Our second post of 2014 on the key developments in public procurement policy lawyers need to be aware of covers the period from March to May 2014. It does not consider case law as this is covered in our monthly public procurement case digest. For a summary of the latest cases, see Public procurement case digest (April 2014).
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Reform of the EU public procurement regime
On 28 March 2014, the following new directives were published in the Official Journal:
- Directive 2014/23 on the award of concession contracts (OJ 2014 L94/1).
- Directive 2014/24 on public procurement and repealing Directive 2004/18 (OJ 2014 L94/65).
- Directive 2014/25 on procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors and repealing Directive 2004/17 (OJ 2014 L94/243).
The Directives came into force on 17 April 2014 and must be implemented by the EU member states by 18 April 2016.
We have updated our Practice note, Reform of the EU public procurement regime to reflect the new directives.
Directive on electronic invoicing in public procurement published
On 6 May 2014, Directive 2014/55 on electronic invoicing in public procurement was published in the Official Journal.
The Directive intends to reduce one of the obstacles for competing in the internal market by providing for the development of a common, interoperable standard on electronic invoicing by European standard organisations, which is to be adopted within 36 months after entry into force of the Directive.
The following deadlines apply:
- Member states must adopt measures to implement the Directive by 27 November 2018.
- Member states have 18 months from the publication of the European standard in the Official Journal to ensure their contracting authorities and entities only receive and process electronic invoices that comply with the standard (though this deadline may be postponed to 30 months for local and regional contracting authorities).
WTO Agreement on Government Procurement amended
On 6 April 2014, the Protocol Amending the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) came into force.
The amended agreement should enable:
- Better market access as a large number of government entities (ministries and agencies) and new services and other areas of public procurement activity have been added to the GPA’s scope of application.
- Public procurement rules in the GPA jurisdictions to be more transparent and predictable, in line with the spirit of the recently adopted reforms of EU public procurement rules.
Launch of Crown Commercial Service and standard terms for goods and services
On 2 April 2014, the Crown Commercial Service was formally established. It is an executive agency of the Cabinet Office and includes the Government Procurement Service.
On 8 April 2014, the Crown Commercial Service and the Government Legal Service published short form terms and conditions for the procurement of low value goods and services by the public sector. They should not be used for IT and construction contracts.
Security of government documents
On 2 April 2014, the new government scheme came into force.
OFT publishes report into procurement of ICT
On 25 March 2014, the OFT published its final report following a market study into the supply of ICT to the public sector. The report identifies several features of the market that mean competition does not work as effectively as it could. It also recommends that public sector purchasers improve the way they procure and manage their ICT contracts by, for example:
- Sharing experiences of good practice within the public sector.
- Cooperate with other public sector purchasers to improve access to specialist, independent advice and shared support.
- Considering the scope for standardising products and services to allow for aggregation of spend and to facilitate switching.
DoH publishes guidance on procurement transparency
On 31 March 2014, the Department of Health published guidance on procurement transparency for NHS providers.
The guidance builds on the government’s commitment to establish a national spend analysis and price benchmarking service to identify value for money, and increase transparency about how public money is being spent.