26/03/2019

On 22 February 2019, the Cabinet Office published a new Procurement Policy Note, PPN 01/19 Applying Exclusions in Public Procurement, Managing Conflicts of Interest and Whistleblowing.

PPN 01/19 is addressed to Central Government Departments, their Executive Agencies and Non-Departmental Public Bodies. It will also be of interest to other contracting authorities.

The aim of PPN 01/19 is to provide guidance to deepen the understanding of the exclusion provisions in the Public Contracts Regulations 2015[1] (PCR) and to supplement and strengthen existing practices. 

Guidance is set out in Annex A: Applying Exclusions in Public Procurement, Managing Conflicts of Interest and Whistleblowing - A Guide for Commercial and Procurement Professionals (the Guide).  In addition, there are twelve pages of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), set out in Annex B.

The Guide includes explanation and commentary on the issues set out below. The FAQ go on to provide further detail.

Grounds for exclusion

  • Mandatory exclusion: The FAQ include questions on how to deal with large and/or multinational companies and what to do if a ground for mandatory exclusion comes to light after contract award.
  • Discretionary Exclusion: The Guide includes examples of what might amount to grounds for discretionary exclusion. The FAQ include questions on the interpretation of various grounds for discretionary exclusion, including the wording of the ground for exclusion arising from poor prior performance of public contracts.
  • Self-declarations that grounds for exclusion do not apply: The Guide includes information on the use and format of self-declarations by bidders. The FAQ explores issues such as when and how investigation into grounds for exclusions should be undertaken.
  • Verification of self- declarations: The Guide confirms that verification should usually be requested in respect of the winning bidder only. The FAQ look at what evidence should be requested from the winning bidder and what happens if the winning bidder cannot provide the necessary evidence.
  • Self-cleaning: The FAQ include a non-exhaustive list of examples of what actions might constitute satisfactory self-cleaning measures.

Conflicts of interest

The Guide includes comments on interpretation of PCR 24 – Conflicts of interest, and exclusion on the grounds of conflict of interest or prior involvement. The FAQ provide some practical information on good practice in the context of conflicts of interest and what to do in the event of a suspected conflict of interest.

Whistleblowing

The Guide refers to compliance with the Civil Service Code and whistleblowing policies. The FAQ provides a more detailed explanation of the concept of whistleblowing.

You can access PPN 01/19, the Guide for Commercial and Procurement Professionals and Frequently Asked Questions at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0119-applying-exclusions-in-public-procurement-managing-conflicts-of-interest-and-whistleblowing

 


[1]              Public Contracts Regulations 2015 No. 102 (as amended)