The current thresholds for contracts governed by the Public Contracts Regulations have been in place since 1 January 2016. They are due to change on 1 January 2018. This could mean changes are on their way for your business so make sure you are on high alert for when the new thresholds are announced.
To recap what the EU public procurement thresholds are, let’s look over the laws that you must consider when working with the public sector.
Public procurement law
Public procurement law regulates public sector purchasing and certain utility sector bodies.
When procuring goods and services over the financial threshold, the public procurement laws governing the process are the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2016 in Scotland.
These Regulations transpose into UK law the agreements reached in the EU Public Contracts Directive (2014/24/EU).
The purpose of the Directive – and therefore of the Regulations – is to open the EU’s public procurement market to competition. These laws stop ‘buy national’ policies and help to promote the free movement of goods and services between European countries, as well as non-discrimination between buyers and suppliers.
Find out more about procurement legislation in the Ultimate Guide to Winning Government Contracts.
What are procurement thresholds?
Obviously, it is not sensible to open every tiny procurement up to European competition nor to expect very small procurements by public bodies such as parish councils to be subject to the full set of Regulations. Therefore, a set of value thresholds has been put in place – the EU public procurement thresholds.
The EU public procurement thresholds are agreed by the European Commission every two years. Contract opportunities issued by buyers in any EU Member State which are valued at or above these thresholds must be submitted to the OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union) for publication throughout the European Union. This opens them up to suppliers throughout the EU.
These contracts are subject to the above-mentioned Regulations, which transpose into UK law the agreements reached in the EU Public Contracts Directive.
Contract opportunities valued below these thresholds do not have to be published outside their country of origin and are subject to slightly less stringent regulation. The lower the value of the opportunity, the less stringent the requirements for competition and transparency surrounding the procurement.
When will the new procurement thresholds be announced?
The new thresholds are due to be announced any day as the current thresholds are only applicable until 31 December 2017. Keep up to date with the most recent procurement legislation on our website or follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter.