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Government issues policy note on applying exclusions in public procurement post-Brexit

The Cabinet Office has issued a procurement policy note (PPN) on applying exclusions in public procurement, managing conflicts of interest and whistleblowing.

The contents of PPN 04/21 replace the existing policy guidance as set out in PPN 01/19.

The Cabinet Office said: “The procurement regulations require public bodies to take appropriate measures to prevent, identify and remedy conflicts of interest arising in procurement procedures. If measures are not taken, conflicts of interest can have far-reaching consequences, including undermining public confidence in the integrity of organisations and Government as a whole.

“In 2020 the National Audit Office and the Boardman Review recommended that additional, practical guidance be made available for all In-scope Organisations regarding the management of conflicts of interest in commercial environment.”

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It said the guidance had been revised and updated to clarify changes to the procurement regulations following the UK’s exit from the EU, and provides supplementary guidance and answers to frequently asked questions "to deepen commercial teams’ understanding of the exclusion provisions in procurement regulations, including case law and additional support material".

“It also builds upon the previous PPN, with further guidance to assist In-scope Organisations to develop and enhance local strategies, systems, processes and procedures to prevent, identify and remedy conflicts of interest.”

The contents of the PPN apply to all Central Government Departments, their Executive Agencies and Non Departmental Public Bodies in conducting procurement procedures regulated by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016 and the Concession Contracts Regulations 2016.

The Cabinet Office said the policy note was also relevant to the wider public sector such as local authorities and NHS bodies in carrying out procurements for public contracts, utilities contracts and concession contracts.

It has also published a PPN on the Sourcing and Consultancy Playbooks.

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