The Public Procurement (International Trade Agreements) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 now in force

These Regulations make amendments to United Kingdom Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (the “PCR”) and other procurement regulations for the purpose of implementing two free trade agreements entered into by the United Kingdom (“the FTAs”), one with Australia and the other with New Zealand. The changes are made under The Public Procurement (International Trade Agreements) (Amendment) Regulations 2023, a copy of which can be found here.

The amendments made by these Regulations do not apply to devolved Welsh authorities, who will be governed by separate Regulations made by Welsh Ministers.

The amendments made by these Regulations make three sets of amendments under section 1(2) of the Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Act 2023.

The first and second amendments are made to the PCR, the Concession Contracts Regulations 2016 (the “CCR”) and the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016 (the “UCR”). The third amendment is only applicable to the PCR and UCR:

1.       Valuation of contracts

The first amendment introduces a new regulation 6(15A) PCR, Regulation 9 (9A) CCR and Regulation 17(15A) UCR.  Where the value of a procurement cannot be estimated, the procurement is to be treated as having been valued at the relevant threshold for that type of procurement. In the case of the PCR and the UCR, where a contracting authority cannot estimate the value of one or more lots into which a proposed work, proposed acquisition of similar supplies or proposed provision of services has been divided, the aggregate value of the lots awarded shall not exceed 20% of the aggregate value of all the lots that can be so estimated.

2.       Termination of contracts

The second amendment introduces a new Regulation 18(4) PCR, Regulation 8(5) CCR and Regulation 36(4) UCR prohibits contracting authorities and utilities from terminating contracts in a manner that circumvents procurement obligations.

3.       Prior Information Notices (PIN)

The third amendment is made to the PCR and the UCR only, by omitting paragraphs (5), (6) and (8) of Regulation 48 of the PCR and omitting paragraphs 4(a) and 5 of regulation 44 of the UCC, which removes the possibility of using a PIN as the call for competition. A number of consequential amendments have been made to both sets of regulations as a result. PIN notices will therefore once again only be capable of being utilised for their original intention of notifying the market of upcoming opportunities and or gauging market interest.

Please contact us via the links below should you wish to discuss how we can assist you and your team, and find out more about our procurement team here.