A recent High Court decision relating to the outsourcing of a range of back office support and regulatory services is a reminder that it is not only disgruntled tenderers or contractors who may challenge procurement processes. It also emphasises the importance of making sure that compliant processes – in particular consultation requirements - are followed at the planning stage, well before the procurement is advertised and the detailed public procurement rules kick in.
Monitor is currently undertaking a consultation on its draft guidance on the new NHS (PPCC) Regulations that came into effect on 1 April 2013 amidst concerns that all NHS contracts would be subject to procurement.
The Government has published its response to the consultation on reforming the judicial review process that was issued in December 2012. Despite admitting that most respondents opposed the proposals and criticised the consultation process, the Government is pressing ahead with reforms that it considers are necessary to target large numbers of “weak, frivolous and unmeritorious cases”.
This update contains brief details of recent key policy, legislation and case law developments relevant to those involved in procurement work, that have been published in the past three months.
From 1 April 2013, Clinical Commissioning Groups and the NHS Commissioning Board must comply with new NHS (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No.2) Regulations 2013 that cover not only the award of new contracts but also the setting up of qualified provider lists and frameworks.
These new regulations have quickly followed the initial regulations after widespread concerns on their potential implications as originally drafted. This article sets out what the new regulations say and what they will mean for commissioners, and highlights some of the areas which still lack clarity and where further guidance may be needed.
ECO represents a significant opportunity for local authorities and registered providers on the one hand and for energy companies and third party contractors and service companies on the other. The big six energy companies are seeking to work directly with those public authorities who have housing stock to see what ECO can be applied to that stock.
There are, however, a number of factors for local authorities and registered providers to consider carefully before taking the first offer made by an obligated energy supplier.
At the end of January, HM Treasury and IUK jointly published the "Infrastructure Procurement Routemap - a guide to improving delivery capabilities".
Aimed "primarily at the sponsor and client organisations that develop major projects and programmes, long term capital investment plans and publicly procured mega-projects", it is already being adopted by the likes of Crossrail, Network Rail and London Underground. The Routemap sets out a four-stage process to be followed before commencing the procurement of any major infrastructure project or programme.
All local authorities with housing responsibilities must prepare a report under the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995 by 31 March 2013, setting out “the local energy conservation measures that a local authority – or groups of authorities – consider practical, cost effective, and likely to significantly improve the energy efficiency of residential accommodation in its area”. Time is running out to finalise the reports ahead of publishing them on the relevant local authority’s website and sending a copy to the Secretary of State.
The EU Commission formally approved the UK Government's support of its Green Deal initiative on 5 February 2013 and found that this support is in line with EU rules on state aid and will ultimately assist competition.
Ever since the Government indicated that it was committed to improving energy efficiency and reducing fuel poverty through the Green Deal initiative, sections of the media and other commentators have lined up to highlight aspects of the Green Deal which they do not believe will work or deliver the expected benefits. So who is right? Is Green Deal the real deal? Is it even the right deal?