The new regulations took effect earlier in the year and subject to various transitional provisions and exceptions, replaced the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 (PCR 2006) with effect from 26th February 2015.
The new regulations apply to contracts where the award procedure commenced on or after 26th February 2015 – the term “commenced” including advertisement via Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) notice, or circumstances where a contracting authority has approached a supplier to seek an expression of interest. Whilst the situation regarding prior information notices issued before 26th February 2015 is not entirely clear, our feeling is that they would be insufficient to constitute commencement of the tender process.
The regulations have not only introduced a series of changes, but have also brought some clarity to certain areas of the procurement process. As a consequence, some of the key points that need to be borne in mind by contracting authorities include:
Timescales for all tender procedures have been shortened but contracting authorities will need to ensure that they allow bidders sufficient time to respond if they are to secure the best results.
- The need to understand and recognise any potential conflicts of interest, including the possibility of any conflict of interest between suppliers and the authority’s insurance broker.
- Careful consideration needs to be given to the structure of lots and the desirability or otherwise of package discounts.
- The need to ensure that bidders can access all procurement documents via the internet.
- The regulations provide more clarity on the need for retender in the event of a breach of the long term agreement.
- All relevant contracts must be publicised on contracts finder, even those for which the contracting authority has issued a contract notice.
We have produced a guidance note, summarising some of the key provisions of the new regulations. The guidance does not attempt to cover every aspect of regulations but instead, focuses on areas that are likely to impact on the procurement of insurance services. In addition, we have avoided commenting on areas where there has been either little or no material change from the 2006 regulations.
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For further information, please contact Bill Walker, Risk Management & Sales Executive, Public Sector Risk Practice on +44 (0)20 7528 3272