Award of contracts for social and other specific services under Reg. 74 Public Contracts Regulations 2015

Reg.74 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR2015) transposes Art 74 of Directive 2014/24 and simply opens the section on the procurement of social and special services by indicating that public contracts for social and other specific services listed in Schedule 3 (which replicates Annex XIV of Dir 2014/24) shall be awarded in accordance with the rules in regs.75 to 77 PCFR2015.

Other than creating this "light touch regime" for social and special services, reg.74 PCR2015 does not have much substantive content of its own. For discussion of the light touch regime, which we will be commenting during the rest of the week, see the Crown Commercial Services Guidance here and S Smith, "Articles 74 to 76 of the 2014 Public Procurement Directive: the new "light regime" for social, health and other services and a new category of reserved contracts for certain social, health and cultural services contracts" (2014) 23(4) Public Procurement Law Review 159-168.

For some background discussion on the role of the light touch regime in enabling Member States to reform their public sector and, in the specific case of the UK (England), to deepen the mutualisation strategy supported by the current Tory government and the previous Coalition government, see A Sanchez-Graells & E Szyszczak, 'Modernising Social Services in the Single Market: Putting the Market into the Social' (2013), as well as shorter comments here and here.

It may be worth pointing out that reg.74 PCR2015 deviates from Art 74 Dir 2014/24 in that it does not reiterate the value threshold above which those contracts are covered--which, however, is to be found in reg.5(1)(d) PCR2015 as a mere referral to the value determined in the Directive (see here and here). Ultimately, it is worth remembering that such value is of €750,000, which is converted into £625,050 for OJEC advertisement purposes (cfr with about £540,000 at today's exchange rate).

After having heard Pedro's presentation at Global Revolution last week (available here), where he criticised with good arguments the arbitrariness of EU thresholds in general, I am quite sure that he will have some specific issues concerning the threshold for social and special services, not least due to the unavolidable exchange risk fluctuation that imposed a strong de facto variation in coverage. Pedro?