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New research report: ‘Brexit: Challenges and Opportunities for Public Sector Buyers’

Against the backdrop of a further Brexit extension, and a general election which could have a significant impact on the form Brexit takes, we are excited to reveal the results of the latest research survey from iGov Survey in partnership with BiP Solutions and Delta eSourcing, ‘Brexit: Challenges and Opportunities for Public Sector Buyers.’

Cover of new report 'Brexit: Challenges and Opportunities for Public Sector Buyers'

With UK government public procurement spend totalling around £284 bn per year, public sector buyers account for around 13% of UK GDP. It’s therefore essential to consider the potential impact of Brexit on various possible scenarios, such as a ‘no-deal Brexit’, on public procurement – as well as highlighting potential areas of opportunity. It is important to note that a ‘no-deal’ outcome is possible at the end of the transition period at the end of 2020, even if a Withdrawal Agreement is ratified, meaning that it is still important to consider the implications of a ‘no-deal Brexit.’

Capturing the opinions of procurement leaders allows for developing a real picture of the level of knowledge and aspirations of the public sector, in addition to what is already known about the legal position of procurement in relation to Brexit. This research project surveyed procurement leaders from throughout the public sector – from local and central government and the NHS to higher education and housing associations – for their predictions, concerns and aspirations around what effects Brexit will have on UK public procurement. The survey explores areas such as:

  • The key aspects of procurement on which Brexit may have an impact
  • Areas where the expectation of Brexit has already had an impact
  • The level of impact that different Brexit scenarios, including a ‘no-deal Brexit’, might have
  • The level of preparation procurement leaders have undertaken for various Brexit scenarios

Over 80 organisations from across the UK participated, and the new survey report includes a full breakdown of the results, including analysis of how responses differed by sector and where correlations and contradictions appear. Key findings include:

  • There is a perceived lack of clarity as to the extent of Brexit’s impact on procurement.
  • A majority of procurement leaders have not undertaken preparations for Brexit.
  • Cost is viewed as the area where the impact of Brexit will be felt most keenly.
  • There is concern about the potential for disruption to supply chains, but a lack of clarity as to what the practical effect will be.
  • However, in some areas of procurement, Brexit is predicted to have little effect.

Download your copy of the full report here. Visit BiP Solutions’ dedicated Brexit resources page to keep up-to-date with all the latest information and guidance around Brexit, as the situation continues to develop.

General Election 2019: The Manifestos

As the political parties’ campaigns for the UK General Election of 12 December continue, here we look at some of the major announcements from the parties’ manifestos, and what they mean for doing business with the public sector. All of the major parties have pledged a rise in public spending, meaning there will be an impact on business opportunities in areas with increased spending.

To learn more about what the parties’ manifesto pledges could mean for the public sector and UK business, how elections affect the number of public sector opportunities, and more about the major sources of opportunity for suppliers as we look ahead to 2020, download the latest edition of our report, ‘The Public Sector Market in 2020 and Beyond: Opportunities for Smart Suppliers to Get Ahead‘ (updated 28.11.2019). This document will continue to be updated with the latest intelligence as the situation develops.

The Conservative Party

The Conservative manifesto’s pledges are costed at an increase of £2.9bn a year by 2022. Alongside the pledge to recruit thousands more nurses for the NHS and more police officers, other policies include a £2bn fund for fixing potholes in roads. The pre-manifesto pledge to allow more borrowing for infrastructure projects has also been confirmed, with capital spend rising from £3.2bn next year to £8bn by the end of the next parliamentary session, including an aim to increase spend to make social housing more energy efficient.

The Labour Party

Labour have costed their manifesto pledges at £82.9bn. Labour have proposed a redefinition of the rules around government borrowing – considering overall ‘public sector net worth’, i.e. the value of the UK’s assets, instead of the national debt – to allow for this increased spend. For public sector workers, Labour have pledged year-on-year above-inflation pay rises, beginning with a 5% increase. Healthcare has come into focus, with the proposal of creating a new ‘National Care Service.’  Energy infrastructure and efficiency are a key area of focus, given the aim for net-zero carbon emissions by the 2030s, managed through a £250bn ‘green transformation fund.’ Labour have also announced intentions to invest in infrastructure more widely, with plans to build 150,000 social homes by the end of parliament, along with a commitment to the HS2 network, including extending it to Scotland.

The Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats have also pledged a rise in public spending, costing their proposals at £63bn. Major announcements include a 1% rise in income tax, aiming to raise £7bn for the NHS and social care. The party have also announced a £130bn investment in public transport infrastructure, including a commitment to HS2, and the building of 300,000 new homes per year by 2024. Of particular interest to smaller businesses is the Liberal Democrats’ plan to replace business rates with a commercial landowner levy, applying to the overall land value of a commercial site rather than a calculation based on the buildings themselves. In addition to the previously announced ‘Skills Wallet’ of £10,000 per person for adult learning and skills training, skills shortages in the defence sector would be tackled by giving graduates in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects one-off payments of £10,000 to become Armed Forces engineers.

Other parties

The positions of the UK’s other political parties could become particularly important if no party can form a majority government. Many flagship policies revolve around sustainability and energy efficiency. The Green Party aim to reduce the UK to ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2030, based on £100bn of public spending into infrastructure, technology and associated jobs. Plaid Cymru have announced £15bn for a ‘Welsh Green Jobs Revolution’, while The Brexit Party have proposed that the UK no longer export any waste abroad, which would necessitate an investment in waste processing plants and associated jobs.

At the time of writing, the Scottish National Party and the Democratic Unionist Party are yet to publish their manifestos. This post will be updated as the situation develops.

But what about Brexit?

The political parties’ differing stances on the way in which the UK should leave the European Union – if at all – is not only a major policy in itself, but is claimed by several of the parties as the basis of their other spending plans.  The Conservative Party would seek to implement the Withdrawal Agreement that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously negotiated with the EU. The party has stated that the terms of a trade deal with the EU will be negotiated in 2020, with the aim that the UK trades outside of the EU single market and any form of customs union. The Conservatives have also stated that there will be no extension to the transition period, during which time the UK remains aligned with EU rules, beyond the end of 2020.

Labour meanwhile have stated they would negotiate a new Withdrawal Agreement with the EU within three months of coming to power, then put this Agreement to a legally binding public referendum, with remaining in the EU as an alternative option. Labour’s Agreement would aim for alignment with the EU single market and a UK-wide customs agreement with the EU. The Liberal Democrats favour revoking Article 50 unilaterally, meaning the UK would remain in the EU under the same terms as previously, which the party claims would provide a £50bn ‘remain bonus.’

Read the updated edition of our latest report, ‘The Public Sector Market in 2020 and Beyond: Opportunities for Smart Suppliers to Get Ahead’, for more detail on how the parties’ election pledges will affect business with the UK public sector. The report also includes detailed data on how elections since 2015 have affected the number of public sector opportunities, the major trends that will shape public procurement in 2020 and beyond, and how smart suppliers can get ahead of their competitors over the coming months. Download your copy here.

UPDATED: New Report: Opportunities for Smart Suppliers in 2020

Latest updates (28.11.19) include details of manifestos of all major UK parties.

As the situation around Brexit continues to be redefined, and political parties’ campaigns for the UK General Election develop, it may seem that there are many areas of flux to consider for businesses seeking to work with the public sector. As we approach 2020, political, social, economic and technological factors look set to play a major role in defining public sector supply chain opportunities over the coming months and years.

Yet against the backdrop of apparent uncertainty, there are significant opportunities in many areas for suppliers to engage with, with the investment to match. All the major political parties have pledged a renewed focus on public spending in various areas in their election manifestos, meaning new sources of business opportunity for suppliers that seek to work with them.

Drawing on the latest intelligence and our unique insights into the shape of the public procurement market, our latest report, ‘The Public Sector Market in 2020 and Beyond: Opportunities for Smart Suppliers to Get Ahead’, outlines the ways in which suppliers can maximise their opportunities throughout the public sector supply chain, focusing on key areas of opportunity, methods for gaining a competitive edge, and the solutions to enable this. The latest edition of the report has been updated to reflect the latest political developments.

