This is an update to our earlier blog in February 2019
Our previous blog focused on what will happen to the UK and EU system of contract procurement and finding tender notifications in the event of a no deal Brexit.
As of today, 8th October 2019, it is still not clear whether the UK will leave the EU with or without a deal in place. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, there will be an impact on how public sector procurements are advertised, the route that UK public sector organisations will need to follow to issue their invitations to tender, and therefore how to go about finding them. The UK Government has provided an update this week, setting out what contracting authorities need to know, and what suppliers need to know to find a tender.
Current situation to find a tender
Currently there are a set of procurement regulations that must be followed, which include the fact that all public sector procurements above EU thresholds must legally be publicised through the Official Journal of the EU (OJEU). This is the central contract notice board for all EU member states where live contract opportunities in all EU countries, including the UK, can be viewed and searched. The EU thresholds are £181,302 for supplies and services and £4,551,413 for works. All opportunities can be found here: https://ted.europa.eu/TED/search/search.do
Below these EU thresholds, all UK public contracts must be advertised on the government website Contracts Finder (or the sites specific to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Ministry of Defence). The threshold for contracts to be posted here is £10,000 for central government authorities and £25,000 for the rest of the public sector. Opportunities can be found here: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search
To find a tender after a no-deal Brexit
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK government has stated that the procurement regulations will remain broadly the same. However, one key difference will be that after a no-deal Brexit, contracting authorities must advertise their opportunities on a new UK e-notification service instead of OJEU. This new e-notification service is called Find a Tender and all suppliers wishing to access UK public sector contract opportunities will need to use this site.
Find a Tender will look the same as Contracts Finder and will be free to use. You will also be able to register to set up email alerts and use the same login details.
Suppliers still wishing to access EU contract opportunities should continue to do so using OJEU TED.
The requirement to advertise on domestic portals, i.e. Contracts Finder, Public Contracts Scotland, Sell2Wales, eTendersNI and MOD Defence Contracts Online will remain unchanged following a no-deal Brexit.
So how do I find tenders after a no-deal Brexit?
To search for opportunities in the UK, you will need to use the new UK e-notification service, Find a Tender. Find a Tender will be deployed at 11pm GMT on 31st October in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Complete Tenders will provide the link as soon as it becomes available.
You will also still be able to use Contracts Finder, as now, to search for opportunities.
To search for opportunities in the EU, you will still be able to use OJEU, however, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, UK companies will have the same status as companies from countries without an agreement from the EU regarding the EU procurement market, and therefore will be subject to the rules that currently apply to those countries. This may make winning tenders more difficult. The EU has published guidelines on this here: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/file_import/public_procurement_en.pdf
Additionally, Complete Tenders provides a comprehensive free tender listings service which currently combines OJEU and Contracts Finder; this will be updated to include the new Find a Tender UK e-notification service in the event of a no-deal Brexit. This can be found here: https://www.completetenders.com/open-tenders/
What if I find a tender on OJEU just before a no-deal Brexit?
Clearly some of the tenders advertised on OJEU will have a submission date past the Brexit date of October 31st, 2019. The exact details of what will happen and what rules will apply in the event of a no-deal Brexit have not yet been published, but, for example, any contract award notices for those tenders will need be published on the new UK e-notification service after 31st October 2019.
As you don’t actually apply for a tender through OJEU, but use the specific procurement portal or other mechanism determined by the contracting organisation, the fact that you found the tender through OJEU before a no-deal Brexit should have no impact on submitting your tender application.
Additional Information sources
You can read more from the UK government here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/public-sector-procurement-after-a-no-deal-brexit
The Complete Tenders website will also be updated with more information as it becomes available.