How to exclude Russian or Belarusian controlled suppliers and how to terminate their existing contracts (in response to the situation in Ukraine and the resulting sanctions) was the topic of a new procurement statement issued by The Cabinet Office on the 28th March 2022.
This statement precedes the UK governments Procurement Bill that will provide a power for a Minister of the Crown to add suppliers to a public debarment list (for both mandatory and discretionary exclusion grounds) if they are assessed as meeting a ground for exclusion and there is insufficient evidence of self-cleaning.
Both UK and overseas suppliers will be eligible for addition to the debarment list.
The Cabinet Office statement published on the Gov.UK website (intended for Central Government Departments, their Executive Agencies and Non Departmental Public Bodies in England and Wales) communicated that the decision to terminate a contract with a Russian or Belarusian supplier lies with the individual contracting authority who they suggest should seek their own legal advice.
Contracting Authorities are responsible for the exercise of functions relating to procurement in preparation for entering into contracts and in the management of contracts. They spend £290 billion (a third of all UK public expenditure) via public procurement processes.
There certainly appears to be an appetite to exclude suppliers from public procurement processes, by association.
The UK governments pubic consultation on transforming public procurement asked the question:
Do you agree that suppliers should be excluded where the person/entity convicted is a beneficial owner, by amending regulation 57(2)?
A reported 75% of respondents supported the proposal to improve transparency and accountability in public sector procurement.
Naomi Clews Consultancy
Procurement, Tendering, Business Skills