Key to making the CC2i collaboration model work is ensuring that pitches adhere to public sector procurement rules. So how does the CC2i model fit with procurement?
SME partners we are working with are clear that whilst they are working collaboratively with a number of local authorities or public sector bodies, their pitch will still be subject to public sector procurement procedures. In the majority of cases the overall amount being sought for the pitch falls under the EU threshold of £164,176, so will not trigger a full OJEU procurement process.
Most pitches going through standard procurement processes will see the financial commitment falling into the category whereby participating public bodies will need to request three written quotations for the work.
The new Innovation Partnerships introduced as part of the The Public Contracts Regulations 2015, SI 2015/102 (PCR 2015), will cover cases of true and proven innovation:
'The Innovation Partnership procedure enables the council to develop innovative products, works or services where no suitable solution exists in the market (sharing the risk with suppliers) and then to purchase the resulting products, services etc.'
An SME and partner public bodies may be able to use an existing framework to deliver their pitch such as Digital Outcomes & Specialists Framework or possibly G-Cloud on the Digital Marketplace.
Collaborations that are brought to CC2i by a local authority seeking to work with other local authorities without private sector involvement, and which manage all the co-design and development within the partnership can progress under existing local government partnerships and collaboration models.
In some cases Teckal may be relevant:
"The Teckal case established that, under certain circumstances, a contract let to a third party will not count as a public service contract if “the local authority exercises over the person [ie the company] concerned a control which is similar to that which it exercises over its own departments and, at the same time, that person carries out the essential part of its activities with the controlling local authority or authorities”. These two elements have been called the control and function tests."
To be clear, it is the responsibility of the pledging organisation to ensure compliance with procurement rules, but it is best practice for pitching organisations to be aware of procurement practices. There are many myths in public sector procurement – some good ones listed here – and despite offering a new way for public sector to work together, CC2i is not a way around procurement.
The Gov.UK website says:
"The over-riding procurement policy requirement is that all public procurement must be based on value for money, defined as 'the best mix of quality and effectiveness for the least outlay over the period of use of the goods or services bought'. This should be achieved through competition, unless there are compelling reasons to the contrary."
CC2i squarely believes that our collaboration approach will offer public sector value for money now and moving forward. By joining together to work on digital innovation either with private sector or solely with public sector partners, financial collaboration will enable partners to de-risk projects, find solutions to problems more quickly whilst sharing expertise and making their budgets go further.
The guidance that has been provided is for information purposes only and the CC2i team accepts no liability or responsibility for the reliance by any person or organisation on the guidance notes contained here. Parties are responsible for seeking their own independent legal advice in terms of procurement and contracting once the pitch has confirmed interested parties attached.
CC2i consulted with Terry Brewer, Divisional Director Commercial, Contracts and Procurement at Harrow Council and author of the National Category Strategy 2 for the LGA on this procurement overview.