Property Week has published an editorial this week, setting out views that Brexit could lead to the UK simplifying procurement, ending high costs to bid, challenges for new market entrants and broadening opportunities for SMEs.
In my view this is flawed.
The article cites the UK having some of the highest procurement costs in the EU; but given all other EU countries work to the same regulations, the additional costs are potentially down to UK bureaucracy and inefficiencies in our application of the process.
As we transition out of the EU, I fear there is a significant impact on many of the major construction and property activities planned; HS2, HS3, new nuclear and the major activity planned in the wider transportation market all risk delay due to procurement uncertainty.
The significant risk that comes from ditching EU procurement regulations is that it potentially creates gaps, ambiguity and uncertainty in procurement; all factors that are contributors to tender challenge and delayed procurement activities.
A stable transition will hopefully be agreed, but as exit negotiations continue to stumble, I'm for one am nervous of the outfall that comes from the end of OJEU...
So what will change with Brexit? To date, there’s been little discussion of procurement rules, although my former boss Boris Johnson, now foreign secretary, noted in a recent speech that Brexit could be an opportunity to simplify procurement. There is scope for major reform but even if the future regulatory environment were to look not dissimilar to the existing one, it doesn’t mean the way we operate couldn’t change. Government guidance could be improved. More focus could be put on place as well as price. New entrants and innovation could be encouraged.