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Changes to Public Procurement – a summary by Tom Sowerby, head of bids

March 2, 2021

At the end of 2020, the government released documents outlining immediate and upcoming changes to the way in which public sector work is procured in the UK, following formal exit from the EU.

The goals of the new processes are follows:

• Speed up and simplify procurement
• Encourage a more diverse supply base
• Encourage innovation and imaginative proposals
• Support ‘green recovery’ principles, boosting productivity whilst tackling climate change and reducing waste.
“Driving better, faster, greener delivery”.
• Embed social value (social, economic, environmental) within procurement decisions

From an increased focus on social values to a reduction in procurement routes, J Tomlinson’s Head of Bids, Tom Sowerby, summarises the key points of both documents below, helping you to keep abreast of these critical changes.

PDF Version – download here

Procurement Routes

• There are currently 5 procurement routes; this will be reduced to 3 procedures:

1. Competitive Flexible Procedure – gives buyers more freedom to negotiate and develop innovative solutions.
2. Open Procedure – remains as a simple ‘off-the-shelf’ approach.
3. Limited Tendering Procedure – negotiation during crisis, or absence of market interest.

• Government advocates broader use of Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPS+), beyond common goods.

Increased focus on social values and corporate sustainability

• Movement from Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT) to Most Advantageous Tender (MAT), empowering contracting authorities to take a broader view of value for money (e.g. social value).

• From January 2021, a minimum weighting of 10% of the total tender score should be applied to social value.


• Assessment of whole-life value, taking into consideration the full duration of a contract.
• Supports increased use of outcome-based specifications (e.g. KPIs).
• Increased focus upon environmental performance within assessment criteria, including how contractors can support clients to tackle climate change and reduce waste.
Public sector bodies advised to share a minimum 18-month pipeline of upcoming projects / programmes, preferably 3-5 years.

Information source

For more information, please refer to the following documents:
‘Transforming Public Procurement’ – 78-page Green Paper detailing proposed changes to government procurement (December 2020). Available here

‘Construction Playbook’ 83-page document providing guidance to public sector organisations on the sourcing and contracting of projects and programmes (December 2020). Available here


About J Tomlinson Ltd

Founded in the 1950s, J Tomlinson is a leading provider of refurbishment, engineering and construction services to both the public and private sectors, including – but not limited to – healthcare, social housing, local government, blue light, extra care, education, and light industrial.

The company is a member of wide range of key frameworks including NHS North of England Commercial Procurement Collaborative (NOECPC) Estates Maintenance and Engineering Services, Fusion 21 Building and Asset Improvement Works, and Crown Commercial Services (CCS) Construction Works and Associated Services, helping clients easily and efficiently procure socially-conscious, best-value construction and refurbishment projects.

Click here to view a full list of the frameworks we are currently affiliated with.

About Tom Sowerby

Entering J Tomlinson at graduate level, Tom has progressed to the role of Head of Bids. He has experience listening to clients across a breadth of sectors, including social housing, education, emergency services and councils, producing bespoke proposals in response.

When he’s not typing away, Tom enjoys playing sports including football, hockey and running. Connect with him here.


J Tomlinson, which was founded in Nottingham the 1950s, works primarily across the Midlands, Yorkshire and Northern and Central England.

The company provides a range of sustainable building solutions including refurbishment, repairs and maintenance, engineering services, extra care construction, renewable energy, and facilities management, working across a range of key sectors including extra care, healthcare, blue light, social housing and local government.

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