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The Public Contract Regulations (PCR) 2015 have now been released, with most of the regulations coming into effect on the 26th February 2015 and the remaining ones by 18thOctober 2018. A copy of PCR 2015 can be found here.

These regulations will replace PCR 2006 and although they do not apply retrospectively, they will apply for any new procurement processes beginning on or after the 26th February.

There are some key changes, including:

  • a new procedure for ‘Innovation Partnerships’ which  allows for the entire project scope  to be competed in one go, from cradle to grave.  It also gives buyers the option of awarding successive stages to one or many suppliers and takes away the requirement for a Prime Contractor;
  •  a number of provisions which open up opportunities for SMEs ;
  • the removal of the requirement for consortia to be legally formed before contract award;
  • updates to the rules governing material changes to contracts and the extent to which such changes would constitute a “new” contract which should be re-advertised;
  • a mandate for 30 day payment terms to be passed down the supply chain; and
  • a requirement that all public sector contracts must be accessible on Contracts Finder.

The core principles of the Public Contract Regulations clearly remain unchanged – those of transparency, auditability, non-discrimination, equal treatment and proportionality.  The new PCR 2015 introduces a multitude of updates such as revisions to procurement timescales, changes to the MEAT award criteria, adjustments to the way cost is considered and amendments to the contract changes allowable.   

These updates to the regulations will affect both buyers and bidders, and will likely take some time to get used to.   It could also prove costly to organisations if they are not followed and implemented correctly.

One of our consultants, Richard Tottman, has been tracking the legislation since the EU Directives came into force. He has ensured that our team has been using the principles of the PCR 2015 legislation over the past few months, and is ready to deploy it immediately. Our enviable experience gained using PCR 2006 and DSPCR 2011 puts our team in the front line as experts.  Richard welcomes the PCR 2015 updates, commenting “It is great to see this legislation in place. It offers greater clarity over many of the issues that professional public procurers have faced since 2006”.

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