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Eversheds Sutherland Procurement Update - The Find a Tender Service - the UK’s new e-notification system

  • Northern Ireland


    A recent sortie onto TED, the electronic supplement to the Official Journal of the EU, threw up the following “health warning”:

    As of 1 January 2021 procurement notices from UK Contracting Authorities and Contracting Entities will not be published anymore on TED as the EU rules on public procurement will cease to apply to and in the United Kingdom.

    Procurement notices in relation to procedures published by 31 December 2020 will still be published on TED as there is an obligation on UK Contracting Authorities and Contracting Entities to still apply EU law to on-going procedures (i.e. those published by 31 December 2020) and, therefore, an obligation to send their relevant notices (e.g. corrigenda notices, contract award notices, contract modification notices) to TED.

    The notice neatly summarises the difference in treatment between UK procurement procedures launched on or after 1 January 2021 and those commenced before that date (that is, before the end of the Brexit transition period).

    In short, any procurement procedure for an above-threshold opportunity commenced on or after 1 January 2021 must now be advertised on the UK’s new Find a Tender Service (or FTS) and not on TED. Conversely, any above-threshold competition which was launched on TED before the end of the Brexit transition period, and which is not yet finalised1, continues to be governed by the EU procurement regime which applied in the UK to the end of 2020, that is, the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016 and the Concessions Contracts Regulations 2016 in their original, unamended form. So notices relating to such competitions (such as corrigenda and contract award notices) must continue to be sent to TED.

    This means that for some time to come (and with all of the attendant confusion that the situation has the potential to create), UK contracting authorities and entities may need to operate under two sets of procurement rules: the “old” EU rules for competitions launched but not concluded before the end of 2020, and the new amended procurement rules, which introduce the requirement to send notices to the new UK e-notification system, FTS. The new amended rules are effectively created by the Public Procurement (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, and are expected to apply until the UK government’s proposed overhaul of procurement law is implemented.

    The FTS

    For UK authorities, contract opportunities that would, hitherto, have required publication on TED should now be sent to the FTS. For economic operators interested in new UK procurement opportunities, this new procurement portal should be monitored going forward.

    Further guidance on the FTS can be found in a Procurement Policy Note on the new portal published by the UK Cabinet Office in November 2020 and available here.

    For further information, please contact

    Áine Smith, Consultant, Procurement and Projects -

    1. “Finalised” is defined in the Schedule to The Public Procurement (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. Essentially, a procurement is finalised upon publication of a contract award notice or upon conclusion of the relevant contract. 

    This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full terms and conditions on our website.

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