UK Exit from EU - Information for non-UK candidates and tenderers
At 23.00hrs on 31 December 2020, it is widely accepted that UK will leave the European Union with or without a deal. This will affect how UK Contracting Authorities implement the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, particularly in respect of non-discrimination of non-UK candidates and tenderers.
Until 31 December 2020, UK public sector organisations have been obliged to accept bids from non-UK companies without discrimination, if they are based in EU states or countries that are signed up to the World Trade Organisation's Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) which the UK is currently signed up to as a part of our membership of the EU.
From 1 January 2021, if a trade deal repeating these non-discrimination requirements is not reached - i.e a NO DEAL exit - UK Contracting Authorities will not be bound to the EU rules.
The UK Government has confirmed that in the event no deal is agreed with the EU, it is their intention to apply for accession to become a member of the GPA, and in October 2020, the World Trade Organisation's GPA members granted the UK the right to submit its GPA instrument of accession to the Committee in 2021.
Should a no deal Brexit occur, until the UK accedes to the Government Procurement Agreement in its own right, which could be as late as March/April 2021 or even beyond, UK Contracting Authorities will not be bound to any GPA rules and some may use this as an opportunity to restrict access to tender opportunities for non UK based bidders.
However, in order to maintain its open, fair and transparent ethos, and to encourage open competition that we believe will be in keeping with any final agreement reached by UK Government, LHC confirms we do not intend to discriminate against any non-UK company, unless specifically instructed otherwise by the LHC Board or the UK Government.
In terms of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015; (until advised otherwise by UK Government) LHC consider these fully applicable with the exception of the requirement to advertise new above threshold opportunities via the Find a Tender Service (See PPN 08/20) instead of Tender Electronics Daily (TED).
In addition, LHC will ensure that all call off contracts from our Frameworks will continue to adhere to the same principles of fairness, openness and transparency. As such any non UK based organisation appointed to an LHC Framework will not be restricted from the opportunity to bid for suitable call off contracts.
We will, of course, maintain our stance supporting SMEs and Micro Organisations and our Clients will be able to place call-off contracts with LHC Appointed Companies that provide regional and local environmental, economic and social benefits.