EU procurement directive — why this unreasonable haste?
By Andrew Millross
The ink is not yet dry on the new EU procurement directive, but the Cabinet Office is already talking about ‘fast-track’ implementation. Although the European Parliament has only just passed the new directive, the UK regulations to change the EU procurement rules could be passed later this year.
The directive will allow up to two years for the UK implementing regulations to be put in place. Local authorities and other contracting authorities may therefore be forgiven for thinking that they have some time to get on top of the extensive changes that the directive will make. Not so, says the Cabinet Office. Originally it was talking about implementation in March 2014, but clearly this will not now be achievable. Our best guess at the moment is 1 January 2015 for the date when the UK regulations will come into force.
In the meantime, the Cabinet Office has been busy consulting on the minutiae of the implementation decisions. All these consultations have ended on the ‘close of play’ on the particular deadline, so clearly the Cabinet Office has not been put off watching cricket by recent events in Australia. ‘Close of play’ on 23 December was the deadline for responses to the consultation on ‘forms’. This consultation was all about what to do if the commission has not published the forms required for the new directive by the time the UK regulations are passed. We trust that the Cabinet Office civil servants enjoyed digesting the responses alongside their Christmas pudding…
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