United Kingdom: Public Procurement

This country-specific Q&A provides an overview of Public Procurement laws and regulations applicable in United Kingdom.

  1. Please summarise briefly any relationship between the public procurement / government contracting laws in your jurisdiction and those of any supra-national body (such as WTO GPA, EU, UNCITRAL)

  2. What types of public procurement / government contracts are regulated in your jurisdiction and what procurement regimes apply to these types of procurements?

  3. Are there specified financial thresholds at which public procurement regulation applies in your jurisdiction?

  4. Are procurement procedures below the value of the financial thresholds specified above subject to any regulation in your jurisdiction? If so, please summarise the position.

  5. For the procurement of complex contracts*, how are contracts publicised? What publication, journal or other method of publicity is used for these purposes?

  6. For the procurement of complex contracts, where there is an initial selection stage before invitation to tender documents are issued, what are typical grounds for the selection of bidders?

  7. Does your jurisdiction mandate that certain bidders are excluded from tendering procedures (e.g. those with convictions for bribery)? If so what are those grounds of mandatory exclusion?

  8. Please describe a typical procurement procedure for a complex contract. Please summarise the rules that are applicable in such procedures.

  9. If different from the approach for a complex contract, please describe how a relatively low value contract would be procured?

  10. What is seen as current best practice in terms of the processes to be adopted over and above ensuring compliance with the relevant regime, taking into account the nature of the procurement concerned?

  11. Please explain any rules which are specifically applicable to the evaluation of bids.

  12. Please describe any rights that unsuccessful bidders have that enable them to receive the reasons for their score and (where applicable in your jurisdiction) the reasons for the score of the winning bidder.

  13. What remedies are available to unsuccessful bidders in your jurisdiction?

  14. Are public procurement law challenges common in your jurisdiction?

  15. Typically, assuming a dispute concerns a complex contract, how long would it take for a procurement dispute to be resolved in your jurisdiction (assuming neither party is willing to settle its case).

  16. What rights/remedies are given to bidders that are based outside your jurisdiction?

  17. Where an overseas-based bidder has a subsidiary in your territory, what are the applicable rules which determine whether a bid from that bidder would be given guaranteed access to bid for the contract?

  18. In your jurisdiction is there a specialist court or tribunal with responsibility for dealing with public procurement issues?

  19. Are post-award contract amendments/variations to publically procured, regulation contracts subject to regulation in your jurisdiction?

  20. How common are direct awards for complex contracts (contract awards without any prior publication or competition)?

  21. Have your public procurement rules been sufficiently flexible to allow contracting authorities to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic? What measures have been most used and in what areas have any difficulties arisen? How have these evolved over the past year and is it likely that lessons learned from procurement during this period will give rise to longer term changes?