Procurement Act

Procurement Act - next steps

We will shortly be approaching the next significant phase for implementation of the Procurement Act 2023. In the coming weeks we will be publishing the formal response to the consultation undertaken last year on the proposed secondary legislation.  We expect to lay the secondary legislation itself in mid to late March, though this is subject to Parliamentary timescales. The Statutory Instrument will be available to view online once it is laid, and we will share a link with all our stakeholders.

We continue to plan for commencement of the new regime in October 2024, preceded by a six month preparation period - we will be making a formal announcement of this commencement date in due course. The next step in the learning journey will be to launch our e-Learning package aimed at practitioners, and begin publishing a suite of technical guidance documents covering different elements and aspects of the Act.

As part of your preparation you should take time to become familiar with the Act which you can view on the UK legislation website. For clarity, the Act is officially titled the Procurement Act 2023 - this is the primary legislation, but the secondary legislation that sits under it will be called the Procurement Regulations 2024.

Learning & Development update

To support preparation and implementation we are providing a comprehensive package of L&D materials and are putting the finishing touches together for this in anticipation.

In December, we launched the Knowledge Drops - a series of on-demand videos with specific content for contracting authorities and for suppliers - including SME and VCSE suppliers. These have already had over 15,000 views and you can access all the videos here. Please continue to share these with colleagues, suppliers and any other interested parties - they give a really good summary of the changes and we are keen for as many of our stakeholders to view them as possible.

The e-Learning modules will be launched in April. These are our core training product, which will be open to all procurement and commercial practitioners from contracting authorities, and nominated individuals who regularly undertake procurement activity on behalf of contracting authorities. There will be nine modules - with a tenth certification module - designed to cover all the different elements of the new regime and will be available via the Government Commercial College website. Full details on how to access the modules will be communicated to contracting authorities nearer the launch date.

In May we will introduce Communities of Practice. The launch will feature a dedicated page on the Government Commercial College website offering resources, FAQs, meetups calendar including joining instructions, and an accessible forum for the commercial/ procurement community to connect and engage.

You can find out more details of all our L&D materials in the official L&D Brochure.

Technical Guidance on the Act

To support preparation for the Act we will soon be publishing a suite of technical guidance documents addressing all aspects of the new regime.

In total we will publish a range of documents which will cover subjects from transitional arrangements and covered procurement through to pre-market engagement, award rules, exclusions and contract modifications. The documents are intended to provide technical guidance and help with interpretation and understanding of the new regime. They will be published on our Transforming Public Procurement pages on in phases - commencing in March, with the full complement available by the end of June. We will publicise each phase through our regular channels and this bulletin.

Digital Platform update

The Cabinet Office is working to provide a fully integrated digital platform where Registration, Supplier Information and Find a Tender (noticing) all work together to support the Procurement Act 2023 and its regulations. Combined, these components make up the “Central Digital Platform”.

New notices

We continue regular engagement with eProcurement system providers to assist them to make the changes necessary to support the new regime. We have already released seven of the new notice types to the test environment. Systems providers have scheduled development work into their workflows in the coming months.

The next test release remains on track for the end of March 2024.  This will include the following updates:

Pre-market engagement notice - API

Notices supporting dynamic markets - API 

Procurement termination notice - API

Enhancements to notices from earlier releases

and Registration and Supplier Information Functionality

As part of our journey to deliver the Registration and Supplier Information we have taken a significant step forward with these components. In October and November 2023 we undertook a discovery of Sign in and Registration and after a thorough review of our system's architecture, we have been able to devise a more straightforward and efficient design for our registration and supplier information services. This refined approach not only simplifies interactions but also paves the way for more robust and user-friendly experiences.

We are pleased to announce that this new design has received the green light from the Cabinet Office Technical Design Authority (TDA), marking a pivotal endorsement of our strategic direction.

We have recently shared an outline data model and information pack with eProcurement system providers and will work with them closely in the coming months to develop the functionality.

New Procedures Workshop

The Cabinet Office met with approximately 65 representatives from the eProcurement system providers at the end of January 2024. The purpose of the meeting was to provide sufficient policy information to ensure that the eProcurement system providers are well equipped to have detailed conversations with contracting authorities about the workflow and development of the new systems.

Procurement Review Unit (PRU) update

The PRU continues to focus on building the standard operating model ready for implementation of the Procurement Act.

To support that development, the team has now entered a period of stakeholder engagement. We have commenced engagement with contracting authorities that undertake strategic supplier relationship management, to explore ways of working together in regards to the management of potential debarment cases.

In March, we will also focus on communicating with wider stakeholders, including publishing an Oversight Ambitions document and briefing attendees at the Procurement Expo event in Birmingham.

National Security Unit for Procurement update

The Government has established a National Security Unit for Procurement (NSUP) in the Cabinet Office to support implementation of the new powers in the Act to exclude and debar suppliers where there is a threat to UK national security. We are developing specific guidance for contracting authorities and expect to publish this in the summer.