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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.

Brexit: What happens now for procurement?

Man looking at crossroads with UK flag colours

[Updated: 14/03/2019]

Although the outcome of two major parliamentary votes on Brexit is now clear, very little has actually changed legally – for now. A lot remains to be decided over the coming days and weeks, and various Brexit scenarios remain possible. Here we briefly outline the possibilities and what they might mean for UK procurement.

For more detail on the implications of the different possible outcomes, download our five-page factsheet, ‘Procurement After Brexit.’

What has happened and what is next?

This week Parliament has voted to reject both the withdrawal deal that Prime Minister Theresa May negotiated with the EU, and the possibility of leaving the EU without a deal. There will now be a further vote (on 14th March) as to whether to request an extension to Article 50 and delay the date the UK leaves the European Union. A third vote on the previously-negotiated deal is now scheduled “before or on” 20th March.

Even though parliament has voted to reject a ‘no-deal Brexit’, the UK could still leave the EU without a deal if the ‘EU27’ countries do not agree to extend the Article 50 negotiation period.  Moreover, the scope and effect of any proposed extension remains to be seen. The current legal default position is for the UK to leave the EU without a deal on 29th March.

What if the UK does not leave on 29th March?

It’s worth reiterating that, until the UK formally leaves the EU, it is a full member of the EU. This means that, if there is an extension to Article 50, there will be little legislative difference from the current situation – pending any changes in UK or EU law in the interim.

When the UK does leave the EU, current guidance is that procurement rules as they stand now will be written into UK law under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. Under current guidance, any procurement procedures that are ongoing when the extension period ends will continue under the same regulations as now until an award is made.

However, the possibility of ‘no deal’ remains real in spite of the recent parliamentary vote, which has no legislative force.

What if there is a ‘no-deal Brexit’?

The Government has repeatedly assured that most regulations around procurement will remain the same regardless of the outcome of Brexit, as the majority of the relevant EU regulations are already written into UK and Scottish law.

It was also announced recently that the UK would be able to join the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) as an independent member if there is no deal, meaning that UK businesses will be able to continue to bid for contracts in the GPA’s member countries and blocs.

However, in other ways a ‘no-deal Brexit’ would represent major change for UK procurement. UK companies wishing to continue to work with the EU will need to apply for an EORI number. Given the possibility of ‘no deal’ – and that the Government advises that applying for an EORI number takes “around 10 minutes” – companies may want to consider the importance of applying for an EORI number even if it is ‘just in case.’

There is also the possibility that if there is a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, UK organisations will no longer be able to access OJEU. To learn more about the full implications of this, how companies can reduce the amount of action they will need to take, and an in-depth examination of the consequences of different possible Brexit scenarios, download our factsheet, ‘Procurement After Brexit: Deal or No Deal.’

A ‘no deal’ exit is now more likely than before, and the situation remains subject to much change over the next week. For the latest news, its specific consequences for procurement, and Government guidance documents, visit our dedicated Brexit page.

To learn more about how BiP Solutions can help with your contract and tendering needs, visit www.bipsolutions.com or call (+44) 0141 332 8247.

New Brexit Guidance for Procurement

Business people figurines shaking hands on map of Europe

The Government has released new guidance specifically aimed at those working in public procurement as to what the effect of the various possible Brexit outcomes will be for the industry.

The Procurement Policy Note (PPN), ‘Preparing the UK for Leaving the EU’, sets out guidance that will be applicable as soon as the UK leaves the EU, scheduled for 29th March. The guidance aims to cover all potential outcomes, whether or not the UK has negotiated a withdrawal deal with the EU. The PPN clarifies areas including how procurement notification requirements in the different constituent countries of the UK will be affected, the currently assumed length and scope of an ‘implementation period’, and – most crucially – the changes that suppliers will have to make if there is a ‘no-deal’ exit.

The PPN and explanatory notes can be accessed here.

BiP Solutions is specifically named in the explanatory ‘frequently asked questions’ supplement to the PPN, as one of the first e-senders to announce plans to integrate with the new, UK-specific tenders notification service that may supersede the Official Journal of the EU (OJEU) in the case of ‘no deal.’ This represents a potential major change for UK suppliers and how they do business. To find out more, read our recently updated guidance document, ‘Procurement After Brexit: Deal or No Deal‘, which complements the Government’s PPN.

For the latest updates on what Brexit means for procurement, visit BiP Solutions’ dedicated Brexit page.

Registration necessary to work with EU after Brexit

Woman at verify login page on computer screen

As preparations for the UK’s departure from the EU intensify, procurement professionals should ensure they are aware of the requirements to register for an Economic Operator and Registration Identification (EORI) number.

Late February’s announcement that UK businesses will be able to continue to trade with members of the GPA in the event of a ‘no-deal Brexit’ is undoubtedly welcome. However, businesses need to take steps to make sure that they will individually be able to do business internationally after 29th March. The primary requirement for businesses looking to continue to work with the EU will be to have an EORI number.

An EORI number is a requirement for moving goods into or out of the EU. The purpose of an EORI number is to allow HMRC to identify your company and collect the appropriate duties. If you do not have an EORI number, you may face delays and even increased costs, for example storage fees if HMRC cannot clear the goods involved in your transaction.

