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Public procurement policy review: June to November 2016

This post sets out the key developments in public procurement legislation and policy that lawyers need to be aware of and covers the period from June to November 2016. The post does not consider case law as this is covered in our monthly public case digest. For a summary of the latest cases, see Public Procurement case digest (August-September 2016). A new case digest covering cases from October and November 2016 will be published at the start of December.

Subscribers to Practical Law can keep up to date with the latest public procurement developments by signing up to the Practical Law Public Law or Practical Law Local Government email updates (available weekly) or the Practical Law Competition updates (available daily).

European Commission decisions

The European Commission has published the following key decisions in the Official Journal:

  • On 4 October 2016, the European Commission published an implementing decision on the identification of ICT technical specifications for referencing in public procurement. The Commission’s decision sets out six ICT specifications that are eligible for referencing in public procurement. The decision has been adopted after consultation with, in particular, the European multi-stakeholder platform on ICT standardisation.
  • On 17 September 2016, the European Commission published a decision finding that Directive 2014/25 on procurement by utility companies (the new Utilities Directive) shall not apply to contracts awarded by contracting entities and intended to enable the retail supply of electricity and gas to certain customers in Germany.
  • On 4 August 2016, the European Commission published a notice extending its deadline for considering a request from Flughagen Wien under Article 35 of the new Utilities Directive. Under Article 35, a member state or contracting authority may apply to the Commission to establish that the new Utilities Directive does not apply to the award of contracts for relevant activities that are directly exposed to competition in markets to which access is not restricted.
  • On 22 July 2016, the European Commission published a decision that the new Utilities Directive shall not apply to contracts awarded by contracting entities and intended to enable the following services to be carried out in Poland: clearance, sorting, transport and delivery of courier items; unaddressed mail items; and printing and packaging services.
  • On 1 July 2016, the European Commission published a notice extending its deadline for considering a request from the German Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry under Article 35 of the new Utilities Directive.

Crown Commercial Service guidance

The Crown Commercial Service has issued Policy Notes and guidance:

Other government publications

  • On 21 October 2016, the Department of Health published new guidance on the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 for commissioners of healthcare services.
  • From 5 September 2016, the Cabinet Office began publishing a series of case studies showing how providers apply social value.
  • On 30 June 2016, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Ministry of Defence and UK Trade & Investment published a guide to navigating NATO procurement.

European Court of Auditors special report

On 15 July 2016, the European Court of Auditors published a special report examining the public procurement rules applicable to EU institutions and the extent to which more could be done to facilitate access to their public procurement.

European Commission guide to Public-Private Partnerships accounting

On 29 September 2016, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank launched the Eurostat Guide to the Statistical Treatment of Public-Private Partnerships, which is intended to provide a clear overview of the potential impact of PPPs on government finances.

The role of state aid rules in supporting investment and protecting competition

On 14 October 2016, the European Commission published a speech by Margrethe Vestager, Competition Commissioner, in which she discussed the use of the state aid rules to support investment and protect competition. The Commissioner explained the importance of ensuring that member states are able to make vital investments in, for example, new energy plants and transport infrastructure. She noted how a large amount of state funding falls outside the state aid rules as it either does not constitute state aid or falls within the General Block Exemption Regulation.


We have published the following blogs likely to be relevant to procurement practitioners:

Selected Asks

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