To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to exempt special education and disability services from the 2004 European Union Procurement Directives and the Children and Families Act 2014; what plans they have to reduce bureaucratic procedures for authorities and schools trying legally to place children with special needs; and what plans they have to safeguard the principle of parental choice within their special educational needs and disability policies.
The EU Directive 2014/24 on Public Procurement replaces the previous Directive (2004/18). The Department for Education will be implementing the 2014 Directive through new Public Contracts Regulations, on which we consulted last year. The Directive and the Regulations will raise the financial threshold above which EU wide procurement for social, health and educational services must take place and will introduce a new ‘light touch regime’ for procurement of these services. These measures will reduce the current burden on local authorities and schools. The Crown Commercial Service will shortly issue guidance to local authorities. This guidance will cover the interaction between public procurement and user choice. The new Regulations will continue to allow for the preferences of parents/carers and young people which is an integral feature of the Education, Health and Care Plan process set out in the Children and Families Act 2014.