How the UK's Procurement Act 2023 will reshape Procurement
The UK's Procurement Act 2023 marks a significant shift in the public procurement landscape. According to the UK government, the new bill will aim to “reform the UK’s public procurement regime, making it quicker, simpler, more transparent and better able to meet the UK’s needs while remaining compliant with our international obligations”.
With a substantial annual budget of £300 billion at stake, the Act aims to modernise, simplify and bring transparency to the procurement process. This transformation presents both opportunities and challenges for procurement departments across the UK.
Consolidation and simplification
The Act’s consolidation of over 350 procurement regulations into a single framework promises a more streamlined process. Procurement departments must adapt to this unified system, requiring a comprehensive understanding of the new rules and procedures. This change will reduce the administrative burden and allow for a more focused approach to procurement.
Leveraging a central digital platform
Utilising a central digital platform for supplier registration and bid management is going to be a game-changer. Procurement teams must become proficient in utilising such platforms to maximise efficiency and tap into a broader supplier base. This digital shift necessitates upskilling and potential restructuring within departments to handle the digital-first approach.
New principles and objectives
The Act emphasises value for money, public benefit and integrity. Procurement departments must revise their criteria and processes to align with these principles. This entails a more holistic evaluation of bids, considering not just cost, but also the broader impact and ethical standards of suppliers. This is where supplier management and qualification is key
Navigating the competitive flexible procedure
The introduction of the competitive flexible procedure offers more flexibility but also demands a higher level of strategic thinking. Procurement professionals need to design tailored tendering processes that best suit their specific needs. This change will require enhanced market analysis skills and creative procurement strategies
With stricter criteria for supplier exclusion and a focus on national security risks, Procurement departments
must intensify their due diligence. Implementing robust supplier assessment frameworks and staying vigilant about potential risks becomes paramount. This shift will likely necessitate closer collaboration with legal and compliance teams.
Enhancing post-award contract management
The Act extends procurement responsibilities beyond the awarding of contracts. Ensuring timely payments and monitoring supplier performance will require more rigorous contract management practices. Procurement teams should invest in contract management tools
and training to meet these new requirements effectively.