In the construction and property industry, there's a dreaded word associated with public sector procurement... And that word is OJEU.
Whilst 65% of the industry is for Remaining, I often find myself arguing with Brexiters over the impact a Leave vote will have on UK public sector procurement.
The overwhelming viewpoint is not a lot. UK procurement legislation generally mirrors that of the EU, so whilst we may have to find a different title, the process of procuring consultants, contractors and suppliers will not dramatically change.
What is at risk is the established procurement case law which ultimately protects businesses from silly decisions and unfair practices. It could be years before we've challenged and re-tested the various decisions that set the ground rules for procurement, and at the end of the process, it's likely we'll end up with the same result.
The other concern for UK business, as highlighted by the infographic in the link below, is the removal of a level playing field for UK firms when bidding for work in the EU.
If Construction 2025 encourages our industry to look for more opportunities to export and work internationally, a Leave vote will hinder opportunities and make working in, and exporting to, the EU more challenging.
So what will solve our procurement headache. It's quite simple:
- Public sector-wide adoption of PAS91, to provide a consistent pre-qualification methodology.
- Use of PAS91 compliant pre-approval services, such as Constructionline, to remove some of the admin burden from the tender process.
- Honesty - clients need to be more honest with what they want, and clear with their requirements. Ambiguous scopes encourage make bidding harder, encourage suicidal fee proposals and mean the tax payer doesn't always get what they paid for.
I'll be in Glasgow on the night of the count. It's going to be an interesting night, let's hope the right decision is made.
This insight is a personal viewpoint and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Pick Everard team as a whole. You can find out a little more about the firm's position on the referendum here.
European Courts jurisprudence falls away, leaving case-law gap on interpretation of UK procurement laws