The report includes:

  • Analysis of how the major political parties’ election manifesto pledges, with a focus on public spending, will affect supply chain opportunities
  • Detailed breakdown of how pre- and post-election periods can affect the number of public sector contracts awarded, with comparisons of figures from 2015 to date
  • What suppliers need to know about the major themes driving public procurement, and how they can work best to maximise their opportunities in these areas.

Download your complimentary copy of the updated report here.

As the political situation continues to develop over the coming weeks in the period before and immediately after the General Election, this post and this report will be regularly updated to reflect the latest insight and intelligence.

New research reveals scale of public sector Brexit concerns

With the European Union having confirmed a delay to the UK’s departure from the EU, 31 October no longer marks ‘exit day.’ The so-called ‘flextension’ defers Brexit until the end of January, unless a deal is ratified before then. With the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement accepted in principle by Parliament, and an upcoming UK general election, the coming months will prove to be another crucial period in shaping precisely what form Brexit takes, and on what date the UK is no longer an EU member.

Against this backdrop, we are excited to reveal the results of our latest research survey, ‘Brexit: Challenges and Opportunities for Public Sector Buyers.’ This research project surveyed procurement leaders from throughout the public sector – from local and central government and the NHS to higher education and housing associations – for their predictions, concerns and aspirations around what effects Brexit will have on UK public procurement.

Ahead of our full key findings report, to be released soon, some of the survey’s headline statistics are below:

  • 58% of respondents feel that a ‘no-deal Brexit’ will have a worse effect on their procurement strategies than Brexit under the terms of a negotiated Withdrawal Agreement – with over half of this 58% suggesting the effect will be “significantly worse.” However, 31% of respondents believe that in terms of procurement, there will be no difference between a Brexit with or without a negotiated deal.

  • 45% of organisations say they still have no defined Brexit strategy in terms of supply chain management, with 61% of all respondents not currently having a strategy for a ‘no-deal’ scenario.

  • The most significant effect of Brexit for the public sector is believed to be the ability to control costs, with 66% of participants in our survey suggesting there will be either a high or medium impact in this area.

  • 61% of respondents are concerned about post-Brexit supply chain disruption affecting the delivery and quality of services.

  • A full 40% of respondents believe that Brexit will have little or no impact on their ability to engage with suppliers based outside the UK, and only 25% of buyers say they are concerned about their ability to engage with EU-based suppliers in future.

Our full survey report, detailing further findings and respondents’ profiles, will be available soon.

Visit www.bipsolutions.com/brexit to read all the latest updates, resources and guidance for what Brexit means for procurement. As the situation develops, BiP Solutions will continue to monitor the latest intelligence to provide you with the most up-to-date knowledge and guidance on the implications of Brexit on procurement, up to and beyond ‘exit day.’

Brexit positioning statement – October 2019

Business people figurines shaking hands on map of Europe

The situation around Brexit remains fluid. The EU has agreed to a ‘flextension’ – extending the deadline for the UK’s exit from the EU to 31st January, but with an option for ‘exit day’ to be brought forward if a deal is ratified before then. However, the upcoming UK general election could mean that the terms of discussion change once again.

Against this dynamic background, we have today published an update on BiP Solutions’ position in relation to Brexit and what it means for our customers in the run-up to ‘exit day’ and beyond, in the various possible iterations of the UK’s departure from the EU.

Read the full statement here.

October Brexit Round-Up

Globe map of UK and western Europe

With the UK still scheduled to leave the EU on 31st October, the status of negotiations within the EU parliament will be closely watched over the coming days. Today (14th October), the Queen’s Speech to open the new session of the UK Parliament is expected to outline further the Government’s plans for Brexit and the period immediately after exit day. More than three years after the referendum, there is still much to be decided and confirmed.

Ahead of an important week, the latest updates on BiP Solutions’ dedicated Brexit news and resources page cover a range of aspects of Brexit and how it might affect public procurement.

