The UK government plans to transpose the new EU procurement directives in three stages, with the first in early 2015.
Ed Green, deputy director of EU and domestic procurement policy at the Crown Commercial Service, told a conference the directive covering public contracts was the priority. “We want the directive to be in force by early 2015,” he said.
Speaking at the Government Procurement Summit in London, Green said the directive covering utilities would be transposed in the summer of 2015 and the one covering concessions by April 2016, the deadline by which the directives must be incorporated into national law.
He said a key emphasis of the new rules was to encourage public sector buyers to focus more on market engagement and contract management.
“Procurement is a strategic priority to drive public service reform, support economic growth and tackle the deficit,” said Green.
“You can drive much more value by engaging with the market pre-procurement and in contract management. The new rules should help with that. That’s where we want to see a step change.”
The new rules include a cap on turnover requirements for bidders, set at double the value of the contract, but Green said for some contracts such requirements would not be necessary. “We have to be careful it doesn’t become a norm,” he said.
“We hope the procurement rules are in keeping with the messages from the Crown Commercial Service about the need to free ourselves from solely focusing on the legalistic bit in the middle, which is important to get right, but isn’t where the value is.”
Martin Reeves, national procurement champion for local government and chief executive at Coventry City Council, said of the directives: “We can either see them as an opportunity for transformation and innovation or we can be hamstrung as we were in the past.”