With the UK now no longer leaving the European Union until 31 October 2019, unless the current deadlock with in parliament can be broken, uncertainty for procurement professionals across the country continues. The UK was scheduled to leave the EU on 29 March, but the date was initially extended to 12 April 2019. Now, with another six-month extension, MPs have more time to work out the best way forward, having not ratified the deal brokered by Theresa May so far.
Until the UK formally leaves the European Union, EU rules still stand when it comes to procurement. The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 states that all ongoing procurement procedures during the extension period will continue as stipulated until the contract is awarded to a supplier.
It is anticipated that the current guidance on procurement will be part of UK law once the country formally leaves the EU.
In case of no-deal Brexit
While the UK has until October to agree to a deal with the European Union and get it ratified in Parliament, should the country leave the EU without a deal, the Government says that most laws surrounding procurement will remain the same, as relevant regulations are already part of UK and Scottish law.
While MPs continue negotiations to work out a compromise deal, should the UK leave without a deal, it could cause major change for procurement in the UK. UK companies wishing to work with the EU would have to apply for an EORI number to continue procurement unhindered.
However, members of the World Trade Organization have stated that the UK would be able to become an independent member of the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) in the event of a ‘no-deal’ exit, which would allow businesses to bid for contracts with fellow member states.