Public Contract Regulations 2015
The first update to the EU Public Procurement Legislation in over 5 years will be put into force by Parliament on the 26th February 2015. We’ve been watching the development of the regulations closely and as the outcome of the public consultation are announced, we’ve reviewed and summarised some of the most important features for Social Care commissioning.
An interesting point about the new regulations are that the Part A / Part B division is being removed so that, for the first time, ‘services to the person’ come fully within the remit of the legislation. This offers more protection for providers, however the regulations for social, educational and health services (which will cover all areas of social care tendering) are being described as a ‘light touch regime’, which is likely to give individual Local Authority Commissioners considerable latitude in how they apply the procurement legislation. This is why we think there’s likely to be a period of ‘bedding in’ before any changes become clear, and we’re sure Local Authorities will be watching what each other are doing closely.
Another key point is the consultation exercise has highlighted calls for greater user involvement and consideration for user choice in how services are commissioned, and the Government appears to be responding positively to this. Service User involvement has been a feature in some areas of social care commissioning for some time, particularly youth services commissioning, but this model may well become more wide spread and possibly become a stronger feature of commissioning (?).
Also, there is a requirement within the new regulations that Public Sector Commissioners (e.g. Local Authorities) are required to pay providers within 30 days of a submitted invoice. Furthermore, they have to publish annual statistics reports on their compliance with this requirement. Now we’re not saying late payment is a problem with all Local Authorities but we have several clients for whom this is very good news. The new regulations are about to come into force (26th Feb). We will be monitoring the impact and any changes in commissioning practise closely and will report back once we know more.
The Insequa Team