New EC Directives on Public Procurement published

United Kingdom

Two new Directives designed to simplify and modernise the EU's rules on public procurement were published in the Official Journal on 30 April 2004.  Proposals for the new Directives were originally published by the Commission in May 2000 but the final texts were not adopted until 31 March 2004.

The old Directives governing works (93/37/EEC), services (92/50/EEC) and supplies (93/36/EEC) contracts awarded by public bodies have been replaced by a consolidated text - Directive 2004/18/EC.  Directive 2004/17/EC on procurement rules for utilities in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors replaces Directive 93/38/EEC.

The two main objectives of the new legislation are to simplify the existing rules and to bring them more up to date with modern procurement methodology.  There are therefore changes:

  • to facilitate electronic procurement;

  • to provide for increased transparency in relation to award criteria; and

  • to create a new procedure allowing for competitive dialogue between contracting authorities and tenderers.

The new Directives have to be implemented in Member States no later than 31 January 2006.  The Government must therefore now start work on preparing replacements for the existing UK implementing regulations.

For further details please contact Susan Hankey at or on +44 (0) 207 367 2960, David Marks at or on +44 (0) 207 367 2136 or Simon Leathley at or on +44 (0) 207 367 3736.