Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016

These are in force from 18 April 2016, replacing the 2006 regulations of the same name for all in-scope procurements commenced on or after that date.

Background

Historically, the procurement regime for Utilities has included more procedural flexibility than the standard public procurement regime. In particular, there have been few restrictions on the use of framework agreements and no barriers to a Utility using the negotiated procedure with notice route. The UCR 2016 increase flexibilities in some respect but in other areas they bring an increase rather than a decrease in regulation. While the UCR 2016 do represent a major change for the Utility sector, as many of their provisions flow from the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, which have already been in force for over a year, to that degree at least, the trail has already been blazed and some custom and practice established. Utilities seeking to understand the UCR 2016 therefore benefit from some of the guidance, expertise and consensus around the practical application and interpretation of some of these new provisions which has built up over the last twelve months or so in the public procurement context.

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