Thank you for contacting me about the Procurement Bill.
From my understanding the amendment you are referring to is not in fact 44 but amendment 2 to the Procurement Bill, which would have made a change to clause 44.
I believe that the Procurement Bill already places transparency as a core tenant of the future procurement regime. One of the many benefits of the Bill is to embed transparency throughout the commercial lifecycle so that the spending of taxpayers’ money can be properly scrutinised. This will be achieved by creating an open and transparent system in which everyone will have access to public procurement data. Citizens will be able to scrutinise spending decisions. Suppliers will be able to identify new opportunities to bid and collaborate. Buyers will be able to analyse the market and benchmark their performance against others, for example on their spend with SMEs.
In respect of the direct award of contracts, the Bill enables an increase in transparency and openness in public procurement by including mandated notices for direct awards and extending publication requirements “from planning to termination, including contract performance”. The Bill is also very specific in outlining the limited number of circumstances in which it might be necessary to award a contract without competition. Schedule 5 sets out when direct award would be justified, including for the production of a prototype or reasons of extreme and unavoidable urgency. A Minister of the Crown would have power to draw up regulations governing direct award of contracts in order to protect life or public order. These measures are necessary to ensure procurements during an emergency event can be conducted as quickly and transparently as possible.
Ultimately, the procurement regime proposed in the Bill is robust and will lead to a more transparent system, therefore I do not believe that it was necessary to support this specific amendment.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP