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PPN 11/20: Cabinet Office publishes update clarifying the application of PPN 11/20

PPN 11/20 was published in November last year, and permitted all in-scope organisations, including all Central Government Departments, their Executive Agencies and Non Departmental Public Bodies to (from 1 January 2021):

  1. reserve the procurement of below threshold contracts by supplier location; and
  2. reserve the procurement of below threshold contracts for small and medium sized enterprises (“SMEs”) and Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises (“VCSEs”).

Other contracting authorities were also encouraged to apply the principles of PPN 11/20.

The Cabinet Office has now published additional clarification on the application of PPN 11/20 for other contracting authorities, alongside updated FAQs.

We have set out some of the main updates in-scope organisations should be aware below:

  • Local authorities should consider the application of PPN 11/20 in light of their legal obligations, including those under s.17 Local Government Act 1988 which prohibits local authorities from taking account in their procurement decisions “the location in any country or territory of the business activities or interests of contractors”. This does create a barrier for local authorities wishing to take advantage of PPN 11/20, although the prohibition can be overridden in relation to certain services contracts, to the extent it is “necessary or expedient” to secure social value through the services contract it is procuring (Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012).
  • PPN 11/20 can be applied to any below threshold procurement of works, goods and services (including social and other specific service) which would have, but for the value, fallen within the scope of Part 2 of the PCR 2015. However, it cannot be applied to framework agreements and DPS, or contracts under those arrangements.
  • PPN 11/20 does not promote reservations for nations of the UK and neither does it promote reservations for supplier locations outside of the UK.
  • PPN 11/20 does not promote geographic reservations based on historic counties, and metropolitan/non-metropolitan boundaries or London boroughs should be applied.
  • PPN 11/20 does not promote direct awards, but in-scope organisations can take advantage of the fewer restrictions applicable to below threshold procurements.
  • Under PPN 11/20, when reserving the procurement by supplier location only one county may be reserved except for in London, where reservations may be applied by London Borough.
  • PPN 11/20 does apply to in-scope organisations based in Northern Ireland and Wales.
  • Under PPN 11/20, when reserving a procurement by location in Northern Ireland or Wales, in-scope organisations should define by equivalent location as counties are not defined as metropolitan or non-metropolitan.

For further details on PPN 11/20 and its application, or any other public sector or procurement queries, please contact our Public Sector team who will be more than happy to assist you.

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