Public Procurement Update June 2021

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On 3 June 2021, the Government issued the National Procurement Policy Statement (NPPS), and the associated Procurement Policy Note (PPN). George Dale explains what each document does.

What does each document do?

The NPPS sets out priorities for public procurement from now until the end of 2024, and discusses how contracting authorities can incorporate these priorities into their day-to-day procurement activities.

The PPN gives background information on the NPPS, guidance for contracting authorities on applying the NPPS, and a brief outline of future legislation which will put aspects of the advisory NPPS into law.

What are the key points in each document?


In future, contracting authorities should take account of certain national priorities whilst exercising their procurement functions. These national priorities are split into three strands:

  1. Social Value; is what you deliver adding value to your community?
  2. Commercial and Procurement Delivery; are the policies and processes you use to manage your procurement portfolio fit for purpose?
  3. Skills and Capability for Procurement; is your organisation’s procurement capability and capacity sufficient to ensure value for money across your procurement portfolio?

The NPPS sets out each strand in further detail.


Contracting authorities should familiarise themselves with the NPPS and should consider the Social Value, Commercial and Procurement Delivery, and Skills and Capability sections of the NPPS going forward.

The government’s legislative programme will include legislation requiring:

  • all contracting authorities to have regard to the NPPS when procuring;
  • contracting authorities with a spend of over £200m to publish procurement pipelines and
  • benchmark their procurement capability from April 2022; and
  • contracting authorities with a spend of over £100m to publish procurement pipelines and
  • benchmark their procurement capability from April 2023.

What are the practical points to consider?

All public procurement professionals will now need to consider Social Value alongside existing value for money considerations.

Contracting Authorities should:

  • Consider Social Value aspects of the NPPS which could easily be integrated into upcoming projects, bearing in mind that the NPPS states that contracts which simply tack on (or “gold-plate”) social value benefits should not be chosen if they are not the best value for money solution for the project.
  • Review their upcoming procurement pipeline to determine when reporting will likely be required (if at all).
  • Evaluate current procurement standards and suggested benchmarks for performance and consider which set of standards they wish to benchmark their procurement performance against.
  • Assess existing procurement processes and management procedures and consider how NPPS priorities can be integrated into these.
  • Consider whether procurement teams have the right organisational capabilities and capacities in place, with sufficient procurement skills and resources for their planned procurement programme.

George Dale is a Solicitor at Sharpe Pritchard LLP

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