Contracting authorities and entities would be required to publish any contract opportunities which must currently be published on OJEU/TED via the new platform, which will be free to access for contractors, according to new guidance issued by the government in relation to the potential impact of a 'no deal' scenario on the UK's public procurement regime.
The document also confirms the UK's intention to accede to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) in its own right after Brexit. Countries that have acceded to the GPA commit to open up certain higher value public procurement opportunities to the others, in exchange for their public procurement markets being opened up in a similar way. The UK currently participates in the GPA by virtue of its EU membership.
While the UK is a member of the EU, UK contracting authorities and entities are required to publicly advertise all procurement opportunities that fall within the scope of the EU procurement directives in the OJEU, via TED. Smaller procurement opportunities that do not fall within the scope of the directives are instead advertised on the UK domestic portals: Contracts Finder, MOD Contracts Online, Public Contracts Scotland, Sell2Wales and eTendersNI.
The UK will make changes to the procurement rules by amending the existing legislation "to ensure continued operability", should it leave the EU without a formal transitional deal in place. At this point, a requirement to publish procurement opportunities via the free-to-access UK-specific e-notification service would replace the OJEU/TED publication requirements, according to the guidance. The requirements to publish other opportunities on the UK domestic portals would remain unchanged.
The government will contact contracting authorities and entities which upload their own opportunities to OJEU/TED before the new UK e-notification service becomes operational, to ensure that they are familiar with the new arrangements. Contracting authorities and entities which work with third party platforms such as 'E-Sender' and 'E-Publisher' should be able to continue to work with those providers as normal, as they are currently involved in testing the UK service, according to the guidance.
Suppliers who wish to continue to access contract opportunities from UK authorities will have to register for the new service, according to the guidance. However, there will be no charge for them to do so. They will be able to continue to access the UK domestic portals as normal. The EU has confirmed that UK suppliers who wish to continue to access EU contract opportunities will be able to do so through OJEU/TED.