approach aims to improve simplicity, transparency, opportunity for new suppliers, innovation, and sharper focus on value for money.

It does not enshrine strategic national priorities, but these are detailed in the National Procurement Policy Statement (NPPS).

Delivering Social Value and other Public Good strategies such as creating new business, jobs and skills; reducing waste and impact on climate change; improving supplier diversity and resilience; and increasing focus on innovation, are all part of the NPPS.

The Bill has to be passed into law, and the secondary legislation and guidance published, but the change will happen in early 2024 and all those involved in Public Procurement will need to be ready.

The new Competitive Flexible Procedure will take time to settle and procuring Authorities will need training and support in order to realise the Procurement Reform ambition as soon as possible after Go Live.

With less reliance on templated one-size-fits-all approaches, it will also require procurement teams to spend more time up front thinking about what techniques can be applied to achieve the best value for money outcome.

Also, the requirement for transparency throughout will be critical, ensuring that there is a robust and defensible audit trail of decisions, actions and communications from start to finish.

AWARD® is setup to support your public complex procurement projects