The primary function of EU procurement law is to open up public procurement to competition and to ensure the free movement of goods and services within the EU. The EU Public Procurement Directives are implemented in the UK as The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 as amended and reflect the UK government's policy that public sector purchasing decisions should be based on value for money achieved through competition.
This chapter contains sections on
- Types of communication
- Contract types – definitions
- Social and other specific services
- Central purchasing bodies
- Pre market engagement
- Valuation of a contract and current EU thresholds
- Award procedures
- Prior Information Notices
- Supplier selection criteria
- Award criteria
- Advertising requirements (inc. Contracts Finder)
- Tender documentation – inc. division into Lots, specifications, variant bids etc
- Notification of contract award
- Regulation breaches (supplier challenges)
- Public sector to public sector contracts
- Modification to contracts
Impact on institutions
The Regulations implementing the Directives place a responsibility on institutions to advertise certain types of contract, above pre-determined values, in the OJEU and on Contracts Finder and thereafter deal with the tendering and award of such contracts using a pre-determined set of procedures and practices. Note: there is a requirement to follow the principles of the EU Treaty upon which the legislation is based, in all public procurement activity - this has been re-emphasised in challenges where the European Commission has questioned Member States' failure to advertise requirements, even though the procurements fell under the appropriate financial thresholds. The outcome of these challenges is to highlight the need for the level and type of advertising used to be sufficient to ensure adequate competition when the contract may have cross border interest.
The current statutory instruments that impact on the procurement practices of the public sector are:
- The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
- The Concessions Contracts Regulations 2016
- the Public Supply Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2006 which relates to Scotland
The Cabinet Office Transposing the EU Directives has a summary of both the EU Directives and the UK Regulations.
The material provided here is an overview of the legislation implementing EU procurement law within the UK. It looks particularly at the applications of the legislation in the FE sector. It aims to guide the reader through the legislation, but is not a substitute for the legislation itself, which should remain the key reference document for individual procurements.
Recent Case Law
You can search for legal judgements on the British and Irish Legal Information Institute website.
Use the Case Law Search function and enter 'public contract regulations' into the Exact phrase search field. This should produce a list of recent judgements on cases that are brought under The Public Contracts Regulations.