“It’s our duty as a responsible government to prepare for all eventualities, including ‘no deal’, until we can be certain of the outcome of those (UK/EU) negotiations,” says Gov.uk. This refers to, in the event of a ‘no deal’ EU exit, what the government is putting in place around accessing online public procurement contracts. “For two years, the government has been implementing a significant programme of work to ensure the UK will be ready from day 1 in all scenarios …”
At the moment all central government contracts (over certain thresholds) that fall within the scope of the EU procurement directives must be advertised on the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) via the online Tenders Electronic Daily (TED). After next March, if there is no deal in place, the government pledges a replacement UK-specific e-notification service for contract opportunities will be made available (we assume from day one of exit).
“Changes to the procurement rules will be made via amendments to existing legislation, to ensure continued operability … This would be in line with the current requirements to send notices to the EU Publications Office for publication on OJEU/TED. Publication would take place electronically and the service will be free for all users.” (As is the case now with TED.)
There will be a handover period between the two systems which the government says will be communicated via “appropriate communication channels” nearer the time.
The new e-notification service will also therefore be the place suppliers will have to go to find out about UK opportunities.
Read the Cabinet Office guidance here.
It is worth pointing out that contracts that are under the threshold will still be published on Contracts Finder, MOD Defence Contracts Online, Public Contracts Scotland, Sell2Wales and eTendersNI. And that any contracting authorities and entities that currently work with third parties such as an ‘E-Sender’ or ‘E-Publisher’ should be able to continue to work with their provider to publish on the UK e-notification service.