Debates between Baroness Noakes and Lord Aberdare during the 2019 Parliament

Wed 30th Nov 2022

Procurement Bill [HL]

Debate between Baroness Noakes and Lord Aberdare
Baroness Noakes Portrait Baroness Noakes (Con)
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My Lords, I support the single digital platform which is now covered by government Amendment 129 in this group, but I have one caveat. The benefits of the platform, in terms of efficiency—having all the procurement details in one place—will be undermined if contracting authorities are required also to publish tender information in other ways. That is what lies behind my Amendments 166 and 168 in this group. Like some of the amendments I spoke to on our first day in Committee, these have been suggested by the Local Government Association. I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Moylan for adding his name to them.

These amendments propose two additional repeals within Schedule 11, the repeal schedule. Subsections (4)(b) and (5) of Section 89 of the Transport Act 1985 require local authorities to issue notices of tender individually to anyone who has given written notice that they wish to be notified. Amendment 166 would repeal that, because it should no longer be necessary. Amendment 168 would repeal Regulations 4 and 5 of the Service Subsidy Agreements (Tendering) (England) Regulations 2002 so that information on tenders will no longer be required, for example, to be published locally, including in local newspapers.

I hope my noble friend will see these two amendments as supporting the importance of the digital platform. I also hope that she will be able to assure the House that the Government will ensure that later legislation will not be allowed to undermine the platform by adding new and additional requirements, once it is up and running.

Lord Aberdare Portrait Lord Aberdare (CB)
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My Lords, I suggested earlier that the Government might explore the greater use of technology to track payment times. I also very much support the proposals in government Amendment 129 regarding a single digital platform for publishing notices, documents and other information, and I wonder if it might in due course be extended to provide a mechanism for monitoring and tracking payment performance.

While I am on my feet, I thank my new noble friend the Minister for her kind words earlier. I also point out to the noble Lord, Lord Moylan, that I was not earlier proposing an amendment to the Bill for improving payment practice, but merely speaking in support of the Government’s plans for the procurement review unit and seeking confirmation of those plans on the record. I am sorry that he is unfortunately not in his place here for me to draw that to his attention.