Modernisation of EU public procurement rules reaches final stage: new procurement Directives adopted

Modernisation of EU public procurement rules reaches final stage: new procurement Directives adopted

As procurement practitioners are no doubt aware, large scale reform of procurement law has been in the offing for a considerable time.  Dubbed ‘modernisation’ of the rules, this reform has now reached its conclusion, with the EU proposals for new Directives on public procurement, utilities procurement and concessions contracts being adopted by the European Parliament on 15 January 2014.

The text of the final Directives has not yet been published (it is anticipated in February) but from previous versions and the recent FAQs document provided by the EU Commission we can anticipate the themes which will be included:

Greater access for SMEs with a cap on turnover (2x value of contract at last iteration) and a requirement to justify where a procurement is not split into lots.

Codification of certain landmark case-law relating to contracts between public sector bodies (Teckal, Hamburg) and post award variations (Pressetext).  Although not necessarily exactly in line with ECJ rulings, codification will bring further weight to established procurement law principles.

Abolishment of ‘Part A ‘ and ‘Part B’ distinction for services, with a lighter regime available for social, health, cultural and assimilated services.

Simplified procedures, with reduced time limits. Also increased availability of procedures involving dialogue and/or negotiation.

Further requirements and clarification around sound procurement procedures such as conflicts of interest.

Increased ability to include social, environmental and innovative award criteria.

Electronic procurement.

The Directives will come into force 20 days after publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.  Member States will then have 24 months to bring them into force (54 months for full e-procurement). The UK government, however, has expressed a desire to implement the Directives in the UK by the end of this year.

We will be commenting on the new text once published – watch this space for more information. The Procurement Team at Michelmores are also developing a range of training sessions on the new Directives for beginners through to professionals.  We have a great reputation for delivering pragmatic, commercial training and can tailor our sessions to your needs.  Please get in touch to find out more details.