Procurement in the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission Post Brexit
As the UK has now withdrawn from the EU, the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission (NIAC) has reviewed and revised how it will conduct its procurement activities going forward.
The main changes applicable to the NIAC are detailed below: -
Publication of Notices
As from 11pm on 31st December 2020 (IP completion day) there is no longer a requirement to publish notices related to procurement and contracts on the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). From this date the NIAC will publish these notices on the UK e-notification service – ‘Find a Tender’.
Notices will still be published on OJEU for a period following IP completion day, to ensure that all competitions started prior to 31st December 2020 will be completed through the publication of notices on the OJEU.
Calls for Tender
The NIAC will continue to use the eTendersNI portal to issue a call for tender for contracts above £30,000. Any notices associated with these competitions will also be available on this portal.,
The NIAC will implement any changes to the threshold limits under the new procurement regulations (i.e. regulation 5a). This provides that every two years, the Minister for the Cabinet Office will be required to review the threshold limits in accordance with a specific conversion rates. These will be aligned to those World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Government Procurement Agreement (GPA). The first review under this regulation will relate to the 24-month period ending August 2021, with the new thresholds coming into force in January 2022.
NI Assembly Commission Processes
The NIAC has reviewed and amended its’ procurement processes following amendments to the Public Contract Regulations (PCR) 2015. These amendments include reviewing and revising the Commission’s Standard Terms and Conditions of Contract and the tender documentation to be used for new competitions.
GDPR & DPA 2018
The NIAC will ensure that any data sharing between the UK and the EU, as a result of any of its’ contracts, is compliant with any amended legislation (i.e. Keeling Schedules) and that any data sharing schedules are accurate and fit for purpose. Suppliers will be expected to comply with any requirements detailed as part of a tender competition.
Direct Award Contracts
The NIAC will ensure that any additional reporting requirements in relation to direct award contracts, after IP completion day, will be fully addressed (i.e. reports requested by the Cabinet Office and/or a Northern Ireland department).
General Trading with the EU
The UK and the EU agreed a trade deal which came into operation on 1 January 2021. The Northern Ireland Protocol was specifically agreed to detail the arrangements between Northern Ireland, the UK and the EU.
The UK and EU have agreed that checks will not take place at the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. However, some checks on goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland will be needed and this should be considered when bidding for any public sector contract for the supply of goods and services.
Before deciding to tender for any contract, you may wish to learn more about the impacts and actions required by checking the new rules at gov.uk or reading gov.uk's guide to moving goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland.