Government proposes fundamental reforms of public procurement rules

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This consultation closed on 10 March. You can read the NFU response on this page.

What are the proposed changes?

The government is proposing fundamental reforms of the public procurement rules governing the purchase of goods, works, and services by the public sector and certain utilities.

The NFU welcomes the government’s Green Paper on Transforming Public Procurement and will be responding to the consultation on behalf of members. We have been working with government on this area of policy and we will be making it clear that we believe that there are currently multiple barriers for British product to enter the public sector supply chain. The NFU believes it is in both the public and producers’ interests that government utilises our world-leading food and farming industry to deliver safe, traceable, affordable, nutritious food.

What is the NFU calling for?

The NFU believes that the procurement of food within the public sector should be more accessible and transparent, making it easier for smaller businesses to access the market. Public sector food provision is currently fragmented and comprises multiple supply chains, with procurement decisions often made at a local level. Although this Green Paper may not address all our concerns the NFU would welcome more consistency and simplicity across all government departments to address the ability for local suppliers, SMEs, and British product to enter the market.

The current tendering process is complex. A common approach for public sector sourcing would provide clarity for smaller businesses on product specification and contracting terms. The lack of commonality between different supply chains often makes the market feel opaque, and out of reach of farmers and local SMEs.

How can I get involved?

We want to understand our members' experiences of supplying the public sector in order to reflect this in our response to government.

We'd like to hear from you, even if you don't or haven't supplied to the public sector in the past.

Please let us know about any experiences you have of the tendering and contractual process.

You might want to give us your views on some of these issues:

  • How do you think the supply chain could operate more effectively on behalf of small to medium sized businesses and British farmers and growers?
  • What's your experience of barriers to entry?
  • Where might future opportunities lie?

Please email your views to Zm9vZGNoYWluZm9jdXNAbmZ1Lm9yZy51aw== by 19 February 2021.

We'll reflect them in our official response to the consultation which closes on 10 March 2021.

Click here for more information at the Gov.uk website.