With the European market for public contracts worth an estimated €1.9 per year, UK businesses that are involved in or seeking these opportunities should consider what changes to access to this market may mean for their financial planning and need to look in different places for information to avoid missing opportunities.
Key challenges for business
Will the process for bidding for EU public contracts change in the case of a no deal?
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the regulations governing the award of contracts will remain broadly unchanged. Suppliers bidding for contracts will therefore find the actual process very similar.
UK public sector suppliers will, however, need to look for upcoming opportunities on the new UK e-notification service for contracts, rather than on Tenders Electronic Daily (TE) as they do now. Advertisements for domestic contracts will remain the same.
Will UK companies still compete on a level playing field for European public contracts?
Following our exit from the EU, the UK will operate under the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) which will give UK businesses some access to EU procurement markets. However, there is likely to be some delay between the UK leaving and this taking place. During this period, UK businesses will be treated like any other third party country with which the EU has no agreement regarding public contracts.
Will membership of the GPA give UK businesses the same access to European public contracts as they have now?
There will be a few differences compared with the current EU rules, as the GPA is more limited in its coverage. The GPA doesn’t cover, for example, below threshold contracts - often meaning contracts less than €200,000. In addition, it doesn’t cover defence contracts, some utility contracts, concessions and social and health services. A full list of the contracts covered can be found in Annex 5 of the GPA.
Key questions for business to consider
Continuity plans for no deal will be unique to every organisation. However, there are some key questions your plan should answer to ensure the major issues are covered.
- Do you regularly bid for public contracts on TED?
- Have you communicated the changes to the advertisement of public contracts to your commercial teams?
- Will the UK’s membership of the GPA give your organisation sufficient market access?
- Are your commercial teams aware of the potential changes?
- Have you encouraged your employees to look out for updates on the launch of the new UK e-notification service, so that they can familiarise themselves with the new tender portal as soon as possible?
Want the highlights? View our webcast
Preparing for no deal: the changes in public procurement
Want the deep dive? View our report with Browne Jacobson
Other resources to help you plan
Look at the no deal technical notice provided by the UK government for further details on what will change and how to prepare.
Check Schedule 5 of the GPA to see whether the types of contracts you bid for will be covered by our independent membership of this agreement.