The Crown Commercial Service has recently issued a new PPN
around publishing information to its Contracts Finder website. It reminds contracting authorities of the obligations to place information about contract opportunities and awards on Contracts Finder, and it may suggest that there is a feeling at the CCS that too many authorities are failing to meet their obligations in this area.
As a reminder, where a contracting authority chooses to advertise a contract opportunity valued at over £25,000 (for NHS Trusts and other non-central government authorities) or £10,000 (for central government bodies), then the advertisement must be placed on Contracts Finder. If a contracting authority does not choose to advertise the opportunity (perhaps it simply seeks three quotes or approaches a supplier directly) then there is no obligation to advertise on Contracts Finder (unless this is required by the contracting authority’s own internal standing orders).
The text of the new PPN could potentially be read as suggesting that all opportunities over those thresholds must be advertised, but this is not actually the case. The advertisement must be made on Contracts Finder only if the contracting authority decides to advertise that opportunity. On a closer reading, the new PPN bears this out - it links (at footnote 1) to earlier CCS guidance here, where it is clearly stated at paragraph 4 that the obligation only applies where the authority has decided to advertise.
The situation is different for publication on Contracts Finder of contract award details (as opposed to opportunities). Award details must be published for all contracts (whether these were originally advertised or not) that are over the £10k/£25k thresholds mentioned above (unless one of the exemptions apply).
For completeness, a reminder too that these Contracts Finder requirements do not apply to the procurement of health care services for the purposes of the NHS, but, having said that, the National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No. 2) Regulations 2013 do stipulate the use of Supply2 health, which itself has now been replaced by Contracts Finder.