Have the new procurement rules simplified and improved the public procurement process?

Wren, Robert J. (2019) Have the new procurement rules simplified and improved the public procurement process? Doctoral thesis, Anglia Ruskin University.

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Abstract

Public services which must be procured are currently provided in partnership with the private and third sector, with an estimated £284 billion a year in 2018 spent in the United Kingdom on buying goods and services from external suppliers – amounting to around a third of public expenditure. The need for the reform and modernisation of public procurement law and practice to increase the efficiency, effectiveness and understanding of public procurement in the EU has long been recognised resulting in the new Procurement Directive 2014/24/EU. This Professional Doctorate in Law research examines whether and to what extent the new EU rules which have been transposed into the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (as amended) have modernised, simplified and made more flexible the public procurement process in the United Kingdom. This research undertakes a black letter / doctrinal approach of the relevant laws in order to analyse and compare the past and present legal frameworks. A black letter law methodology was followed as I needed to undertake a legal/textural analysis of the new rules to better understand how they compare and contrast with the old rules. In undertaking an analysis of all the changes, modifications and reforms to the law from Directive 2014/24/EU and from my experience in practice when applied to the procurement process I selected a number of specific topics for my research. The topics selected were Selection Criteria, Contract Award Criteria, Framework Agreements and Abnormally Low Tenders. These topic areas were selected as they represent topics which regularly occur in public procurement and therefore provide an important and reasonable indication of the kinds of challenges the new rules give rise to in practice. As black letter law methodologies do not capture the application of the law in practice, I have followed an empirical interview methodology to record the perceptions of experienced practitioners of public procurement. The voices and perspectives of these practitioners are currently largely absent from the available academic literature. The investigation was undertaken using 27 participants and whilst this is not a large number and the findings are not generalisable to the larger community, these participants have a cumulative experience of over 1700 procurements and therefore have provided rare and invaluable insights into the procurement process. This research finds that several participants considered that the new rules had made some areas in the procurement process more complex and made the procurement procedure difficult to operate in practice. The new rules were not perceived by most participants to have simplified or improved the public procurement process. This may be as a result of either a lack of understanding of the rules in certain areas or a resistance to change existing procedures and processes followed by the participants. From these findings further research on the rules is required together with the need for practical training and guidance on the rules, obligations and how they are understood and applied in practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: EU law, UK law, Public procurement in practice, Selection Criteria, Contract Award Criteria, Framework Agreements, Abnormally Low Tenders
Faculty: Theses from Anglia Ruskin University
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2020 11:25
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:54
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/705884

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