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The Procurement Bill: Updated timeline and commencement announced

25 July 2023

The Procurement Bill is set to substantially reform the public procurement rules applicable to public bodies in the UK. In this article, our Public Sector experts consider the Bill's commencement and ongoing regulatory consultation.

Proposed implementation date of Procurement Act

Following a protracted journey through Parliament, the Procurement Bill ("the Bill") has now been through the Commons Report and Third Reading stages, and is now with the House of Lords for 'consideration of amendments'. Subject to further amendments by the House of Lords or the Commons, the Procurement Bill will proceed to Royal Assent. Following a six-month preparation period (estimated to begin  in April/May 2024), the Government Commercial Function has advised that it expects that the commencement of the new Procurement Act 2023 ("the Act") will take place in October 2024.

Consultation of draft secondary legislation

The first of a two-part public consultation of the secondary legislation that will sit under the Act was launched on 19 June 2023, and is due to run until 28 July 2023.

Part 1 of the consultation covers the Procurement Act 2023 (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2024, which are expected to form a vital part of the new regulatory regime. These regulations refer predominantly to areas of the Bill which require lists, calculations or further definitions to be used in practice and covers the following subjects:

  • Scope of Light Touch Regime Contracts and Reservable Light Touch Services;
  • Exempt Contracts: Vertical and Horizontal Activities calculations;
  • Exempt Contracts: Utilities Intra-group Turnover calculations;
  • Utility Turnover and Supply Tests;
  • Intra-UK Procurement;
  • Definitions of ‘Central Government Authority’ and ‘Works’ for thresholds;
  • Disapplication of section 17 of the Local Government Act 1988; and
  • Disapplication in regard to NHS procurement.

Part 2 of the consultation will cover the provisionally titled Procurement Act 2023 (Online Systems and Notices) Regulations 2024, which will focus on the new and existing transparency provisions, and notices to be used by contracting authorities under the Bill.

The Government Commercial Function have further advised that this part of the consultation will also include information on the proposed approach to transitional arrangements for procurements already underway at the time that the new regime enters into force, and the position on other legislation that will need to be amended in order for the full provisions of the Act to take effect.

Part 2 of the consultation launched on 17 July 2023 and is expected to conclude on 25 August 2023, which takes place online – local authorities may respond via digital survey or by post by emailing procurement.reform@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

DWF's award-winning public sector team is on-hand to advise on the existing regime as well as what the reforms will mean for both public sector purchasers and private sector suppliers, please get in touch to find out how we can help your organisation.

Further Reading