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Invitation to Tender: Key Changes Under the Procurement Act 2024

Written by Thornton & Lowe


Jun 14, 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of procurement, the introduction of the Procurement Act 2024 represents a significant shift as public procurement redefines the invitation to tender (ITT) process in ways many may not have anticipated.

This landmark legislation aims to streamline procurement processes, enhance transparency, and elevate the standards of accountability and efficiency within the public sector. The impact of this act is far-reaching, affecting key performance indicators (KPIs), the way contracts are awarded, and how compliance is monitored, ensuring that every contract delivers value for money and meets stringent public standards.

Understanding the Invitation to Tender (ITT) process

Definition and purpose

An Invitation to Tender (ITT) is a formal document issued by buying authorities, inviting suppliers to submit bids for contracts. This process is crucial in public procurement as it ensures a fair and transparent method for acquiring goods, services, or works, allowing buyers to assess the best value offers.

Key steps involved

  1. Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ): Initially, a PQQ is issued to filter potential suppliers
  2. Issuing the ITT: Selected suppliers receive the ITT, detailing requirements and submission guidelines
  3. Submission: Suppliers submit their bids as per the ITT instructions, often through specified online portals.
  4. Evaluation: Bids are assessed against set criteria to select the most suitable supplier

Common challenges and solutions

Navigating the ITT process can be daunting due to its complexity and the strict compliance required. You should thoroughly review the ITT documents, seek clarifications when necessary, and ensure their submission aligns closely with the buyer's criteria. Effective communication and leveraging expert advice can significantly enhance the quality of bids submitted.

Impact of the new Procurement Act on ITTs

Overview of the Procurement Act 2023

The Procurement Act 2023, effective from 28 October 2024, introduces transformative changes to UK procurement regulations. This Act simplifies the existing legal framework, aiming to create a more flexible and transparent system. It enhances the procurement process by incorporating innovative practices and reducing bureaucratic hurdles.

Key changes relevant to ITTs

Significant modifications under the Act include the implementation of the Provider Selection Regime, specifically impacting NHS service procurements from January 2024. The Act also introduces a central digital platform, simplifying the bid process for suppliers by consolidating their information in one accessible location.

Implications for contracting authorities and suppliers

For contracting authorities, the new Act necessitates early planning for contracts expiring post-regulation commencement to ensure compliance. Suppliers must adapt to the new transparent system, which promises a more streamlined process and potentially quicker emergency procurements. This shift is poised to benefit a broader range of suppliers, including SMEs, by allowing easier access to bid opportunities.

Future changes and trends

Potential future developments

The landscape of procurement is set to transform significantly, with a strong emphasis on digitalisation and sustainability. Future trends predict a shift towards more agile, technology-driven strategies that enhance transparency and efficiency. Embracing digital tools and integrating advanced analytics will become crucial.

Adapting to evolving procurement processes

As market conditions and technologies evolve, so must procurement practices. The introduction of flexible procurement frameworks under the new Procurement Act 2024 encourages adaptability and innovation, allowing for more dynamic supplier interactions and streamlined processes.

Best practices for future ITTs

To thrive under these new rules, it is essential to focus on strategic supplier relationships and leverage technology for better procurement outcomes. Implementing comprehensive risk management strategies and investing in training for procurement teams will ensure readiness for future challenges and opportunities.

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