Though the United Kingdom left the European Union on January 31 2020, the transition period (during which the UK remains under EU law) continues through to December 31 2020. There is still debate as to whether a deal will be reached, or whether the UK will ultimately move beyond the EU without a deal having been agreed. But no matter what happens, Brexit spells the end of how the UK conducts business on so many levels, with public procurement rules being particularly impacted by this historic moment.
Public procurement is about how the likes of national government and local authorities purchase the goods and products from organisations of all shapes and sizes. During its time as a member state of the EU (and during this current transitional period), there have been specific rules for British authorities to advertise its business contracts, which is especially noteworthy when it comes to property management and energy suppliers.
All of this will change come January 1 2021 (or later, depending on whether the transition period is extended or not). At that point, the EU regulations on public procurement would no longer apply to British authorities on either a national or local level. And this would prove to be a major shift for certain sectors. Bear in mind that we still await any new terms that could be enforced by the UK government on the free movement of goods and services if they had already been in place prior to Great Britain leaving the European Union. More than likely, though, we should begin to adapt to a situation where home-grown contract suppliers take on greater significance when it comes to public procurement.
Already, we’re hearing that UK bidders for European Union-funded projects are being turned away, almost creating a sense that British businesses would not be welcome for certain developments. This, in turn, could result in the same companies focusing on more projects close to home. These would include council-run properties, schools and academies. Without the EU regulations to be concerned about, there could be a greater level of choice available, and also a stronger focus on energy providers and service suppliers within the British Isles.
However, there may be a balance. If we do end up with a no-deal Brexit, then the businesses themselves could strike smaller deals with EU representatives. They would be independent of the Government’s stance, but without the EU rules hanging over them during such trade agreements, thus giving them more freedom about how to manage their international contracts.
Crucially, these organisations should prepare now by considering every potential scenario depending on the outcome of the UK’s negotiations with the EU. Time is ticking away, so by drawing up plans for each possibility at this point, they will be ready to flourish come January 1 2021, whether a deal has been reached or not. One thing is for sure: public procurement processes are about to change, but how much and how they would specifically apply to particular trades remains to be seen.
In addition, if your business uses any public land, then you will be procuring alone rather than as part of a larger group. Whether you're a nursery, school, academy, healthcare provider or another body trading while using public money or resources, you would have the opportunity to gain control over your energy contracts. And this will prove pivotal as we enter a new era for public procurement.
To learn about how public procurement rule changes could allow you to save energy with our help after Brexit and while the Covid-19 pandemic, continues, simply call us on 0151 433 2001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.