The Procurement Bill projected to reform public procurement in England, Wales and Northern Ireland has reached its Report Stage in the House of Commons, to be held following the UK Parliament’s Easter recess.
Introduced in the House of Lords on 11th May last year by Conservative life peer Lord True, the Procurement Bill had been noted for acquiring perhaps a record number of amendments during its journey through the Lords, amassing scores of tweaks across several key sessions spanning July, October and November, before reaching its present location, the Commons, last December.
Having eventually made its way between the two Houses of Parliament, this ever-evolving Bill looks to be advancing towards its final form, with its 9th January Second Reading wrapped up inside a single session.
After issuing a call for evidence and completing nine Committee Stage debates in late February, the Bill now awaits its Commons Report Stage, where MPs on the floor of the house can consider further proposed amendments, in the wake of the recent, preceding Committee Stage examination.
To estimate the duration of this upcoming stage, the House of Lords’ own Report Stage last November was completed in two sessions, taking up approximately nine hours, though, with all MPs granted voting and speaking powers, the impending Report Stage could stretch across several days.
Notably, a Third Reading debate will often follow immediately when such a bill passes Report Stage, though there was almost a fortnight’s gap between these two stages when this bill sat in the Lords.
Either way, the Third Reading is typically used to tidy things up, rather than overhaul any significant chunks of legislation, meaning any changes are more likely to arise during the Report Stage process.
Post-Third Reading, the amended, completed Procurement Bill will undergo a final consideration of amendments, before being granted Royal Assent and becoming law (see timeline for visualisation).
Of course, it is worth remembering a notice period of at least six months will be required from the Bill’s completion to its lawful implementation, with observers suggesting this may mean the changes will not come into full, legally binding effect until 2024.
Nevertheless, we advise CPC members to continue to track the Procurement Bill’s progress with us, as the future of public procurement in England, Wales and Northern Ireland becomes ever clearer.
The latest version of the Procurement Bill, as of 27th March 2023, can be found here
Did you know CPL Learning can provide you with training on the new Procurement Bill, as well as offering access to the Further Education Library of Procurement (FELP), which includes information on key procurement processes and how to carry them out?
For more information on CPL Learning, visit cpl.group/learning or email [email protected]