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Public Procurement

The public sector procures over £300 billion of works, services, and supplies every year. We know how to advise on procurement strategy and implementation in order to comply with the law, safeguard decision making, and maximise value for money.

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Why work with our Public Procurement team?

The importance of procurement to our award winning public sector practice is shown by the fact that we operate a Procurement Centre of Excellence of over 30 experts who ensure that public sector clients across the UK, and strategic suppliers bidding in response to opportunities, are provided with practical non-contentious and contentious advice.

We recognise that the procurement landscape is changing dramatically in England and Wales with the introduction of the Procurement Act 2023. These changes create opportunities to transform how procurements are conducted. 

By working with us you will have access to:

How we can help you

Members of our Procurement Centre of Excellence can help as we are currently advising on many of the biggest and highest value/profile procurements in the UK. 

We advise on all stages of a procurement (from pre-market engagement to lawfully varying an existing contract) and we offer:


What rules govern the award of public sector contracts?

Currently, the principle procurement rules in England and Wales relating to public sector contracts are set out in:

  • the Public Contracts Regulations 2015; 
  • the Concessions Contracts Regulations 2016; 
  • the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016; and  
  • Defence and security contracts are awarded under The Defence and Security Regulations 2011.

The Procurement Act 2023 will "consolidate the current four sets of procurement regulations, which transpose EU Directives into UK law, into a single regime."

There will be no change to the procurement regulations in Scotland.

When does the new procurement regime commence?
The Procurement Act 2023 received Royal Assent on 26 October 2023 and is expected to be effective from October 2024.
How will the new procurement regime be different?

The Procurement Act 2023 introduces new principles of public procurement:

  • "delivering value for money";
  • "maximising public benefit";
  • "sharing information for the purpose of allowing suppliers and others to understand the authority’s procurement policies and decisions"; and
  • "acting and being seen to act with integrity".

In addition to the above objectives, contracting authorities must also:

  • "treat suppliers the same unless a difference between the suppliers justifies different treatment";
  • "take all reasonable steps to ensure it does not put a supplier at an unfair advantage or disadvantage" unless different treatment is justified in a particular case; and
  • "have regard to the fact that small and medium-sized enterprises may face particular barriers to participation" and consider whether such barriers can be mitigated.

It also introduces simplified procurement procedures. It intends "to make procurement procedures more flexible and less prescriptive". Whilst there are a number of detailed procurement procedures under the PCR 2015, the Act reduces the competitive tendering procedures available to either:

  • a single stage tendering procedure that does not restrict who can submit a tender (the "Open Procedure"); or
  • "such other competitive tendering procedure as the contracting authority considers appropriate" (the "Competitive Flexible Procedure", which is a new procedure). 

This new procedure aims to give contracting authorities the necessary flexibility to design bespoke competitions which suit their needs, as well as the wider market. The Act allows contracting authorities to flex their procedure as long as it is proportionate to the nature, complexity and costs of the contract.

Does DWF only work for public sector clients?

DWF is one of the leading advisers on public procurement matters. We act for a wide range of clients, including Central Government, Local Authorities and many key private sector suppliers to the public sector. 

We have the experience to understand how to apply the detailed technical rules in practice. We help public sector clients to design effective and compliant tender procedures.

What is the DWF Procurement Centre of Excellence?

Our Procurement Centre of Excellence is our internal network of procurement specialists who advise Central and Local Government, and Utilities and Health Authorities on their procurement of goods, works and services. 

We offer clients industry leading experts in the subject matter of their procurement (for example housing, regeneration or infrastructure) and specialist support from procurement experts, including in the field of procurement litigation.  

Led by our procurement specialists, the Procurement Centre of Excellence shares knowledge and best practice across the business so as to make sure our clients get the best support available.

Case studies

  • Department for Work and Pensions
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    Department for Work and Pensions

    Advising the Department for Work and Pensions on their £160m Contact Centre project conducted in accordance with the competitive procedure with negotiation pursuant to the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.
  • Scottish Government
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    Scottish Government

    Advising Scottish Government in relation to its £600m R100 broadband rollout programme in Scotland, advising on a complex, multi-Lot procurement exercise conducted via the Competitive Dialogue procedure (pursuant to The Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015) and outsourcing/contracting out of services, and on the negotiation and finalisation of contracts across all Lots.
  • Sheffield City Council
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    Sheffield City Council

    Advising Sheffield City Council on 3 separate procurements running in parallel to procure an operator for their (i) leisure estate (£420m contract value conducted in accordance with the CCR 2016), (ii) Arena (£310m contract value conducted in accordance with the PCR 2015), and (iii) City Hall (£185m contract value conducted in accordance with the PCR 2015).

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