The Cabinet Office has published Procurement Policy Note PPN 08/20 on the new Find a Tender Service.
PPN 08/20 applies to all contracting authorities in respect of procurements regulated by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016, the Concession Contracts Regulations 2016, and the Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011.
Find a Tender Service (FTS) will be the UK’s new e-notification that will replace the OJEU/Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) for publication of procurement notices after 11pm on 31 December 2020 (the end of the Transition Period).
The FTS is essentially a substitute for the OJEU/TED, so the requirements to publish on FTS will only apply to above-threshold regulated procurements. Where there is currently no obligation to publish in the OJEU/TED there will be no obligation to publish on FTS.
FTS will be available from the end of the Transition Period at this web address: https://www.find-tender.service.gov.uk/. At the moment the website contains a holding message saying that the service “will be deployed at the end of the Transition Period”.
The basic public procurement rules (including the applicable thresholds) will not change at the end of the Transition Period.
Where a procurement is “launched” after the end of the Transition Period contracting authorities will be required to publish notices on FTS, and not the OJEU/TED.
Where a procurement has been “launched” and not “finalised” by 11pm on 31 December 2020 then notices must continue to be published in the OJEU/TED. In relation to those procurements, contracting authorities are encouraged (but not required) to also publish notices in FTS. Where they do so then notices must be published first in the OJEU/TED and then in FTS.
- A procedure is “launched” when a call for competition or any other invitation to submit applications has been made in accordance with the applicable Regulations. Where the Regulations do not require such a call or invitation, a procedure is “launched” when the contracting authority contacts economic operators in relation to a specific procedure.
- A procedure is “finalised” when a contract award notice is published or, where a contract award notice is not required, upon conclusion of the relevant contract. When an authority decides not to award the contract the procedure is “finalised” when it informs the tenderers or those otherwise entitled to participate of the reasons why the contract was not awarded.
All of the existing obligations to publish contracts on Contracts Finder remain unaffected. Where a contracting authority publishes a notice on FTS and Contracts Finder then it must publish on FTS first.
Where contracting authorities work with third party providers (“E-senders”) to submit OJEU notices they will be able to continue to use them as long as the provider has completed integration works to enable them to use FTS. A list of those providers who have completed integration work is linked to in the PPN and is available here.
Contracting authorities will need a Supplier Registration Service (“SRS”) account in order to use FTS.
- Existing Contracts Finder users will automatically be enabled to publish to FTS.
- Contracting Authorities that do not have a Contracts Finder or an SRS account will need to register as a buyer on Contracts Finder here.
- Contracting authorities that do have an SRS account but not a Contracts Finder account will need to go to Contracts Finder and log in with the SRS credentials.
The PPN “requests” all contracting authorities to make their suppliers aware of the changes outlined in the PPN.
The Cabinet Office has also published a Frequently Asked Questions document and a “Where to publish your notices” flowchart.
The FAQ document states that all the current procurement notices will exist and be available on FTS.
Any enquiries about the new FTS service can be directed to the Crown Commercial Service Helpdesk on 0345 410 2222 or email@example.com.
For details on the amendments to the procurement regulations which includes the definitions for “Launched” and “finalised”, please see our recent article.