The primary function of 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 The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 as amended and reflect the UK government's policy that public sector purchasing decisions should be based on value for money achieved through competition. The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 remain in place after the UK exits the EU. A consultation on how these regulations could change now the UK has left the EU is taking place. No amendments to The Public Contracts Regulations are expected to be implemented until September 2023.
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 thresholds
- Award procedures
- Prior Information Notices
- Supplier selection criteria
- Award criteria
- Advertising requirements (inc. Contracts Finder)
- Tender documentation – inc. division into Lots, specifications, variant bids etc
- Notification of contract award
- Regulation breaches (supplier challenges)
- Public sector to public sector contracts
- Modification to contracts
Impact on institutions
The Regulations place a responsibility on institutions to advertise certain types of contract, above pre-determined values, on the Find a Tender Service and on Contracts Finder and thereafter deal with the tendering and award of such contracts using a pre-determined set of procedures and practices.
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 Concessions Contracts Regulations 2016
- 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.
Recent Case Law
You can search for legal judgements on the British and Irish Legal Information Institute website.
Use the Case Law Search function and enter 'public contract regulations' into the Exact phrase search field. This should produce a list of recent judgements on cases that are brought under The Public Contracts Regulations.