  • Our September Brexit Briefing looks at sources of opportunity for procurement after Brexit – both in the UK and further afield.
  • With the possibility of further debate around the legislation aiming to block any ‘no-deal Brexit’, it remains important for businesses to be clear on what the effects of ‘no-deal’ might be and how they can prepare. Our explainer blog from Phillip Kinnell, Senior Procurement Consultant at the Procurement Advice and Support Service (PASS), examines the legislation that specifically affects procurement in relation to a ‘no-deal Brexit.’ A more in-depth look at the various ways in which ‘no-deal’ might impact procurement, and how businesses can prepare, is available through the recording of our recent webinar led by Phillip, ‘What a No Deal Brexit Could Mean for Public Procurement.’
  • Also on 8th October, the House of Commons (HoC) Research Library published ‘Brexit and UK Defence: An Explainer.’ You can read Defence Online’s detailed blog on the latest updates around the UK’s and EU’s changing relationship in terms of defence here, while the HoC Library report and the Government’s own advice on the defence sector and preparing for Brexit are available in our Resources section.
  • Other sector-specific information available on our Resources page includes guidance for healthcare providers and the space sector. For the latest healthcare news, visit our dedicated healthcare community Health Online.
  • The list of trade agreements with other countries and trading blocs that will take effect when the UK leaves the EU continues to be updated.
  • Our factsheets, ‘Procurement After No Deal’ and ‘Procurement After Brexit: Deal or No Deal’, are still available, and cover the basics of the legislation and necessary preparations for organisations around Brexit. Produced in April and March respectively, these documents remain relevant as they outline key guidance such as the new UK e-notification service replacing the need to publish tenders in the Official Journal of the EU (OJEU) – now named the ‘Find a Tender Service’ – and the need for businesses to acquire an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.

Our Brexit resources page will continue to be updated as the situation develops, allowing you to stay abreast of all the latest and most relevant information for public procurement and business.

Brexit latest: No Deal Brexit and Procurement Legislation

With the Government maintaining that the UK with leave the EU on 31 October, whether or not a Withdrawal Agreement has been finalised, there may appear to be much uncertainty as to the position of legislation after that date, and what immediate effect that will have on trade and other areas of business. However, in procurement as well as in other areas, there are some clear guidelines as to what a ‘no deal Brexit’ would mean for day-to-day working practices. Here, Phillip Kinnell, Senior Procurement Consultant at the Procurement Advice and Support Service (PASS), details what we know about procurement legislation in the event of ‘no deal’ – in our explainer below and in our recent webinar.

Legislative certainty in the event of a no deal Brexit

What procurement legislation applies in the event of a ‘hard’ Brexit? Section 2(1) of the European Union Withdrawal Act 2018 states that ‘EU-derived domestic legislation, as it has effect in domestic law immediately before exit day, continues to have effect in domestic law on and after exit day.’ Section 3(1) similarly confirms the incorporation of direct EU legislation by stating that ‘Direct EU legislation, so far as operative immediately before exit day, forms part of domestic law on and after exit day.’ 

However, there are some incongruities between current legislation, such as the PCR 2015, and the changed environment that we will have following a no deal Brexit. To deal with this, the European Union Withdrawal Act 2018 preserves laws made in the UK that implement EU obligations, and provides the legal basis for making necessary corrections to the current procurement legislation that would otherwise no longer operate appropriately once the UK has left. 

The following paragraphs outline the main pieces of secondary legislation which set out the updates to UK procurement legislation.  

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Public Procurement (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 and the Public Procurement (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) (No 2) Regulations 2019 set out the majority of changes to current procurement legislation in the event of a hard Brexit. 

In Scotland, the Public Procurement etc (Scotland) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, the Public Procurement etc (Scotland) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Amendment Regulations 2019 and the Public Procurement etc. (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Regulations 2019 carry out a very similar role.  

The required changes include the removal of references to the EU, the replacement of the OJEU with the ‘UK e-notification service’ (also known as the Find a Tender Service or FTS) and the right of the UK to set the procurement thresholds for the forthcoming change on 1 January 2020. 

