Post-Brexit procurement changes for education

by Ben McGirr and Toshif Vally, Category Specialists, Education Buying
On 15 December 2020, the government announced key proposals for transforming public procurement post-Brexit which will potentially impact how schools, colleges and trusts purchase services and products.

Here are five key points that you need to consider:
  1. A new group to intervene and drive-up standards: those who regularly breach procurement rules could face an ‘intervention’, making the need for compliance and advice more important.
  2. Seven procurement procedures could merge into three new procedures: giving you greater flexibility and ability to negotiate complex tenders (such as cleaning and catering), while maintaining the most common tender type.
  3. Increased flexibility in evaluating tenders: allows you to consider social value when you evaluate suppliers (for example, the impact on a pupil’s education and development), and less restrictions in taking past performance into account. Some limitations are expected in this area.
  4. Flexible agreements, allowing new suppliers to join existing agreements: currently, no new suppliers can join an agreement once it has been established which potentially limits innovation. This proposal enables you to consider others outside of your agreement which can potentially increase your savings.
  5. Enhanced flexibility in “times of crisis”: based on lessons learned during the pandemic, it would regulate new tenders and amendments to current contracts in times of crisis. This means that you may be allowed shorter timescales for tenders, or you could even avoid procurement. Other conditions would set out rules on how to modify existing contracts during crisis (for example, changes in timescales, costs), without breaking procurement rules on contract modifications.
The proposals in the Green Paper are likely to become fact. The next steps after the consultation period will be the production of a White Paper followed by the implementation of changes. The timescales have not been published yet, although it is anticipated that the implementation will likely take place in the next 12-18 months.

To prepare for the changes, it is advised that schools, colleges and trusts regularly take account of future notifications. These will be published on the Education Buying website, together with making themselves familiar with the proposals set out in the Green Paper.

More  detailed information on the proposals within the Green Paper: Transforming public procurement consultation is provided on Education Buying’s website here. The consultation closes on 10 March 2021.
Posted: 18/01/2021 08:32:50