The Cabinet Office has updated its Legal and Policy requirements for publishing procurement information, replacing references to the OJEU and TED with the UK government's new Find a Tender Service (FTS) following the end of the Brexit transition period.
The guidance applies to procurements that are subject to the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCRs 2015). The PCRs 2015 require the majority of above-threshold contract opportunities to be advertised across the UK on Find a Tender (FTS), the UK's new e-notification service, and also on Contracts Finder.
Where the Regulations require a notice to be published on the UK e-notification service, it must be published on FTS before being published on Contracts Finder or anywhere else, the note says.
Once a contract has been awarded as a result of a procurement process, contracting authorities must also publish information on Contracts Finder about the awarded contract, including the date of the award and the details of who has won the contract.
The procurement policy note also clarifies the date on which a "Contract award" is made as the date on which the contract is signed by the last contracting party, to avoid varying interpretations.
Timescales should now be taken to commence on the day after the contract has been signed by the last contracting party and, if the deadline for publication of the information falls on a non-working day, the contracting authority has until the end of the next working day to publish the information on Contracts Finder, the guidance says.
The definition of "Central Government" has also been updated to have the same meaning as the definition of central government authorities in regulation 2 (i.e. schedule 1 of the PCRs 2015).
Sub-central authorities, which includes local authorities, will continue to be required to publish contract details where the contract value is worth more than £25,000 net of VAT.
Guidance on transparency requirements for publishing on Contracts Finder was also set out in the note. The guidance lays out the minimum amount of information required for the publication of a contract notice. This includes:
- the time by which any interested supplier must respond if it wishes to be considered;
- how and to whom an interested supplier is to respond, with appropriate contact details; and,
- any other requirements for participating in the procurement, (e.g. suitability requirements or explanatory information).
When a contract has been awarded, the following information is required to be published on Contracts Finder:
- the full company name of the winning contractor;
- the date on which the contract was entered into (award date);
- the total value of the contract in pounds sterling; and
- an indication of whether the contractor is an SME or a VCSE
This information is also required to be published in relation to contracts awarded as a result of a Framework Agreement, the document notes.
The full guidance can be read here.