Eight months after Brexit, the amendment regulations also remove conditions relating to the GPA (Government Procurement Agreement) and the ‘duty owed to economic operators from other member states’ as from that point the requirement to open up procurement in the UK to economic operators from other states will either not apply or will have be applied separately through a trade or other similar agreement. 

The Defence Regulations will be updated with the Defence and Security Public Contracts (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 which will bring in both pre-exit and exit-related amendments to the Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011. So while it’s not possible, or advisable, to cover all the changes here, I hope that the above links will help you determine how a no deal Brexit will affect any procurements that are commenced after a no deal Brexit. 

You can here Phillip discuss this and other aspects of post-Brexit procurement in more detail through a recording of our recent webinar, ‘What a No Deal Brexit would Mean for Public Sector Procurement.’ To view the full video, click here.

Brexit Update: September 2019

Brexit has dominated the news over the past three years, and this shows no signs of abating.

The current deadline for the UK to exit the European Union (EU) is 31 October, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been categorical in his position that the UK will leave the European Union on this date – either with or without a deal.

Our latest Brexit report describes the key areas where future business opportunities will lie – should Brexit go through on 31 October.

Download your copy of this free report here.

New guidance document: Procurement after ‘no deal’

Figurines of construction workers move star on EU flag

As the political and legal situation around Brexit remains dynamic, the possibility of the UK leaving the European Union without a negotiated Withdrawal Agreement – a ‘no-deal Brexit’ – still exists. Until an alternative is legally formalised by both the UK and the remaining EU Member States, the current default position is for the UK to leave the EU without a deal.

Many businesses will have questions around the possible implications of a ‘no-deal Brexit’ and how they can prepare for this eventuality. Therefore, drawing on our 35 years of procurement experience, BiP Solutions is pleased to announce the publication of our new factsheet, ‘Procurement after “no deal”: What buyers and suppliers need to know about preparing for a “no deal Brexit” scenario.’

The seven-page document sets out clearly and simply the key questions that both buyers and suppliers are likely to have around the possibility of ‘no deal’ – and the current guidance that exists in these areas. The factsheet answers such questions as:

  • Where will public sector organisations publish tender notices if there is a ‘no deal Brexit’?
  • How might the procurement process change, and what will the effect be for supply chains?
  • Where will suppliers be able to find tender opportunities?
  • What steps will businesses need to take to continue to supply services to EU Member States?

Download your copy of the factsheet here.*

To view the latest procurement news and updates, visit BiP Solutions’ dedicated news and Brexit pages.

*Updates will follow to reflect the changing situation.

Business Growth in a Post-Brexit world

Many businesses may feel it is difficult to prepare for the coming months without knowing what will change on or after 29th March. Although the date the United Kingdom was scheduled to leave the European Union is fast approaching, it may seem that there is still relatively little certainty as to what Brexit means – either politically, or for business.

However, there are many areas of opportunity available to businesses regardless of the outcome of the coming weeks’ political decisions. Drawing on our 35 years of experience in public procurement, BiP Solutions have produced a new guidance document, ‘Opportunities and Trends for Business Growth in a Post-Brexit World.’ Drawing on recent announcements from the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, current guidance about the various possible outcomes for Brexit, and our expert knowledge of industry trends, the seven-page guidance document covers key areas that are set to provide multiple opportunities, both in the UK and across the world, over the months ahead.

Grahame Steed, Business Intelligence and e-Sourcing Director at BiP Solutions, said:

While the UK’s exit from the EU is creating a degree of uncertainty for businesses, the growth potential provided by the public sector at home and internationally remains vast. Now is the time to focus on identifying the right opportunities within this multi-billion pound sector, and engaging with the right organisations to ensure they are aware of what businesses can do to solve their challenges.

Read and download the latest guidance on upcoming trends and opportunities by clicking here.

To learn more about how BiP Solutions can help your business access opportunities in a range of sectors, visit www.bipsolutions.com.