On 5 September 2018, the House of Commons released a Briefing Paper highlighting the effect of Brexit on the UK’s public procurement sector.
Current public procurement policies
The existing public procurement in the UK is governed by rules from the EU Directives and Treaty Principles, ensuring that:
- All opportunities on public procurement must be advertised if there is a cross-border interest
- Public procurement opportunities must be open to suppliers from EU member states
The UK uses its regulations to manage the selection of suppliers and vendors and the awarding of contracts. As per UK laws, these can be challenged in court. EU laws apply to all EEA countries.
Since the UK is a member of the EU, the World Trade Organisation, the General Procurement Agreement, and other trade agreements that EU has with other countries also apply to the UK.
Procurement after Brexit
When the UK exits the European Union, existing procurement laws implemented due to EU Directives will continue to govern public procurement, as per the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, which would allow the British regulations to apply to procurement above a certain threshold. This is where the issue comes up, as there is ambiguity about the applicability of the Treaty principles in the future for cases where the UK regulations don’t apply.
It is expected that the Withdrawal Agreement, which the UK is currently negotiating with the EU, will provide for a transition period, ending 2020. It is hoped that during this time, the existing EU laws will continue to apply to UK procurement and after the period ends, the UK will have the freedom to develop its public procurement laws and regulations.
General Procurement Agreement after Brexit
After the UK exits the European Union, it is anticipated that the international agreements the UK has signed will govern the procurement contracts. The government is taking measures to ensure the UK remains part of the General Procurement Agreement by trying to get an independent membership for the country on the same terms that apply to it as an EU member state.
Ed founded Odesma in 2014 with the explicit intent of creating a new kind of procurement consultancy founded entirely on cloud principles. Deploying best-of-breed subject matter experts alongside the best on demand technology to deliver rapid and effective change for customers.