Granby and the Procurement Bill – Latest News
Last week, Victoria Pittman attended Procurex National at the NEC, Birmingham. This is the country’s leading public procurement event. Here, Lindsay Maguire, the Cabinet Office’s Deputy Director of Procurement Reform, delivered a keynote speech outlining the Government’s ambitious plans for transforming public procurement.
The Procurement Bill
Following the UK’s exit from the EU, the Government has proposed major reforms to the rules governing public sector buying. The new Procurement Bill aims to create a simpler and more transparent system. One that makes it easier for SMEs to win contracts and for the Government to disqualify poorly performing suppliers.
The Procurement Bill is currently making its way through Parliament, having been introduced in the House of Lords. It passed through the committee stage, and now has passed its second reading in the Commons. The expectation is the bill will receive Royal Assent in the summer of 2023. The new procurement regime being in place from the Autumn of 2024.
The Government currently spends around £300bn a year – a third of all public expenditure – on procurement.
More Open Frameworks
Of particular interest to Granby and other SMEs are the Government’s plans to deliver more open frameworks. And to put measures in place to remove barriers for SMEs, and introduce new dynamic markets, allowing greater flexibility all round.
This is critical as SMEs are now receiving a relatively smaller amount of reported direct Government procurement spending than five years ago.
In 2016, 25% of public sector procurement spending was awarded directly to SMEs. By 2021, this figure had dropped to 21%, indicating that only just over one in every five pounds spent by the Government on public services went straight to SMEs, excluding indirect spend with SMEs via the supply chain.
This is significantly behind Central Government ‘s target of spending one in every three pounds with SMEs by 2022. This target includes indirect spend with SMEs via the supply chain, which is hard to measure.
We encourage everyone to start preparing for change
Lindsay Maguire said the reforms being developed would “streamline processes,” while administrative processes will “be standardised in such a way that there’ll be much easier in reality to use.”
It is crucial for SMEs to have a voice in these reforms, and Granby is one of the few SMEs with experience in this sector fighting for their interests to be heard.