Public procurement – working with contracting authorities

For contracting authorities, Hempsons provides preventative procurement advice to manage risk, design robust and defensible procurement processes and defend procurement law challenges.

In addition to all other policy and legal requirements impacting on this area of law, the team has in-depth understanding of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and the rules relating to utilities and concessions.

The team is also experienced in understanding the commissioning of health and social care services under the NHS (Procurement, Patient Choice & Competition) (No.2) Regulations 2013 and the impact that the Light Touch Regime (LTR) has had on the commissioning of such services. We are therefore well placed to advise commissioners on compliance with their legal duties whilst allowing them to capitalise on the flexibilities available to them under the LTR. As well as expert legal advice we provide a pragmatic approach – we understand the commercial context and the different drivers affecting contracting authorities and suppliers.

We advise on all aspects of public procurement law, from pre-procurement and market engagement, the initial advertisement of a contract opportunity through the invitation to tender and the evaluation of bid returns to post-award contract negotiations and advice on the renewal and extension of service contracts upon expiry in accordance with the applicable procurement regime.

We are currently advising on the implications of the current consultations for changes in procurement law, as well as specific changes to the commissioning of healthcare services.

We are involved in the project management of tendering processes for our clients. We advise on the timetabling of each significant element of the process and arrange support for teams including training on evaluation methodologies.

Key Services for contracting authorities

We advise contracting authorities at all stages of a process: market engagement; during a process; and, post award. We also provide training on matters such as evaluation and risk.

The main issues we are currently advising contracting authorities on:

  • The design and running of procurement processes for goods, services and works, for example EPR systems, capital purchases and linen and laundry services
  • Successfully calling off framework agreements.
  • The implications of the Light Touch Regime, in particular within the context of ICS’
  • Running processes to select strategic estates partners, via the competitive dialogue procedure
  • Designing and structuring processes, drafting procurement documentation and advising throughout various process under the open, restricted and competitive dialogue procedures
  • Defending procurement law

Advising on the extent to which existing contracts can be varied.

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