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The UK’s Green Paper on Post-Brexit Public Procurement Reform:

Transformation or Overcomplication?

Albert Sanchez-Graells


Keywords: public procurement, reform, deregulation, green paper, transforming public procurement, Brexit

In December 2020, seeking to start cashing in on its desired ‘Brexit dividends’, the UK Government published the Green Paper ‘Transforming Public Procurement’. The Green Paper sets out a blueprint for the reform of UK public procurement law that aims to depart from the regulatory baseline of EU law and deliver a much-touted ‘bonfire of procurement red tape’. The Green Paper seeks ‘to speed up and simplify [UK] procurement processes, place value for money at their heart, and unleash opportunities for small businesses, charities and social enterprises to innovate in public service delivery’. The Green Paper aims to do so by creating ‘a progressive, modern regime which can adapt to the fastmoving environment in which business operates’ underpinned by ‘a culture of continuous improvement to support more resilient, diverse and innovative supply chains.’ I argue that the Green Paper has very limited transformative potential and that its proposals merely represent an ‘EU law +’ approach to the regulation of public procurement that would only result in an overcomplicated regulatory infrastructure, additional administrative burdens for both public buyers and economic operators, and tensions and contradictions in the oversight model. I conclude that a substantial rethink is needed if the Green Paper’s goals are to be achieved.
Keywords: public procurement; reform; deregulation; green paper; transforming public procurement; Brexit

Albert Sanchez-Graells, Professor of Economic Law and Director of the Centre for Global Law and Innovation, University of Bristol Law School. Author of the blog For correspondence: <>.Note: all websites last accessed on 17 February 2021.


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