The government has proposed replacing the OJEU public procurement portal with a homegrown UK-specific notification service in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
In technical papers outlining the terms of a no-deal scenario, the government said it plans to transfer the operation of public procurement to a UK-designated service.
The notices state: “If the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no deal in place regarding future arrangements on access to OJEU/TED, a replacement UK-specific e-notification service will be made available.
“Changes to the procurement rules will be made via amendments to existing legislation, to ensure continued operability.”
The government said all tenders would usually be published through the OJEU/TED portal would be published on the new UK service.
“This would be in line with the current requirements to send notices to the EU Publications Office for publication on OJEU/TED,” it added.
“Publication would take place electronically and the service will be free for all users.”
The UK is set to leave the EU on 29 March 2019.
The papers state that more information on the operation of any new system will be published in a series of guidance notes “nearer to the time”.
The government also promised in a separate notice that European Regional Development Fund projects would continue to be supported, with any project funded between 2016 and 2020 guaranteed.
It added that: “Organisations should continue applying for and delivering funding under current arrangements with confidence that the funding guarantee applies if there is no negotiated agreement between the UK and the EU.”
Some construction professionals cast doubt over whether the new public procurement system could be ready in time.
Is there really any chance whatsoever of Government having in place an entirely new e-tender publication platform by next March? Contracts Finder has been up-and-running for years, and it’s still crap. pic.twitter.com/AbYMJ1yyBX— Russell Curtis (@russellcurtis) September 13, 2018
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has also said that British firms could be hit “like a sledgehammer” by a no-deal scenario.
In a statement, CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn said: “These notices make clear firms would be hit with a sledgehammer in the event of ‘no deal’.
“They also illustrate the extent of the disruption consumers can expect if ideology wins over evidence.
“Commitments to continue regional funding and maintain high environmental standards are positive.
“However, extra costs, duplication of certification and interruptions to data flows would damage the economy, with a knock-on impact for living standards.”