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Updated transparency requirements for publishing procurement information on Contracts Finder

The UK Government has published updated transparency requirements for the publication of procurement information on Contracts Finder (CF). The policies identified within ‘Guidance on the transparency requirements for publishing on Contracts Finder’ have been introduced with immediate effect and are applicable to most public bodies.

The following are not subject to the below guidance, and are therefore exempt:

  • Contracting authorities whose functions are devolved or mainly devolved functions of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
  • The procurement of health care services for the purposes of the NHS - within the meaning and scope of the National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No. 2) Regulations 2013
  • Maintained schools, academies and sixth form college corporations

Summary of the transparency requirements for publishing on Contracts Finder

The new guidance has been split into two parts, with the first applicable to all ‘In-scope organisations’ and the second only affecting Central Government authorities.

Part 1 - Guidance applicable to all In-Scope Organisations

The following publication obligations are only applicable to:

  • Central government procurements with a contract value of at least £10,000 net of VAT
  • Sub-central authorities and NHS Trusts procurements with a contract value of at least £25,000 net of VAT

In-Scope Organisations are required to publish any below-threshold procurement opportunity on Contracts Finder – which is in addition to any other portal, such as myTenders, the contracting authority has chosen to use. If another portal or media has been used to publish a notice, the opportunity must also be published on Contracts Finder within 24 hours. Once a contract has been awarded, the details of procurement decision and process, must also be published through Contracts Finder.

Contracting authorities must ensure that all information relating to the procurement be freely available to any interested suppliers, and as a minimum, include the following information within their notices:

  • Deadline by which interested suppliers must respond to be considered
  • Details of how to respond, with appropriate contact details
  • All other requirements necessary to bid for the contract (e.g. suitability requirements or explanatory information)

To publish an award on Contracts Finder, the original notice should be updated with the award details or a new award notice created if no prior notice exists.

The minimum details to be included within an award notice are:

  • Full company name of the winning contractor
  • Date the contract was entered into (award date)
  • Total value of the contract in pounds sterling
  • An indication of whether the contractor is an SME or a VCSE

Contract award notices must be published within 90 calendar days of the award date for sub-central contracting authorities, and 30 calendar days for Central Government authorities.

Part 2 - Additional policy guidance for central government authorities

The following publication obligations are only applicable to:

  • Central government procurements with a contract value of at least £10,000 net of VAT *for the purposes of the following guidance, NHS Trusts are considered as sub-central authorities and are not included.

Where e-tendering creates barriers for the general public to view contract notices (such as registration restrictions), in-Scope Organisations need to make copies of the procurement documentation freely available on Contracts Finder.

The minimum details to be made available in such situations are:

  • The specification
  • Plans
  • Invitation to tender (ITT)/request for quotation, or invitation to participate in dialogue
  • Standard selection questionnaire (SSQ)
  • Template terms and conditions of contract

When publishing awards, a signed contract should be included, as well as other associated documents such as:

  • The specification
  • Terms and conditions (T&Cs)
  • Any associated schedules (which may include the winning tenderer’s bid)

Contracts should be published in full, however some will be subject to exemptions and redactions permitted by the Freedom of Information Act 2000. A dialogue between the contracting authority and the supplier can be arranged to review which information should be considered for redaction - however the final decision sits with the contracting authority.

The following information is generally considered disclosable:

  • Identity of the parties, contract term, options for extension, overall value (if fixed)
  • Information setting out the essential obligations of the parties e.g. specification/description of services, manner of provision etc.
  • Warranties, indemnities and other protections (unless the existence of those clauses would be commercially sensitive) but with values redacted (where appropriate)

Full details of the above policies can be found on under: Update to Legal and Policy requirements to publish procurement information on Contracts Finder.

How can myTenders help?

With myTenders you never have to worry about missing anything from your notices. Our step-by-step publishing wizard will guide you through the relevant procedure and forms, indicate what is needed for each, and highlight areas you may have missed. Each section is automatically saved upon completion, and it is impossible to submit a tender without completing all relevant sections.

Once you have finished and submitted your notice, myTenders automatically publishes it to Contracts Finder. In addition to fulfilling this requirement, your notice will also be visible to our 25,000 registered suppliers.

By upgrading your experience with a One-off or Annual PRO subscription, you can attach the required documents and information to your contract notices and contract awards. With features like this, we will make sure your notices always comply with the latest procurement regulations and policies. To view our full range of features, please visit our services page.

For more information about myTenders and how we can help you, please contact us on 0800 222 9006.