It’s been quite a year for procurement. With governmental instability in the UK and across the globe, technology changing the way we buy, sell and market to the wider world and the persistent threat of cyber security constantly evolving, there is much for us to reflect on in procurement in 2019. Procurement now, more than ever, is a crucial factor in bringing communities together and helping people lead better lives through innovative public spending. Here, Supply2Gov takes a closer look at the themes to look out for in 2020 and the years to come.

Social value takes centre stage

Social value isn’t a new development by any means. Public sector organisations are continually looking for new ways to make procurement more ethical. Procurement is moving away from being simply a single transaction between a buyer and a supplier. Instead, new initiatives are being introduced which help support the wider community procurement projects are located in, so that both the area and the people living and working within it continue to benefit long after the project has finished. Examples of social value initiatives that suppliers can contribute to are:

  • Offering guaranteed working hours
  • Paying the living wage
  • Providing enhanced training opportunities
  • Boosting qualifications
  • Using locally sourced materials

Contracting authorities can help grow social value by awarding contracts to suppliers who demonstrate fair practices, like the above. When procurement is promoting great social value, it can increase youth employment and help young people gain qualifications for the future. In 2020 and the years to follow, social value will continue to play a massive part in how procurement evolves for the better, and for the benefit of everyone.

Cyber security continues to change the modern world

We are all aware that the world is becoming more and more digital, and mass digitalisation has meant that everything is moving at lightning fast speed – businesses, entertainment, new trends and new products. Through the invention of the internet and smartphones, we now have access to millions of data at our fingertips, all the time. This level of accessibility means that it is relatively easy for cyber attackers to break into private networks and access confidential data, including credit card information, medical records and other personal information.

In recent years, businesses have begun implementing cyber security measures to protect themselves and their data, and recent GDPR legislation in Europe has also meant that businesses have been forced to rethink how they use and store their data. However, cyber security is now about much more than viruses and malware, as cyber crime continues to present in different forms across different devices. The artificial intelligence that is developed to detect security breaches by scanning millions of data files and checking for anomalies will soon be able to leak cyber security breaches of its own. This is a prediction that is reflected in the opinions of cyber security leaders around the world.

In response to this, we predict organisations of all sizes across all sectors will invest in training their staff on how to better spot cyber attacks and consequently deal with them. If you haven’t done so already, make sure your business is protected from over 80% of basic cyber attacks with quick and simple Cyber Essentials certification.

More businesses move to eProcurement

For a large number of organisations in the UK, procurement today is a far cry from the paper-based processes and manual searches of the early 2000s. eProcurement is becoming increasingly popular among buyers and suppliers alike – offering a web-based solution where organisations can manage their tenders, bids and documentation without wasting paper and time. However, a recent report by Ivalua has revealed that two-thirds of UK businesses are still reliant on manual and paper-based procurement processes. This is estimated to cost UK businesses on average around £1.94 million a year.

In 2020, we predict more organisations will adopt eProcurement solutions, for more effective and efficient procurement. Receiving Supply2Gov tender alerts sent direct to your inbox is just one example of fantastic eProcurement in action.

Increased public spending

The Spending Round announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in September 2019 confirmed that public services would receive a substantial funding boost. Compared to the budget for 2018/19, departments across the UK will get a £13.8 billion real-terms increase in day-to-day spending to deliver on public service priorities.

The NHS is also set to receive a cash increase of £33.9 billion a year by 2023/24, compared to 2018/19. Further investment in public services will boost tender opportunities throughout the UK, providing openings for innovative new suppliers across a range of sectors. (It is important to note though that these figures were announced before the General Election in December 2019, and therefore may change.)

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Every two years, the public sector procurement thresholds are updated by the European Union commission. Supply2Gov provides the updated public sector thresholds of 2020/2021 as published at the end of 2019. These thresholds will help potential new suppliers better understand the value of the UK tenders that are sent to them every day in Supply2Gov’s tender alerts.

As the UK currently is still part of the European Union until a Brexit agreement is officially made in the coming months, these thresholds will continue to dictate which tenders will be subject to EU procurement rules. Understanding the new thresholds will help suppliers of all business sizes will navigate the procurement process to win public sector contracts.

Wait – remind me. What is EU procurement?

The European Union has laid down specific requirements on the way tendering should be carried out in Europe. This is to make sure that the process is fair and non-discriminatory to all organisations across the whole of Europe, including in the UK, to increase healthy competition amongst new and existing private sector suppliers. Supply2Gov explain more about the public sector procurement process in the ‘How to Apply for Public Sector Tenders’ blog.

Public sector contracts

EU regulations kick in when a contract exceeds a certain value. This simply means that the EU regulations come into effect when the value of a public sector contract may or will exceed certain specified financial thresholds. When this happens, it is a mandatory requirement that contracting authorities publish these contracts in the OJEU, ‘The Official Journal European Union’, which hosts thousands of new public sector contracts every day.

The updated public sector thresholds of 2020/2021 are below. These thresholds are exclusive of VAT and relate to the full life of the contract.


Public Contracts

Supply, Services and Design Contracts Works Contracts Social and Other Specific Services
Central Government £122,976
Other Contracting Authorities £189,330
Small Lots £70,778

Utilities Contracts

Supply, Services and Design Contracts Works Contracts Social and Other Specific Services
Utility Authorities £378,660


Concession Contracts

Services or Works


Social and Other Specific Services
All Authorities £4,733,252


Defence and Security Contracts

Supply, Services and Design Contracts Works Contracts Social and Other Specific Services
Defence and

Security Authorities



Win OJEU tenders in the UK

With the help of Supply2Gov, businesses have the choice to filter down their tender opportunities to their relevant sector and geographical location, with completely free registration. Not only will we save you time and resource, we also make your life so much easier. If you sign up for free today, your business will start receiving tender opportunities like these below from tomorrow:

  • Construction and infrastructure tenders
  • Healthcare tenders and NHS tenders
  • Defence and security tenders
  • Technology and computing tenders
  • Local authority tenders
  • Cleaning tenders

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