Last week, at an event organised by the Procurement Lawyers' Association in London the European Parliament European Commission and Cabinet Office revealed the latest plans for EU adoption and UK implementation of the new EU Procurement Directives.
Here are the headlines:
- formal adoption of the new Directives by the European Parliament and the European Council is now likely to be in December 2013 (but it may slip to January 2014);
- the UK's approach will be to implement the Directives here as soon as possible (no specific date was given); and work towards this has already started. The Cabinet Office has already issued a number of discussion papers to relevant stakeholders (with more papers to follow) on issues where the UK has some choice around the approach to implementation. The papers issued so far concern: termination of contracts; the new light touch regime for health social and other services; and measures designed to provide better access to opportunities for SMEs.
- the UK will not be amending our existing Regulations but will be starting again from scratch with a new set of Regulations adopting the copy out method for implementation as much as possible (i.e. copying the text directly from the Directive). The driver for this is to avoid 'gold plating' and to minimise the risk of failing to implement the Directive correctly. If the Directive is ambiguous there will be no attempt to clarify this in the new Regulations;
- the structure of the new Regulations will be very different from the current Public Contracts and Utilities Contracts Regulations 2006. They will be more aligned to the structure and sequence of the new Directives and so there should (for the most part) be consistency in numbering between the Articles of the Directives and the new Regulations; and
- there will be little change to the existing provisions in the Regulations on Remedies but there may need to be some structural changes to these to accommodate the Regulations' new format.
The Mills & Reeve procurement team is busily preparing for the new Directives and has a series of client seminars scheduled for early 2014 in our London Cambridge Birmingham Norwich and Manchester offices. These practical interactive seminars will be of value to professionals in the public private and third sectors. Focussing on the key changes we'll help you prepare for the new regime and take advantage of its opportunities. If you interested in attending you can register your interest here.