The Government has published a Procurement Policy Note (PPN) setting out information and associated guidance on the public procurement regulations and responding to the current coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak. The exact response to COVID-19 will be tailored to the nature, scale and location of the threat in the UK, as understanding develops. The PPN acknowledges that in these exceptional circumstances, authorities may need to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency, and it points out that authorities are permitted to do this using regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations 2015.
Contracting authorities that have an urgent requirement for goods, services or works due to COVID-19, and need to procure this under the Public Contract Regulations 2015 have a range of options available to them. These include:
● direct award due to extreme urgency;
● direct award due to absence of competition or protection of exclusive rights;
● call off from an existing framework agreement or dynamic purchasing system;
● call for competition using a standard procedure with accelerated timescales;
● extending or modifying a contract during its term.
Depending on the specific nature of the requirement there may be further options, such as the additional delivery of supplies from an existing supplier, or using the services of a subsidiary of another contracting authority (regulation 12).
Authorities exploring these options must keep proper records of decisions and actions on individual contracts, and keep a written justification that demonstrates that the procurement satisfies the urgency requirements. Read the full PPN here.