An image of three people sat around a desk with papers discussing the new Procurement Act 2023.

The Procurement Act 2023 promises to be open, fair and transparent


The introduction of the Procurement Act 2023 marks a significant milestone, with a potentially transformative approach to public procurement, aiming to change the way governments and the public sector procure goods, services, and works.

With an emphasis on openness, fairness, and transparency, the Act is designed to ensure that public spending not only achieves value for money but also contributes to broader socio-economic goals.


Prior to the enactment of the Procurement Act 2023, procurement processes were often criticised for being opaque and inefficient.

The need for reform was driven by a growing recognition of the potential of procurement to contribute to sustainable development, innovation, and inclusive economic growth. The Act was introduced to address these challenges head-on.

Key Features of the Procurement Act 2023

The Act introduces several key innovations:

  1. Digital Procurement Platforms Mandatory use of electronic procurement systems are now a central feature of the Act, facilitating full and easy access to tender opportunities, which are now more transparent.
  2. Sustainability and Social Value – The Act demands that contracting authorities must consider environmental sustainability and social value in procurement decisions, encouraging the selection of bids that demonstrate positive social and environmental impact.
  3. Enhanced Transparency Measures – With provisions for the publication of tender documents, bid evaluations, and contract awards online, it aims to significantly reduce the opportunity for corruption and confusion. The Act will allow suppliers to improve their chances of winning work by understanding the reasons for “poor bidding”.
  4. Inclusivity in Bidding – Special provisions are included to support the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This will foster a more competitive business environment by lowering barriers to entry for smaller suppliers.
Impact on Stakeholders

The Act has far-reaching implications:

  1. The Public Sector contracting authorities will need to adapt to new digital platforms and processes. They must ensure that systems and well-trained people are in place. They will also have an obligation to publish a pipeline of contracts.
  2. Suppliers and Contractors will benefit from more accessible tender processes. However, they will also need to meet higher standards of sustainability and social value. (They will be given training in the new facets required by the Act.)
  3. The General Public stands to gain from more effective public spending, with resources allocated to projects that offer greater social and environmental benefits.
Constraints and critiques

There are a few issues which need to be resolved:

  1. The digital divide may hinder the ability of some suppliers to compete for tenders. Unfortunately, SMEs must be prepared to put in some effort to be given the chance to gain public opportunities.
  2. There may be difficulties in understanding compliance with sustainability and social value criteria. However, SMEs cannot expect the public sector to lower their standards, and therefore they must gain an understanding of them.
  3. The public sector will also be required to be open and fair, which some may find difficult.

The training has been organised on “both sides of the fence,” and it can be expected that this can succeed.


Our view is that this Act is a welcome improvement to the procurement of public services in the UK. This is not the final word in procurement reform but is certainly a significant step in the right direction. It will be driven by continuous improvement and stakeholder feedback.

There are significant advantages to be fought for, including the question of value-for-money and social value, which are for the public good.

We will embrace it with enthusiasm.

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