The Commission and Cabinet Office have confirmed that the relaxation of the rules permitting the use of the accelerated restricted procedure will cease to apply from 1 January 2012.
The Commission had previously authorised use of accelerated restricted where the acceleration would benefit the economy (which was generally taken to apply to most substantial contracts). The Commission's decision therefore appears to reflect an EU view that the economic situation has now improved which may be a surprise to those watching growth figures for EU member states!
The change will mean that only the more limited justification for accelerating the restricted procedure around urgency preventing the use of the standard time frames (as set out in Regulation 16) will apply for procurements commenced in the new year.
The Cabinet Office has confirmed this in a Procurement Policy Note which also confirms the new procurement thresholds which will apply from 1 January.