Public Contracts Regulations 2015 published
The new Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/102) ("the Regulations”) were published and laid before Parliament on 5 February 2015. To download the Regulations from the Government's Legislation website please click here.
Most of the Regulations came into force in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on 26 February 2015 (Regulation 1(2)). There are a few exceptions, where the Regulations will come into force at a later date. The key exceptions are:
Procurement of health services for the purposes of the NHS within the meaning and scope of the NHS (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No.2) Regulations
Provisions requiring advertising of both below and above threshold contracts on Contracts Finder (in addition to publication in the Official Journal of the European Union) and publication of contract award information on Contracts Finder will apply from 1 April 2015 (Reg 1(6)(b)).
Where a contract award procedure starts before 26 February 2015 the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 will continue to apply. Regulation 118 defines what is meant by the start of a contract award procedure and also covers the issue of the award of contracts under framework agreements and dynamic purchasing systems.
The “national” provisions in Part 4 of the Regulations do not apply to a contracting authority in Northern Ireland and Wales whose functions are wholly or mainly devolved functions. The “national” provisions primarily concern qualitative selection, abolition of PQQs and advertising requirements for low value contracts, and payment of invoices (Reg 1(8)).
The Regulations do not apply in Scotland, except in relation to provisions concerning the amendment of the Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011 (Reg 1(7)).
The Regulations are divided into five parts.
Part 1, Regulations 1 and 2, set out information on commencement and application, as well as the definitions
Part 2, Regulations 3 to 84, implement Directive 2014/24/EU. The drafters have used a “copy out” approach which means that the content has been copied from the Directive with minimal changes.
Part 3, Regulations 85 to 104, set out the provisions concerning Remedies. There are very minimal changes to the provisions in the 2006 Regulations on remedies.
Part 4, Regulations 105 to 114, set out “national” provisions which are driven primarily by the recommendations of Lord Young concerning low value procurements, the pre-qualification process, payment of invoices and validity of contracts.
Part 5, Regulations 115 to 122, deal with transitional arrangements, temporary exemptions and other general issues.
Regulations applying to Utilities are expected later in the year and we expect that the new Regulations on Concessions will be implemented by April 2016.