Regulation 112 – Publication of information on Contracts Finder about contracts awarded

Commentary

Regulation 112 caps Chapter 8 with a set of rules on how contracting authorities are to publish contract award information on Contracts Finder. As we are talking about below-thresholds contracts, this is a purely national obligation. As for the information that needs to be uploaded, it is fairly similar to what is required in Regulation 108 with a significant addition. Under Regulation 112, contracting authorities have to disclose if the contractor is an SME or VCSE.

There is no confusion on what constitutes an SME as paragraph 4 refers to the definitions on Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003. As for what constitutes a VCSE, it apparently stands for “voluntary, community and social enterprise”. Paragraph 4 defines VCSE as “a non-governmental organisation that is value-driven and which principally reinvests its surpluses to further social, environmental or cultural objectives.” Would it not be simpler to just refer to third-sector organisations? Or charities (although this is a more restricted definition)?

The usual restrictions on disclosing information (impeding law enforcement, affecting legitimate commercial interests or fair competition) which we have seen before are applicable in this Regulation as well. For the author’s disagreement on the benefits and drawbacks of contract transparency please see our commentary to Regulation 86.

Finally, guidance issued by the Minister for the Cabinet Office shall be regarded but there is no obligation to provide explanations or reports to the Minister in case it is not followed.

Last modified: December 9, 2016 by Pedro Telles

112.—(1) Where a public contract is awarded, the contracting authority shall, within a reasonable time, publish on Contracts Finder at least the following information:—

(a)the name of the contractor;

(b)the date on which the contract was entered into;

(c)the value of the contract;

(d)whether the contractor is a SME or VCSE.

(2) But the contracting authority may withhold information from publication where its release—

(a)would impede law enforcement or would otherwise be contrary to the public interest,

(b)would prejudice the legitimate commercial interests of a particular economic operator, whether public or private, or

(c)might prejudice fair competition between economic operators.

(3) In complying with this regulation, contracting authorities shall have regard to any guidance issued by the Minister for the Cabinet Office in relation to—

(a)the form and manner in which the information is to be published on Contracts Finder; and

(b)what is a reasonable time for the purposes of paragraph (1).

(4) In paragraph (1)(d)—

“SME” means an enterprise falling within the category of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises defined by the Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003 concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises(1); and

“VCSE” means a non-governmental organisation that is value-driven and which principally reinvests its surpluses to further social, environmental or cultural objectives.