New EU regulation delivers new forms for use in public procurements

Out-Law News | 17 Nov 2015 | 1:14 pm | 1 min. read

Public bodies in England and Wales will soon have new standard forms to use when procuring goods, works and services after a new EU regulation was published.

The implementing regulation, set by the European Commission, has been published in the Official Journal of the EU and is due to take effect on 1 December. It complements EU public procurement reforms that were published in 2014.

Public procurement expert Shailee Howard of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind, said the 25 new standard forms would help public bodies observe public procurement rules that have been in force since February. The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 apply in England and Wales which implement the EU Directive on the procurement of public contracts.

"Since the introduction of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, contracting authorities have been using the existing forms to advertise contract opportunities under the new regime," Howard said. "This is largely down to the fact that England, Wales and Northern Ireland are the first, and only, EU countries to have implemented the EU Public Contracts Directive."

"While the Crown Commercial Service published helpful guidance on how to use the existing forms under the new regime, the situation was not ideal and meant that authorities were effectively shoe-horning their requirements into forms that had been designed for something entirely different. The publication of the new forms therefore provides welcome clarity for contracting authorities and bidders in England, Wales and Northern Ireland," she said.

Howard said the new forms will also help authorities comply with their obligations under the new regime.

She said: "For example, the 2015 Regulations introduced a new obligation on authorities to publish a notice in the Official Journal where a contract with an existing supplier is being varied and the authority is relying on one of two particular scenarios set out in the Regulations. The form of notice will be available to authorities from 3 December 2015. Given the increased scrutiny around the modification of contracts, authorities will need to take particular care when drafting the justification for such variations."