Tender Process for Public Work Contracts

As a contractor I wish to apply to contract work from a local authority or another public body. How do I go about getting this work?

With the current financial climate concerning the private sector much of the construction industry has turned to the public sector to be provided with enough income to carry on their business.

This area of the law is detailed public procurement law and is concerned with public sector bodies contracting out for goods, work or services.

In the UK there used to be thee separate regulations which were depending on whether the contract was for the procurement of goods, works or services. These have now been brought under one piece of legislation which came into force on 31 January 2006 – the Public Contracts Regulations 2006.

Public Contracts Regulations 2006

Application of the Regulations

The Public Contracts Regulations will apply when the following three conditions are met:

  • The procuring body must be a contracting authority
  • The contract must be for public works, services of supplies
  • The estimated value of the contract must meet the relevant financial threshold

Contracting Authority

The definition of a contracting authority includes the following:

  • Central government
  • Local authorities
  • Associations formed by one or more contracting authorities
  • Bodies governed by public law – i.e. landlords and fire authorities

Public Works, Services or Supplies

The contract must be for public works, services or supplies meaning that where a contract may be mixed between private and public the contracting authority must determine the predominant element of the contract stating whether the Public Contracts Regulations will apply to the contract.

Relevant Financial Threshold

In order for the contract to fall within the scope of the Public Contracts Regulations the estimated value (net of VAT) must equal or exceed the following relevant financial thresholds:

  • £,927,260 for the procurement of works
  • £101,323 for the procurement of supplies and Part A Services by Central Government Bodies
  • £156,442 for the procurement of supplies and Part A Services by other public sector bodies

What happens if the contract that I apply for falls below the financial threshold?

Contracts which fall below the above thresholds are not caught by the Regulations as such but there are suggestions that where they are of a certain interest to suppliers located in other European Union Member States contracting authorities must procure them in line with the general European Union principles of non-discrimination, equal treatment, transparency, proportionality and mutual recognition. What this means in effect is that the contract must have been adequately advertised.

The same will apply to contracts which fall within the definition of Part B services.

What is meant by Part A and Part B Services?

The Public Contracts Regulations make a differentiation between Part A (Priority) Services and Part B (Residual) Services. Part A contracts which meet the above thresholds are covered by the Regulations. Certain aspects of Part B services are caught by a less stringent regime under the Regulations.

Part A services cover the following things:

  • Computer and related services

  • Accounting services

  • Architectural and consultancy services

Contracts which are for the provision of building services will therefore fall within the definition of Part A services.

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