When do changes to public contracts bring about new contract awards?


A difficult question for public authorities is whether a contract initially tendered under the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 needs to be re-advertised where there are post-contract amendments reflecting changes in circumstances. This was considered by the ECJ in the Pressetext case which confirmed that where there is a proposed extension, renewal or amendment to a public contract, the authority cannot just allow the existing contracting party to continue. Instead the authority must award the work under a new procurement process if the new terms are “materially different” from the original contract and therefore show the parties meant to renegotiate its essential terms.

This case has helpfully provided some direction on this question and will be useful as a guide for all public sector bodies facing this very common situation.


On the other hand minor changes that can be objectively justified and do not give the contractor a significant advantage do not re-trigger the procurement rules.

points to note:

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