This is an update to our earlier blogs on Brexit published in February & October 2019
We focus on what will happen to the UK and EU system of public sector contract procurement and finding tender notifications following Brexit.
Today, 31st January 2020, is the official date that the UK will leave the EU with a deal in place. Now the UK enters into a transition period until December 31st 2020 where there may be changes to the way 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 suppliers need to go about finding them. The UK Government provided an update on 14th January 2020 to confirm that during the Brexit transition period, the existing EU Public Procurement Directives and UK Public Procurement Regulations will continue to apply. Complete Tenders has therefore set out below what suppliers need to know to find a tender – for the time being anyway!
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Current situation (through 2020) 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 the 2020 transition period (i.e. after Dec 31st 2020)
After the Brexit transition period, the UK government has stated that the procurement regulations will remain broadly the same. However, one change that may be coming is that contracting authorities must advertise their opportunities on a new UK e-notification service instead of OJEU. This new e-notification service is potentially going to be 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 the transition period.
So how do I find tenders from 31st January 2020?
To search for opportunities in the UK, you will need to use https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search or use Complete Tenders free tender listings service https://www.completetenders.com/open-tenders/.
To search for opportunities in the EU, you will need to use https://ted.europa.eu/TED/search/search.do.
Depending on the type of trade deal Britain is able to achieve with the EU in 2020, UK companies may end up with the same status as companies from countries outside the EU and therefore will be subject to the rules that currently apply to those countries. This may make winning tenders in France etc, more difficult due to changes in tariffs etc. The EU has published guidelines on this here: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/file_import/public_procurement_en.pdf
Additional Information sources
You can read more about Brexit from the UK government here: https://www.gov.uk/transition
The Complete Tenders website will also be updated with more information as it becomes available.