The primary function of EU procurement law is to open up public procurement to competition and to ensure the free movement of goods and services within the EU. The EU Public Procurement Directives are implemented in the UK as Regulations and reflect the UK government's policy that public sector purchasing decisions should be based on value for money achieved through competition.
This chapter contains sections on
- Types of communication
- Contract types – definitions
- Social and other specific services
- Central purchasing bodies
- Pre market engagement
- Valuation of a contract and current EU thresholds
- Award procedures
- Prior Information Notices
- Supplier selection criteria
- Award criteria
- Tender documentation – inc advertising requirements, division into Lots, specifications, variant bids, terms and conditions
- Notification of contract award
Impact on institutions
The Regulations implementing the Directives place a responsibility on institutions to advertise certain types of contract, above pre-determined values, in the OJEU and on Contracts Finder and thereafter deal with the tendering and award of such contracts using a pre-determined set of procedures and practices. Note: there is a requirement to follow the principles of the EU Treaty upon which the legislation is based, in all public procurement activity - this has been re-emphasised in challenges where the European Commission has questioned Member States' failure to advertise requirements, even though the procurements fell under the appropriate financial thresholds. The outcome of these challenges is to highlight the need for the level and type of advertising used to be sufficient to ensure adequate competition when the contract may have cross border interest.
The current statutory instruments that impact on the procurement practices of the public sector are:
- The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
- the Public Contracts and Utilities Contracts (CPV Code Amendments) Regulations 2008 (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
- the Public Supply Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2006 which relates to Scotland
The Cabinet Office Transposing the EU Directives has a summary of both the EU Directives and the UK Regulations.
The material provided here is an overview of the legislation implementing EU procurement law within the UK. It looks particularly at the applications of the legislation in the FE sector. It aims to guide the reader through the legislation, but is not a substitute for the legislation itself, which should remain the key reference document for individual procurements.