Government says ‘extreme urgency’ of situation means public sector will have to quicken up appointments

The government has told public sector clients to ditch time-consuming procurement methods such as frameworks and make contract awards as speedily as possible if they need to.

In a note put out by the Cabinet Office last week, clients including central government departments, NHS trusts and local councils have been warned not to stick to existing arrangements and waste valuable time when signing off on appointments.


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The Cabinet Office wants public sector clients to sign on the dotted line more quickly during the coronavirus crisis

It said: “There will be a range of commercial actions that must be considered by contracting authorities in responding to the impact of covid-19.

“In such exceptional circumstances, authorities may need to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency.”

It said awarding authorities should consider “direct award due to extreme urgency, direct award due to absence of competition [and] call off from an existing framework agreement or dynamic purchasing system”.

It added that awarding groups should be aware the coronavirus “outbreak is likely to give rise to supply chain disruption and contracting authorities may need to take action in response to supplier claims of ‘force majeure’ or contract ‘frustration’ [when an obligation becomes incapable of being performed because of an intervening event or circumstance].”

Jason Stapley, managing director at framework provider Pagabo, said: “We are really pleased to see that the government has taken steps to ensure that projects are still able to move through the procurement process quickly in order to get any urgent, critical work underway and keep the construction industry moving.”

Pagabo said it will waive fees for any projects procured via its frameworks using the government’s procurement policy notice.