The government has issued advice on the accessing of public sector contracts if there is no Brexit deal. Its advice covers the current procurement landscape before 29th March 2019 and the situation afterwards.
The advice explains that under the UK’s EU membership, all procurement opportunities that fall within the scope of EU procurement directives are advertised on the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) via Tenders Electronic Daily (TED).
Procurement opportunities for below threshold contracts that do not fall within the scope of EU procurement directives are currently advertised on ‘domestic’ portals such as Contracts Finder, Public Contracts Scotland, Sell2Wales and eTendersNI.
After March 2019 if there’s no Brexit deal in place regarding future arrangements on access to OJEU/TED, a replacement UK-specific e-notification service will be made available. Changes to the procurement rules will then be made via amendments to existing legislation, to ensure continued operability.
The government said all contract opportunities that would currently be published on OJEU/TED would be published on the new UK e-notification service. The government said this would be in line with the current requirements to send notices to the EU Publications Office for publication on OJEU/TED. Publication would take place electronically and the service will be free for all users, it said.
The government said the UK is aiming to accede to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) that the UK currently participates in by virtue of its EU membership.
The implications of a no deal Brexit on contracting authorities or entities is that they would need to ensure that their contract notices are published on the UK e-notification service rather than on OJEU/TED. The requirement to advertise in Contracts Finder, MOD Defence Contracts Online, Public Contracts Scotland, Sell2Wales and eTendersNI would remain.
Those contracting authorities and entities that are currently working with a third party such as an ‘E-Sender’ or ‘E-Publisher’ to publish to OJEU/TED should be able to continue to work with their provider to publish on the UK e-notification service, the government said.
Contracting authorities and entities that place their contract opportunities directly on to OJEU/TED will be contacted to ensure that they are familiar with the new UK e-notification service, it added.
The government said there will be more engagement about how to deal with ongoing procurement procedures in the handover period between the two systems nearer the time.
For suppliers, those wishing to access contract opportunities from the UK public sector will also need to access the new UK e-notification service, which will be available from Exit day.
As for contracting authorities, suppliers will be able to continue to access the relevant domestic portals, such as Contracts Finder, MOD Defence Contracts Online, Public Contracts Scotland, Sell2Wales and eTendersNI.
Suppliers who wish to access contract opportunities from the EU may continue to do so via OJEU/TED, the government said. It also pointed suppliers to the EU’s own advice on public procurement.