25 April 2024

Procurement act

This is a time of momentous change for public procurement in the UK. The Procurement Act 2023 (“PA23”), which is due to “go live” on 28 October 2024, represents the most significant transformation to procurement law for decades, as the UK Government seeks to break away from the current European law-based procurement regime in order to “speed up and simplify public procurement processes” and meet a variety of other domestic objectives.

What changes will be implemented and who will be impacted?

The PA23 will provide a common set of rules for covered procurements, replacing the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016, Concession Contracts Regulations 2016 and Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011. There will however be specific provisions for utilities, concessions and defence contracts, as well as for devolved authorities (although Scotland is expected to have separate legislation). The Act will be supplemented by secondary legislation (which is currently making its way through Parliament) and guidance (which is being released on an ongoing basis, with an aim for all guidance to be issued by end June 2024).

The publication of the PA23 is a fundamental milestone in the move towards comprehensive reform of the public procurement regime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Key elements of the procurement process have been subject to modification as part of this reform, and the legislation looks very different to the current rules, both in structure and terminology.

Contracting authorities will need to understand these changes when developing and conducting procurements and when managing procured contracts, and are being encouraged to be bold and innovative in their approach to procurement under the new regime. Those entities supplying (or hoping to supply) goods, works and services to the public sector may also need to significantly change their approach in order to ensure they compete successfully in future procurements.

How can Burges Salmon help?

Given the importance of this shift in the regulatory landscape for public procurement, we have taken a deeper dive into the changes set out in the PA23. This is the first of a series of updates which will follow the procurement lifecycle:

  • Planning stage:
    • commencement and coverage
    • procurement objectives and oversight
    • preliminary market engagement
    • choice of procurement routes
  • Selection stage:
    • conditions of participation
    • exclusion and debarment 
  • Award stage
  • Contract management stage
  • Challenge stage

We will be releasing further updates on other aspects of the PA23 shortly and holding workshops on the new regime throughout the upcoming transition period. Please contact Laura Wisdom or another member of our procurement team if you would like to receive updates, including if you are interested in tailored workshops on issues specific to your organisation. 

Read the other articles in the series here >>>

Key contact

Headshot of Laura Wisdom

Laura Wisdom Partner

  • Public Sector
  • Defence
  • Procurement

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