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Since the morning of the 24th June, when we learnt the UK has voted for #Brexit (Yay / Boo, depending which side of the 52% / 48% divide you were on), many people have asked me, how I think it may affect OJEU procurement. It's an interesting question and a lot of people assume, probably incorrectly that brexit may simplify the whole business of procurement. I am very doubtful.
The OJEU rules have become the way that public procurement is to be done, across socialhousing and many other areas. While there are scores of pages of rules to follow, I am of the opinion that it enables contracting bodies to make measured and considered decisions, that on the whole drive good VfM. The rules are more a tool, than a straitjacket. Granted, suppliers jump are made to jump through some hoops, but for the benefit of thoughtful decisions being made by contracting bodies.
While the OJEU rules seem to have been around pretty much forever, it's worth considering what we did before. Many of the more organised organisations had an internal set of procedures, usually trying to achieve a similar outcome. Having worked on both sides of OJEU, when MD of a supplier and over the last five years with my clients, I can see how the current rules protect both parties. Having a single set of rules better controls the 'challenging' of a procurement, from both viewpoints. Having different standards of procedure going forward, would work to the detriment of both parties on trying to determine valid grounds of challenge and also mitigating its possibility.
The OJEU rules have been deeply incorporated into UK law and our government will need an appetite to repeal, or amend those rules. Where UK companies are bidding for contracts in the EU or in fact EFTA, if we are still allowed to, that is, the current OJEU rules will have to be adhered to anyway. Westminster might well prefer to retain a means of regulating housing, NHS and local council purchasing, to police process, in order to ensure value for money. If under brexit, we still have to follow the OJEU rules, chances are away from the EU top table, we will have no future power to influence future changes.
We are certainly in for interesting times, let's wait & see.
I will be doing a session at a Devonshire's solicitors seminar event, September 15th 2016. You can sign up for free, lunch and canapés afterwards included. It would be great to see you there, at Finsbury Circus, London, EC2M 7DT. Sign up now on this link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/RSH9QDP
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(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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