The Cabinet Office has published its long-awaited Green Paper “Transforming public procurement” launching a consultation process on proposals for changes in the legal and operational framework for public procurement.
The 82 page Green Paper is presented in eight chapters. Some of the issues raised in these chapters are mentioned below.
Chapter 1: Procurement that better meets the UK’s needs
Enshrining principles of public good, value for money, transparency, integrity, fair treatment and non-discrimination with each of these principles described in the Green Paper; requiring contracting authorities to have regard to a new National Procurement Policy Statement; establishing a new unit within the Cabinet Office supported by an independent panel of experts, to oversee public procurement and with powers to review and intervene.
Chapter 2: A simpler regulatory framework
Proposing that all current core procurement regulations, covering the public sector, utilities, concessions and defence & security, are integrated into a single uniform regulatory framework .There are no proposals to incorporate other “stand-alone” legislation such as The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 and NHS or local government specific legislation.
Chapter 3: Using the right procurement procedures
Proposals to replace the 8 existing procurement procedures with 3 “simple, modern procedures” – an open procedure for simpler “off the shelf” competitions, a new flexible procedure permitting negotiation and a limited tendering procedure available in limited circumstances such as crisis or extreme urgency. It is also proposed to remove the light touch regime.
Chapter 4: Awarding the right contract to the right supplier
Allowing contracting authorities more flexibility to secure best outcomes by requiring evaluation of bids on the basis of the “Most Advantageous Tender” rather the Most Economically Advantageous Tender; retaining the requirement to link award criteria to the subject matter of the contract but with specified exceptions; exploring the possibility of developing a centrally managed debarment list of suppliers; broadening the range of instances where poor performance can be taken into account.
Chapter 5: Using the best commercial purchasing tools
Proposing a new Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS+) that may be used for all types of procurement; new options for framework agreements including “open” framework agreements of up to 8 years.
Chapter 6: Ensuring open and transparent contracting
Significantly increasing transparency requirements and requiring all contracting authorities to implement the Open Contracting Data Standard (an international open standard for publication of information relating to planning, procurement and implementation of public contracts); establishing a single digital platform for supplier registration.
Chapter 7: Fair and fast challenges to procurement decisions
Reforming the Court process to introduce a tailored expedited process, speed-up the review system and make it more accessible; investigate the use of a tribunal system to deal with low value claims and issues in ongoing procurements; capping the level of damages available; removing the requirement to provide an individual debrief letter to each bidder at the end of the procurement process – after introduction of more robust transparency publication requirements.
Chapter 8: Effective contract management
Further legislation to tackle payment delays; requirement to publish contract amendment notices.
There are 42 consultation questions. The consultation period will close on 10 March 2021.
 Procurement of healthcare services: Paragraph 50 of the Green Paper states “the procurement of healthcare services is not being considered as part of this Green Paper because the Department of Health and Social Care is continuing to consider next steps in relation to NHSE proposals on procurement in the Long Term Plan.”