Regulation 84 imposes a number of obligations related to reporting and documentation requirements that are to be followed by contracting authorities awarding public contracts (and framework agreements/Dynamic Purchasing Systems...) covered by Part 2 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. Albert's entry is here and our commentaries are complementary to one another.
This will not make me popular with UK based contracting authorities, but I find this provision is quite important and beneficial in the long run. It will force proper record keeping and project management in public procurement and perhaps the days of poor attention to detail in procurement are behind us. Under this regime, situations like the Geodesign Barriers Limited v The Environment Agency case are difficult to occur.
In my view contracting authorities will complain mightily about these compliance requirements but these are overdue and the burden can be reduced if proper e-procurement tools are used. There is no reason why most of the reporting cannot be done automagically via software but that will imply a change of practice in contracting authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Good IT systems will be crucial for the efficacy of this provision and for keeping transaction costs low...let's not forget that the Cabinet Office (paragraph 5) and the Commission (paragraph 4)may ask for the reports about any contract to any contracting authority at any time.
The first requirement is for a written report to be drawn for each and every contract/framework agreement and dynamic purchasing system entered into. This report needs to include information about a number of important "events" that may have happened during the procedure, such as exclusions (including reasons) or the grounding for awarding the contract to the winner. It is a long list and some of the information bits may seem odd at first instance (conflicts of interest...) but all in all, diligent contracting authorities should already be capturing this information anyway...
To minimize the compliance burden, the contracting authority may instead of preparing a full report for each contract may refer to the contract award notice that they have produced instead (paragraph 3) in accordance with Regulations 50 or 75.
In addition, contracting authorities shall send to the Cabinet Office reports with information from time to time. Currently, this already happens to ministerial departments so in reality this provision is extending the obligation to the wider public sector (and I am dying to see if/how it will be applied in Wales and Northern Ireland...).
The Regulation also requires contracting authorities to keep track of what is happening during the procedure. From the previous paragraphs, it was obvious that the report and information contained therein would have to rely on data captured during the procedure, but in case any doubts existed, paragraphs 7 and 8 explicitly say so.
Finally, in accordance with paragraph 9 data is to be kept for 3 years which is not as extensive as I would like it to be but is in line with the Directive requirements.