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UK General Election 2019: What Next?

The General Election of 12 December 2019 gave the Conservative party a comfortable majority, meaning that the Government will likely find it easy to introduce the legislation and changes to public spending that they wish. Here, we review what we know so far about the pledges the Government made before the election, and the effect they are likely to have for business with the public sector.

As the situation continues to develop, the BiP Solutions news page will bring you the latest updates, and what they mean for public procurement.

Spending pledges

Incumbent Chancellor Sajid Javid has proposed revision of the rules concerning government borrowing, to allow borrowing so long as debt does not exceed 3% of GDP, rather than 2%. This allows for potentially dramatically greater spending. The Conservatives’ election manifesto pledges were costed at an increase in spending of £2.9bn a year by 2022. The NHS has also been a major source of discussion, with a proposed bill enshrining an increase in funding for the NHS, alongside the pledge to recruit thousands more nurses. Similarly, the Conservatives have pledged to recruit more police officers. Such recruitment would mean, for example, a greater requirement for uniforms, catering, facilities management, payroll and HR solutions and other services. Investment into people usually requires investment into infrastructure – for example new buildings or the renovation and re-fit of existing premises – which in turn drives a fresh cycle of investment into furniture, IT equipment and other goods.

Infrastructure is another potential major source of investment, with the Conservative manifesto allowing for up to £100bn in additional capital spending over the next five years. Of this amount, £22bn has been designated for specific projects, such as £2bn on fixing potholes and £2.2bn on a public sector carbon reduction scheme. £78bn of the infrastructure fund remains to be allocated. You can read more about the outcome of the election and what it means for the construction industry at Construction Online.

On tax, the Conservative manifesto pledges to raise the national insurance threshold to £9500 from next year, and that there will be no rises in rates of income tax, national insurance or VAT. There is also a reaffirmation of the party’s pledge to make the UK a carbon-neutral country by 2050, with the attendant spending on renewable energy and associated technology. More speculatively, there have also been discussions of reforming central government departments such as the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence. To read more about the outcomes of the election for the MoD and the defence industry, visit Defence Online.

To read more about key trends for public procurement in the wake of the general election, download our recent report, ‘The Public Sector Market in 2020 and Beyond.’ Published ahead of the election, this report includes detailed breakdown of data relating to public sector notices before and after election periods, and describes the major themes that will shape public procurement in 2020.

Brexit confirmed?

The Conservatives’ election victory also appears to reduce some of the uncertainty around Brexit. The Government will seek to implement the Withdrawal Agreement that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously negotiated with the EU, ahead of 31 January. The Conservative party has previously 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 Cabinet Office has suggested a divergence of procurement rules from EU standards post-Brexit, with the aim of making it simpler for smaller firms to bid for local government contracts. Such changes may be dependent, however, on the terms of the future trading relationship with the EU, and the required alignment of terms.

During the transition period, the UK will remain aligned with EU rules. The Conservative party have previously stated that there will be no extension to the transition period beyond the end of 2020, and the Prime Minister will potentially modify the Withdrawal Agreement Bill to enshrine this in law. The date of the end of the transition period is significant as, in spite of the most recent Brexit extension up to 31 January 2020, trade regulations effectively replicating a ‘no-deal Brexit’ will remain the legal default unless a trade agreement superseding this is ratified by both the EU and the UK Parliament. This remains the case in spite of the Withdrawal Agreement previously negotiated with the EU.

For all the latest news, guidance and information relating to Brexit and public procurement, visit BiP Solutions’ dedicated Brexit resources page. Alongside guidance on how businesses can best prepare for a ‘no-deal Brexit’, our recent report ‘Brexit: Challenges and Opportunities for Public Sector Buyers’ is also available. Based on a detailed survey of public sector procurement leaders, this research report reveals what the public sector really thinks of Brexit, and how prepared the public sector is – including for a ‘no-deal’ outcome.

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

Please note that BiP Solutions will be posting an update at the start of the week of 16 December in light of the result of the General Election.