In the event that the UK leaves the European Union without a negotiated deal, you will need an EORI number to continue trading with the EU. This requirement will be effective as of ‘exit day.’

You can apply for an EORI number now even if you do not use it. While the situation around a potential deal between the UK and EU remains dynamic, the possibility of ‘no deal’ means that businesses that currently work with the EU may want to consider the importance of an EORI number. The Government advises that the application process should take less than ten minutes. Ensure that you have all the information you need to apply by viewing the Government’s advice here.

To learn more about how public procurement could be affected by various possible Brexit scenarios, click here to view BiP’s updated factsheet, ‘Procurement After Brexit: Deal or No Deal.’

International market remains open after Brexit

Business people shaking hands in airport with world map

It has been confirmed that British businesses will be able to continue bidding for contracts from across the world after the UK leaves the European Union.

In the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, the UK will join the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) as an independent member, as confirmed by the members of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The 19 members of the GPA include such major economies as Japan, the USA, Canada, Israel and the EU. The UK’s membership of the Agreement will mean that British businesses will be able to continue to bid on public sector contracts from other countries on much the same terms as currently. The reciprocal agreement allows businesses from across the world to continue to bid on £67 billion worth of public sector contracts in the UK, while British suppliers will be able to bid on £1.3 trillion worth of contracts in many different countries.

Grahame Steed, eSourcing and Business Intelligence Director at BiP Solutions, said:

“Clarity on the UK’s membership of the General Procurement Agreement post-Brexit is positive news. The international market for public sector contract opportunities is massive, so businesses should be encouraged that this market remains open, even after the UK exits the EU.”

If the UK leaves the EU without a withdrawal agreement, the UK will join the GPA as an independent member as quickly as possible. There may be a short delay for the GPA to take legal effect in the event of a ‘no-deal’ exit, but this is likely to last less than a month and the Government assures that “disruption to businesses is likely to be minimal.” If a negotiated withdrawal deal between the UK and EU includes an Implementation Period, the UK will remain a member of the GPA under EU schedules.

To learn more about the full effect of different potential Brexit outcomes on UK procurement, and what suppliers can do to reduce the level of action they’ll need to take, read our updated guidance document, ‘Procurement After Brexit: Deal or No Deal’ here.

The full Government press release on GPA membership can be read here.

Brexit latest: publishing contracts if there’s no deal

Crowds representing UK and EU flags

After a tumultuous week in Westminster, the situation surrounding the UK’s exit from the EU continues to be dynamic. Although the ‘meaningful vote’ of 15th January has now taken place, and the Government has survived a no-confidence vote,  much remains to be decided and clarified – not least before the next vote, currently scheduled for 29th January.

However, preparations are underway for various outcomes, and what their effect will be for public procurement in the UK. At BiP Solutions, we are working hard behind the scenes to ensure it continues to be ‘business as usual’ for our customers post 29th March and are pleased to share the update below.

What has the Government said about ‘no deal’?

As previously described in a technical note published in September, the Government has stated that it will ensure that the regulation for public procurement will continue to function in the “unlikely event” of a ‘no-deal’ exit. Current regulations will be adapted as necessary to remain in operation, should this situation arise. The Government reassures that most procurement regulations “will remain exactly the same.”

What might change?

If the UK leaves the EU without a withdrawal deal being agreed, the key change for public procurement will be that contracting authorities would be required to send notices to a new, UK-specific e-notification service. This would replace the need to send to the EU Publications Office and Tenders Electronic Daily. Advertising in Contracts Finder, MOD Defence Contracts Online, Public Contracts Scotland, Sell2Wales and eTendersNI would remain a requirement, as is currently the case.

As a leading e-Sender, BiP Solutions has been working closely with the Cabinet Office to develop this new service.

What will reduce the level of action needed?

As we understand the Cabinet Office’s current guidance, contracting authorities which currently use an ‘e-Sender’, a third-party provider, to submit publications to the EU Publications Office will be able to continue with this approach, regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations. However, this is dependent on e-Senders also completing the integration process to send notices to the new UK-specific e-notification service, should this be enacted.

Simon Burges, CEO of BiP Solutions, said:

I am delighted to say that BiP Solutions were one of the first e-Senders in the UK to confirm to the Cabinet Office that we will integrate our services with the new UK e-notification service. This is great news for our customers, since any authority working with BiP will need to take very little action to change their current method of publishing contracts, unlike other e-Senders who may be required to publish notices manually.

This year, we celebrate our 35th anniversary and whilst our operation has grown considerably in size and scope over the years, our core values remain unchanged. We will continue to remain at the heart of the buyer/supplier relationship and support our customers through all stages of their procurement journey, and that includes providing advice and guidance – deal or no deal.

Contracting authorities who work with other e-Senders or who submit their notices directly to the EU Publication Office may need to publish their notices manually to the new UK notification service. Information as to how to do this has not yet been released, meaning that these organisations will have to await further advice depending on future developments.

To find out more about how BiP Solutions can help with your contract and tendering needs, visit www.bipsolutions.com or call (+44) 0141 332 8247.