Since leaving the EU, the Welsh Government agreed to the UK Government legislating on procurement procedures on behalf of Welsh Contracting Authorities in the Procurement Bill. Alongside this, the Welsh Government has chosen to introduce primary legislation which will focus on ensuring socially responsible outcomes are achieved in procurement (the Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Bill, the SPPP Bill). Further detail about the differences between these two Bills can be found on our dedicated procurement reform hub.
However, an important question to consider is how will these two Bills interact?
The main areas of interaction
Hannah Blythyn MS, a Welsh politician and Deputy Minister for Social Partnership has set out the following main areas of interaction:
- consistent terminology, which will lead to more accessible bilingual legislation.
- overlap between the Wales Procurement Policy Statement that is referenced in the Procurement Bill and the well-being goals referenced in the SPPP Bill, which encourages contracting authorities to consider how its procurement activity can contribute to sustainable development.
- procurement oversight arrangements and investigations required in both Bills, which provide for investigation on how contracting authorities carry out public procurement and comply with the legislation.
- annual reporting process in the SPPP Bill and the mechanism for tracking “key performance indicators” (i.e. a measure against which a supplier’s contract performance can be assessed) in the Procurement Bill. These reporting duties ensure a contracting authority must publish an annual report on its public procurement and publish three key performance indicators before entering a public contract (valued at c.£5m+). This means that a supplier’s contract performance will be evaluated and that socially responsible procurement objectives will be met.
The two Bills also share the same aims to:
- reduce the workload associated with procurement.
- increase transparency.
- strengthen accountability.
However, the Deputy Minister has emphasised that the Procurement Bill predominantly focuses on the procurement processes, whilst the SPPP Bill focuses on social partnerships.
It is evident that the Welsh and UK Government are working together to ensure cohesion between the two Bills. By moving the Bills forward together, it seems the aim is to avoid the procurement legislation conflicting, which inevitably will benefit both buyers and suppliers. This particularly protects Welsh suppliers from experiencing further complexity bidding for public contracts outside Wales. The interaction between the Bills and the simultaneous movement through the separate legislative processes further allows training and guidance to be developed for buyers and suppliers so that the reform is as clear and simple as possible.