MHA | New Legal Framework for Charities Bidding for Public Contracts
Not for Profit e News April 2024 4

New Legal Framework for Charities Bidding for Public Contracts

Posted on: April 16th 2024 · read

The landscape for charities bidding for public contracts is undergoing significant change with the introduction of the Procurement Act 2023. This new legal framework aims to simplify and enhance transparency in the procurement process.

Currently, the procurement activities of contracting authorities – such as central government, local authorities, and registered housing providers – are governed by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. These regulations dictate how public contracts for goods, services, or works are awarded. However, the existing framework can be complex and bureaucratic.

The Procurement Act replaces the existing regulations with a streamlined and flexible procurement regime. Here are the key features that charities need to be aware of:

1) Supplier Engagement

Charities can engage with contracting authorities from the pre-procurement market engagement stage. This allows suppliers to understand requirements early on and tailor their bids accordingly.

2) Contract Award

The Act aims to simplify procedures, making it easier for contracting authorities to choose suitable procurement methods. This procedure allows authorities to design their own procurement process while adhering to minimum requirements. The minimum requirements include: 

  • Contracting authorities must meet their contractual requirements through an advertised competitive contract award process. The process should be based on objective, relevant, and proportionate criteria. 
  • Authorities must publish contract award notices (CANs) to inform the market about awarded contracts. 
  • Authorities are required to provide assessment summaries to bidders. These summaries explain how their bids were evaluated and the reasons for the award decision. 
  • Before entering into a public contract, authorities must observe a ‘standstill’ period. This allows unsuccessful bidders to challenge the award decision if needed.

3) Contract Management

The Act emphasises transparency and requires greater visibility of supplier performance throughout the contract’s lifecycle. Strengthened rules ensure that suppliers are paid promptly.

This insight was previously published in our Not for Profit April 2024 eNews

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