Public Contracts Regulations 2015: At last, SMEs get a seat at the Procurement Top Table

Readers of the Blog will know that one of our favourite memes is UK Cities as the engines of economic growth. This is ever more relevant as we move into a period of improved (albeit not massively strong) economic outlook.

What is it, though, which drives the Cities themselves? One view – widely held – is that SME’s are at the heart of it. They are generally characterised by strong connections with their local economy, serving local and regional needs and recycling money back into that local economy rather than dissipating it much further afield.

As the new Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (implementing the new Procurement Directive) come into force this Thursday (26 February) it is worth noting that Part 4 of the Regulations sets out to keep a long made promise, namely to make public procurement more accessible to SMEs.

The key features are:

1. Abolition of PQQs in below threshold procurements (Reg 111) and moving Authorities towards a more standardised approach to PQQs in above threshold competitions (Reg 107);

2. Obligations in all public contracts for valid, undisputed invoices to be paid on a 30 day cycle and a self-shaming obligation to publish annual performance statistics (Regs 113 and 122); and

3. Publishing Contract and Award Notices above £10,000 (Central CAs) or £25,000 (Sub-central CAs and NHS Trusts) on Contracts Finder (Regs 106 and 110).

Whether or not these provisions go far enough, only time will tell but at least the revolution has started.

The full text of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 can be found here:

http://tinyurl.com/qjukpl9

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