What is the National Procurement Policy Statement?

The UK Government has published a national procurement policy statement, setting out strategic priorities for public procurement. Section 13 of the Procurement Act 2023 gives a Minister of the Crown power to publish such a statement after carrying out consultation and laying the statement before Parliament. Contracting authorities are required to have regard to the national policy statement.

However, some contracting authorities are exempt from this obligation, including devolved Welsh authorities, who are obliged to have regard to a Wales procurement policy statement published by the Welsh Ministers. The statement will come into force on 28 October 2024 and will apply until it is withdrawn, amended, or replaced.

The national procurement policy statement establishes the following national priorities, to which contracting authorities that are within the scope of the statement, must have regard when exercising their functions relating to procurement:

Value for money

Contracting authorities are required to optimise their use of public funds by balancing effectiveness, efficiency and economy over the life-cycle of a product, service, or works to achieve the intended outcomes of the procurement. This includes wider socio-economic and environmental benefits and impacts. The statement says that commercial teams should ensure that they have a good understanding of the policy or programme of which their procurement is a part and that procurement should be designed and managed to enhance the achievement of the associated policy outcomes.

Social Value

In their procurements, contracting authorities should have regard to the outcomes of:

  • Creating resilient businesses and opportunities for quality employment and skills development.
  • Improving innovation, supply chain resilience and security of supply.
  • Tackling climate change and reducing waste.

Contracting authorities should also take into account any additional local priorities where they are relevant to the contract and proportionate.

The statement says that contracting authorities mustn’t overburden suppliers to achieve these outcomes, such as imposing onerous requirements or using disproportionate clauses.

Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

The statement says that contracting authorities should ensure they level the playing field with their procurement activity. To allow small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), voluntary, community and social enterprises (VCSEs) and start-ups to compete in public procurement by reducing and removing barriers in the procurement process.

Commercial and procurement delivery

The statement says that contracting authorities should consider whether they have the right operational policies and processes in place to manage the key stages of commercial delivery. This includes considering how the principles, practices and guidance from the Government’s Playbook series could be applied to their organisation.

Skills and capability for procurement

The statement says that contracting authorities should consider their organisational capability and workforce plans. This includes ensuring they have the procurement and contract management skills and resources required to deliver value for money. They should also be confident that they have sufficient workforce and capability to ensure taxpayers’ money is spent effectively and efficiently. The statement refers to professional standards which contracting authorities can use to benchmark themselves, including the Commercial Continuous Improvement Assessment Framework

Produced by the Government Commercial Function with NHS England and the Local Government Association

Contracting authorities should ensure that they are familiar with the priorities set out in the national procurement policy statement and that they make provisions to ensure that their procurement strategies and processes take account of these.

If you require any assistance with making provisions to strategies or processes or any other matters discussed in this article, please contact Clare Hardy

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