Apr 26, 2017 Last Updated 3:38 PM, Apr 26, 2017

Designer Contracts considers the impact of the new Public Contracts Regulations 2015

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Last year, the New EU Procurement Directives were adopted in English law as the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. Peter Kelsey, Managing Director of Designer Contracts – one of the UK’s largest flooring contractors – considers the impact of the regulations and the frameworks alternative.

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The new Public Contracts Regulations 2015 is a landmark piece of legislation intended to shape the way the public sector tenders for years to come. The new regulations should simplify the tendering process and give a lot of suppliers a number of benefits. But it’s not all good news for some.

An authority has to balance various priorities, including quality, budget, delivery, timescales, policies on equality and sustainability. It also has to support small medium enterprises (SMEs) and local businesses where possible.

Under the new regulations, contracts over £10,000 and under £112,000 for central government and over £25,000 and under £173,000 for the wider public sector are now subject to open tendering. But these new rules mean that many more tenders will have to be prepared and evaluated, a hugely resource-intensive task on both sides.

Tender process

There has also been a tightening up on compliance and a greater need for transparency. You need to be able to demonstrate the business’s ability to meet requirements within the private and public sectors, signifying strong financial stability, compliance with legal requirements and competency, which means that for some authorities, using existing contractors will now become a thing of the past.

Many businesses will work hard to make sure they can adhere to every requirement in the tender process, but we feel some companies will still struggle to get on the first rung of this complicated ladder.

We are in a tough market with increasingly tight margins. To be able to compete in any tendering process it’s important that, as a company, we combine the buying power and delivery of a national business with local knowledge and customer service from our unique regional structure.

However for both public bodies and businesses there is a much quicker, simpler and competitive route to procure a range of different products. Using a national framework, where organisations have already been identified through competitive procurement, eligible public sector organisations can appoint a supplier without undertaking a separate time consuming, costly tendering process. A ‘win, win’ for both parties.

We are a preferred supplier to a number of national frameworks and procurement databases. They include ESPO, Procurement for Housing and the Crescent Purchasing Consortium. We also work with a number of social housing organisations, local authorities and other public sector bodies providing and installing flooring nationwide.

Positive experience

But whatever requirements we need to meet, for us service is fundamental to everything we do, which is why we moved our National Distribution Centre from one of the largest warehouses used by any flooring contractor, to one with three times the capacity. We can’t just rely on manufacturers holding enough stock for our customers’ needs. We need to hold stock to deliver the best service.

We have earned a reputation as one of the most reliable flooring contractors in the market. With over two decades’ experience in supplying floorcoverings across the UK, we offer a vast selection of products at competitive prices. From our 12 regional centres, we service a diverse range of businesses and organisations, covering single rooms to entire developments.

Within our regions, each team has extensive experience in the industry and is able to advise and develop a cost effective solution to ensure it provides excellent value for money.

The process of bidding for public contracts should be a more positive experience for all, enabling businesses to compete more fairly and effectively. However, only time will tell what changes the new regulations will really bring and who will in fact benefit or more importantly who will miss out. Or if national frameworks will become even more popular.

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