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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.

What are CPV codes?

cpv codes

CPV codes are a system of classification for public procurement which uses standardised vocabulary to help procurement personnel classify their contract notices consistently and to make it easier for suppliers and contracting authorities to find notices.

CPV stands for Common Procurement Vocabulary and the system was developed by the European Union as a tool to improve transparency and efficiency in public procurement. Using a standardised coding format also makes it easier to facilitate the processing of tenders published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). The use of CPVs has been mandatory in the European Union since 1 February 2006.

The CPV system consists of a main vocabulary, which defines the type of contract; and a supplementary vocabulary, which adds further qualitative information about the contract. The main vocabulary is made up of approximately 9450 terms, listing goods, works and services which are commonly used in procurement.

Each CPV code has a nine-digit structure, with the first two digits representing the top-level categories, the next six representing ever more defined levels of classification, and a ninth digit verifying the previous digits. The more numbers from 1 to 9 a CPV code has, the more specific the item is; and the more zeros it has, the more general it is.

For example:

The first two digits identify the divisions (XX000000-Y);
The first three digits identify the groups (XXX00000-Y);
The first four digits identify the classes (XXXX0000-Y);
The first five digits identify the categories (XXXXX000-Y);
Each of the next three digits establishes a greater degree of precision within the relevant category, while the ninth and final digit serves to verify the previous digits.

Supplementary vocabulary is used to provide further qualitative information, and to expand the description of the subject of a contract. This vocabulary is made up of an alphanumeric code with corresponding wording allowing further details to be added regarding the specific nature or destination of the goods to be purchased.
The alphanumeric code is made up of a first level, which is a letter corresponding to a section; and a second level, which comprises four digits that define its attributes.

While CPV codes are vital in many aspects of public procurement, finding the correct code can sometimes be a confusing and time-consuming task. Thankfully, at BiP Solutions we have a free CPV code search tool to help you identify and categorise tenders which will save you countless hours which can be spent more productively.