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.’

New healthcare market report: Beyond Collaboration and Transformation

Over £1 billion is spent every three days in the NHS. However, it can be a daunting and complex system to navigate when it comes to procurement. While there is a huge opportunity for procurement professionals, it’s important for both buying and supplying organisations to ensure they’re working together in the most efficient and effective way possible.

To help both NHS professionals and suppliers understand the healthcare procurement market in greater depth, BiP Solutions is pleased to announce Health Online’s latest market report, Current Trends in Healthcare Procurement: Beyond Collaboration and Transformation. Following the recent P4H England 2019 event, which took place at Birmingham’s NEC on 4 July, the report includes expert analysis and comment from procurement leaders who spoke at P4H on some of the major questions for contemporary healthcare procurement:

Collaboration across the NHS: what impact does the tension between centralised directives and devolved decision-making have on healthcare procurement, and how can trusts work together to cut costs while delivering on clinical requirements?

The buyer-supplier relationship: how do trusts ensure their frameworks are fit for purpose and attract the best supplier talent, while also ensuring that suppliers deliver to the terms of the contract?

Transformation: what is the relationship between large-scale, centralised transformation projects such as the new operating model for NHS Supply Chain, and continuous improvement at trust level?

Health Online is a new online community  bringing together NHS professionals and commercial partners from the world of healthcare. Offering the latest news covering all aspects of healthcare, features from thought leaders and media display opportunities, Health Online is a ‘one-stop shop’ for everything happening in healthcare today. Health Online Sales Director Sam Gilding said:

Our ambition is for Health Online to become the default social community for professionals to network, share ideas and build long lasting relationships in this key marketplace.”

This exclusive report also includes

  • the results of Health Online’s recent ‘Impact of Procurement in Healthcare’ research survey, revealing what healthcare procurement leaders think about the challenges and opportunities currently facing them
  • analysis of the highest-spending NHS organisations in the NHS, and their key areas of spend
  • a full review of the P4H England event
  • and more.

To download a full copy of the report, or to register with Health Online and keep up with all the latest NHS and healthcare news, click here.

New report – Transforming Infrastructure: Building Britain’s Future

BiP Solutions is pleased to announce the launch of its new market report - Transforming Infrastructure: building Britain’s future,

BiP Solutions is pleased to announce the launch of its new market report – Transforming Infrastructure: Building Britain’s Future, a must-read report for those working or looking to work in the infrastructure marketplace.

The infrastructure sector provides a wealth of opportunities for businesses in the know, with key supply chains currently being built up for the megaprojects scheduled to be built in Britain over the next decade. This report shows where those opportunities will become available so you can plan how to build your business strategy.

This new market report from BiP highlights the latest trends and opportunities within the sector, and follows the hugely successful UK Infrastructure Show (UKIS) hosted by BiP at the NEC in April. The show, held in conjunction with Procurex – the UK’s premier public procurement event – saw 1400 delegates enjoying over 30 free training sessions, five leading industry figures speaking in the Keynote Arena, plus network and collaboration zones and a wealth of exhibition stands.

Talking points from the show, together with results from the survey conducted by our media partner, Construction Online, into the infrastructure marketplace, have inspired deeper research into the market, to help identify opportunities for buyers and suppliers within the sector. This has resulted in our new market report, which identifies these trends.

Infrastructure has been one of the better performers for the construction industry throughout this unsettled political and economic period with the National Infrastructure Pipeline inspiring confidence in the sector that is perhaps lacking elsewhere.

The National Infrastructure Pipeline evidenced a buoyant infrastructure sector over the next decade, confirming over 700 projects which will see over £600bn worth of investment in the UK. The National Infrastructure Commission produced its own analysis of the figures and statements and responded with an assessment of how the pipeline will be delivered.

This new report considers both the pipeline and assessment and how such huge transformation can be achieved in the timescales required. As well as a copy of the key findings from Construction Online’s Infrastructure Survey, the report includes an in-depth review of UKIS 2019 and the discussions that took place.

Download the full report now to find out how BiP Solutions can help you to access the huge opportunities within this £600bn sector.

Cyber Security Awareness Week

In recent years cyber security has become ever more of a pressing issue. The after-effects of the devasting WannaCry attack that affected major organisations in 150 countries around the world, including the NHS, are still being felt, and the scale of cyber interference in worldwide democracy is starting to become apparent – if not fully realised yet. Gone are the days when ‘cyber security’ simply meant individual users not clicking links in scam emails; cyber attacks are becoming ever more insidious, sophisticated and large-scale. The National Cyber Security Centre has said it defends the UK from an average of ten cyber attacks per week.

Bearing all of this in mind, the need for companies to become aware of the risks, and to ensure that they are as they are as secure as possible, should be apparent. In this post, we’ll discuss about how BiP Solutions can help, and give a round-up of our cyber security-related updates from this week.

Cyber Essentials

Cyber Essentials is a Government-backed and industry-supported scheme that helps both businesses and public sector organisations protect themselves against cyber attacks and provides a clear statement of the basic controls organisations should have in place to protect themselves. The certification defines clear guidance on basic cyber security for organisations of all sizes, and offers a solid foundation of cyber security measures that all types of organisations can implement at a low cost.

Being Cyber Essentials certified is mandatory for any organisation bidding for central government and MOD contracts that deal with the handling of personal information and/or the provision of certain IT products and services. Therefore, if you’re looking to bid for these contracts, you must hold Cyber Essentials certification.

For Cyber Security Awareness Week we’re offering the chance to become certified for £250 plus VAT, through using the code ‘Cyberaware50’ at the checkout. See Cyber Essential’s top ‘next steps’ tips here, and for more details, see https://www.cyberessentialsonline.co.uk/.

Expert analysis & opinion

To learn more about how cyber security is currently affecting procurement, download our two most recent reports. Our 15-page ‘Challenges & Opportunities for Local Government Procurement in a Digital World’ includes a feature on key digital trends in procurement, including cyber security and its links to blockchain technology. Our survey report, ‘Procurement Approaches Across the Public Sector: Challenges & Opportunities 2018-19’, produced in collaboration with our colleagues from iGov Survey, brings together research and opinions from throughout the public sector. Key statistics include the fact that 63% of respondents said that they now have a designated cyber security lead.

Cyber security has a huge crossover with the Defence sector, not only in terms of active national security operations – an ever-growing area of focus – but also in areas that affect every business or organisation, such as ensuring transactions are secure. Each day this week our Defence Online site has been featuring special contributions from industry experts on how cyber security affects many different areas of the Defence sector. Read all the features here. And for more on how the Defence sector in particular needs to consider the ease with which cyber attacks can be conducted, see this post from our Defence Contracts International site, along with more cyber security top tips.

To learn more about BiP Solutions and our full range of solutions and how they can help ensure you’re working as securely as possible, visit our homepage.

Brexit: A Buyer Perspective

Brexit Buyer Perspective

The possibilities for post-Brexit public sector procurement are endless: for instance, it could reduce the legislative burden on suppliers or allow UK buyers to favour national goods/services.

While there is real potential for positive change, nothing will be known for sure until Brexit negotiations are completed. However, if you are working within the UK marketplace it is natural to want to prepare for the future.

So instead of listening to the naysayers, why not listen to public sector buyers who have sound knowledge of the subject?

Brexit: A Buyer Perspective hears from UK public sector buyers, revealing their forecasts for post-Brexit procurement reform, as well as opinions on how changes could be capitalised upon.

Written in layman’s terms, A Buyer Perspective shows the survey results from a cross-section of UK procurement officials, with detailed analysis of the results.

The report examines public sector buyer opinion across a range of topics including Brexit’s impact on future procurement activities, thresholds and procedures, along with the possibility of favouring bids from UK suppliers.

Free to download as a PDF, Brexit: A Buyer Perspective can be consumed on the go or easily printed.

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