What happens now Find a Tender Service has replaced OJEU?
The Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) is the publication in which all tenders from the public sector that are valued above a certain financial threshold must currently be published. But when the Brexit transition period ended at on 31 December 2020, the OJEU ceased to apply to UK organisations.
At that point, the UK Government’s Find a Tender Service (FTS) went live and must be used for all new procurements in place of OJEU and Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) − the European public procurement journal.
What does the Find a Tender Service mean for suppliers?
Suppliers need to ensure that they are monitoring (and any watch service they might use is ready to pick up) contract opportunities and notices from FTS.
Suppliers should be registered on the FTS website once it goes live but it is worth noting that if you already had a registration for the existing Contracts Finder service then you do not need to register again, your details will have been ported across and will work to log in to FTS.
What does the Find a Tender Service mean for public bodies?
This means that all PINs, contract notices, contract award notices, VEAT notices, modification notices, amendment notices and corrigenda relating to procurements commencing after 31 December 2020 must be published on the FTS website instead of OJEU.
Public bodies should register at www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/organisation/register
What about procurements already started before 31 December 2020?
The requirement to use FTS applies to new procurement processes only. If a process has started (by publishing an OJEU notice) before 31 December 2020, then all subsequent notices relating to that process (e.g. the contract award notice at the end of the process) must still be published in OJEU even if their publication date is after 31 December 2020.
The Cabinet Office has requested that all notices published in OJEU after 31 December 2020 relating to pre-existing processes are also published on FTS. This is so that UK based suppliers only have to look in one place for notices, but this is not a legal requirement and public bodies must ensure that the notices are published first to OJEU before FTS.
Can I still use Contracts Finder?
We already have a UK Government portal for the publication of notices advertising public sector opportunities, in England this is called Contracts Finder, and there are other dedicated public sector portals for MOD, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Public bodies must continue to use the Contracts Finder service alongside the FTA. This creates the somewhat obscure position that, in the case of over-threshold contracts where the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 require it, a public body must publish a notice on two Government run portals running concurrently and accessible by the same suppliers. The difference is that the Contracts Finder service (and its counterparts in devolved administrations) do not cover the whole of the UK as one service, so a UK-wide service was needed.
I already use an e-Sender service – what will happen?
Contracting authorities that are currently working with a third party eSender to submit notices to OJEU will be able to continue to use them provided that the eSender successfully completes integration work to post notices to FTS. A list of eSenders who have successfully completed integration work has been published by the Cabinet Office here.
Further guidance in the form of the latest Cabinet Office PPN 08/20 and a helpful flow chart setting out requirements for advertising on FTS is available here.
For further information on how public procurement will change after the Brexit transition period look out for our podcast - Procurement: Life After Brexit - coming soon.
For more help and advice, contact Alison Walton, partner and Head of Procurement, on 0191 211 7850 or [email protected]
This page was last updated on 7th October 2022.