Navigating the 2018 public procurement landscape

Experts from leading law firm Arthur Cox recently examined how organisations can effectively manage upcoming public procurement developments.

The public procurement landscape in Northern Ireland remains a fluid one, with a number of developments on the horizon in 2018 that local practitioners need to remain fully aware of.

How to prepare for, and effectively manage, the upcoming changes to procurement law was the focus of the annual public procurement seminar hosted recently by leading law firm Arthur Cox at Belfast’s Merchant Hotel.

Very much a well-established highlight of the procurement law calendar in Northern Ireland, the event attracted a large audience of public and private sector delegates, from organisations such as Belfast City Council, Translink and Phoenix Natural Gas.

 

Insights

William Curry, a Partner in the Corporate and Commercial practice at Arthur Cox and head of the firm’s procurement and projects team, led a panel of three Arthur Cox experts who shared their insights on a range of topical issues that will continue to influence the local procurement landscape during 2018.

Joining William on the panel was James Flanagan, who provided practical guidance for managing procurements, and Aaron Boyle, whose insights included a focus on exemptions, partnerships, development agreements and other contracts.

Looking ahead to the developments in public procurement that are likely to occur throughout this year, William said:

“The majority of the provisions of the 2014 European Directives came into force last year and in 2015, but there are still a few key follow-up dates.

“Most notable are the regulations concerning full use of electronic communication and information exchange, which will apply to all organisations from 18th October 2018.

“The general thrust of the new provisions is to seek to ensure that all tenderers have equal ability to use the tools and devices, and are not discriminated against by virtue of the means of communication chosen.”
Brexit

Addressing the Brexit question, William told the audience:

“For the immediate future, the current EU legislative regime will continue to apply to current, active and envisaged procurement competitions. Longer term, there will be a need to make sure this area is closely monitored and that entities properly consider the potential consequences, whatever type of trade deal the UK ends up with.”

Among the delegates at the seminar was Melissa Kenning of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, who commented: “It’s always very beneficial to keep up to date with procurement laws and the legal case studies that are relevant to ongoing developments. The seminar was thorough and informative.”

The team at Arthur Cox is well positioned to advise on all aspects of public procurement law as well as providing general corporate and commercial law advice on all aspects of your business. For further information, call William Curry, or your usual Arthur Cox contact, on +44 28 9023 0007.

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