Changes have been made to the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR) which came into effect on Thursday 25 May. These changes have been introduced following the signature of two free-trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand. The changes are made under The Public Procurement (International Trade Agreements) (Amendment) Regulations 2023, the changes do not apply to devolved Welsh authorities.

The three key changes are:

Valuation of contracts – if you are unable to value a contract then it now will be deemed to be valued at the relevant threshold to trigger compliance with the PCR

Prior Information Notices (PIN) – it will no longer be possible to use a PIN as a call for competition (this applies to all procurements including those that are procured under the 'light touch regime')

Termination of contracts – a new requirement has been added to the PCR which states that contracts cannot be terminated in a way that circumvents the procurement rules under the PCR (parts 1 and 2) – this change will introduce a specific requirement to ensure compliance with procurement rules when looking at contract termination; and councils should ensure their record-keeping of decisions around termination to reflect this.

The Cabinet Office has issued this PPN 05/23 which you can read for full details.