The Brexit process has dominated national discourse since the referendum in 2016, and will reach fever pitch in the coming months as negotiations reach a climax and the departure date approaches. The big question for buyers in the public sector is: will it affect the way we procure goods and services?
What do we know right now?
The UK government has various contingencies in place for a “no deal” scenario, including for public procurement. The Cabinet Office recently released guidance
stating that arrangements have been made to introduce a new eProcurement system to replace the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) should it be necessary.
Such a scenario also raises the possibility of significant divergence in procurement policy and regulations between the UK and EU. Indeed, many public sector observers and stakeholders have been discussing the possibilities of a national procurement policy tailored more towards domestic needs. Despite this, negotiations may yet yield a deal that ensures some level of continuity via continued regulatory alignment.
The key issues for public sector buyers
There are currently many unknowns and any clarity will only come when, or even if, a deal is agreed. The mechanics of procurement may evolve if the OJEU contingency is required, but the larger issues of market access and supply chain management present the biggest challenges.
One major issue is cross-border procurement: many buyers in the UK already have contractual relationships with European suppliers, so Brexit raises many questions about the integrity of existing agreements and the future feasibility of similar arrangements.
The complexities the process may cause for supply chains represent a concern. Even smaller, local suppliers will, in all likelihood, have an international aspect to their own supply chains regardless of the industry they operate in. Depending on the shape of any deal, supplier risk assessment will be more important than ever.
Want to know more?
For a more in-depth discussion, followed by a Q&A session, join our free Procurement and Brexit webinar on Thursday 24 January at 1pm. We will provide:
Book your place
- The latest commentary on negotiations and what a no deal means for procurement.
- An update on any official guidance on changes to procurement post-Brexit and how they might affect you.
- Advice on how to best prepare for post-Brexit procurement.
- An outline of what is likely to happen in the final months of Brexit.