Our comments on UK proposed changes to EU procurement regs (part 2)

We started yesterday going through the 9 recommendations that the UK has made in terms of changes ot the EU procurement regulations.  Here are the final four - I’ve rated each for whether it seems sensible; and for my personal view on whether the EU is likely to accept it as an idea.

• Allow more flexibility on when and how suppliers’ and service providers’ past performance, skills and quality of service can be taken into account.

This is the whole business around the separation of what you can ask at PQQ compared to tender stage.  the current rules do appear complex and bureaucratic but there is some logic to them. For instance, would it be right to get a supplier to tender stage, and then suddenly decide they don’t have the skills to do the work/ (You can’t do that at the moment).  So I know where the UK thinking is coming from, but we probably need some good debate around this, and I suspect the EU will want to think carefully about this issue which is surprisingly complex.

Sensibleness rating :      Medium                   Chance of change:           Medium

 

• Simplify and reduce the burden of supporting documents which candidates have to provide

The detailed document says: “Provide that only short-listed candidates/the winning bidder should be required to submit and verify supporting evidence regarding selection criteria”.

I must confess – I didn’t know that it was the EU Regs that required the “burden of supporting documents “. I thought it was usually the risk averse nature of the contracting authorities themselves who require lots of documents. But if the Regs can be changed to help, then yes, certainly a good idea!

Sensibleness rating :      High                          Chance of change:           High

 

• Provide more flexibility in the use of electronic marketplaces by public authorities

Absolutely yes – as long as we can keep the principles of fairness and transparency, the regulations need to move with the times and make it easier to use marketplaces, eSourcing, perhaps even optimisation platforms and technology. I think we will see some relaxation / change here, although perhaps not as much as we might ideally like.

Sensibleness rating :      High                         Chance of change:           High

 

• Provide clarification and clearer guidance on how social and environmental issues can be taken into account, and how they can help to achieve value for money.

There’s no doubt that there can be merit in considering this type of issues for certain contracts. But the regulations are currently unclear; I’ve heard procurement people arguing that using “equalities” as a marked evaluation criterion for an office supplies contract is fine – not my interpretation! More clarity would be much appreciated.

Sensibleness rating :      High                          Chance of change:           High

 

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