Public Contracts Regulations 2015 - Regulations 110

Regulation 110 - Publication of contract opportunities on Contracts Finder

This Regulation establishes the obligation for contracting authorities to publish contract award opportunities on Contracts Finder, in addition to any other advertising means they may find appropriate. If the contracting authority does indeed use any other advertising means, the required information has to go on Contracts Finder within 24 hours of said publication (paragraph 3). Note that this regulation applies to any contract award opportunity (paragraph 6) and not to a more restricted definition such as contract notice. In consequence, even prospective information which would be considered as a prior information notice had it been covered by Part 2, is deemed an opportunity for the purposes of this Regulation (paragraph 7).

Paragraph 5 defines what constitutes an advertisement of an opportunity. Anything activity that puts the contract opportunity out on the public domain or that targets a class of economic operators (i.e., a trade journal, Linkedin group etc) constitutes an advertisement and triggers the obligation to advertise on Contracts Finder and needs to be advertised for a non-disproportionate period of time (paragraph 9). On the other hand, if the information is passed to only a number of economic operators which have been selected for that purpose, then no advertisement is carried out and there is no obligation to upload the information to Contracts Finder. The textbook example here are framework agreements, singled out explicitly in paragraph 5(b).

As for what information should go on Contracts Finder, paragraph 8 sets the following requirements:

(a)the time by which any interested economic operator must respond if it wishes to be considered;

(b)how and to whom such an economic operator is to respond; and

(c)any other requirements for participating in the procurement.

The advertisement obligation covers also free and unrestricted access to any relevant documents (paragraph 12 and 15) and the whole period of the opportunity, so details cannot be taken out of Contracts Finder before the deadline (paragraphs 10 and 11). There are some exceptions to paragraph 12's disclosure obligation on paragraphs 13 and 14, namely if "relevant reasons" as conceived by Regulation 53(3) and (4) are applicable.

Finally, as with some previous regulations, according to paragraph 16, contracting authorities "shall have regard to any guidance" which the Minister for the Cabinet Office may decide to issue. This "compliance" obligation only covers guidance related to the form and manner of the publication on Contracts Finder and the definition of what is a non-disproportionate period of time for the opportunity to stay available on the website.

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