Brexit & UK Public Procurement

An article by Mike Barnes (

The Single European Market Act came into force at the end of December 1992. As far as Public Procurement was concerned in the UK, it meant that we had to follow the new public procurement rules, advertising contracts above a set threshold, throughout the European Economic Community. At the time this was seen as unnecessary bureaucracy and an inconvenience that would increase the time taken to carry out procurement exercises. There are probably some buyers who still feel this is the case today.

Over the years the rules have been amended to try and make them more user friendly, both for buyers and suppliers and though they are still not perfect they are better than when they were first introduced. Recently the Public Contract Regulations 2015 were introduced with further changes, including some to make it easier for SME’s to tender.

So we move on and now, in 2016 the majority of the UK has decided to leave the EU but that doesn’t mean that we will be throwing away the public procurement rule book just yet, if at all. There continues to be a strong need for good governance in our Public Procurement spending. In 2013/14, the UK public sector spent a total of £242 billion on procurement of goods and services; this accounted for 33% of public sector spending. Public procurement spending needs to be transparent, honest and accountable. Whatever the future holds it is unlikely to change the need for meaningful and effective public procurement legislation.

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