Interesting research by law firm EMW on business that challenged government contracts states that the department responsible for public procurement, the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), had 57 complaints in 2010 – a rise of 84% on 2009. EMW says this is due to strong competition for public sector contracts coupled with cuts and falling margins (ie you need more contracts now that they are worth less).
The number of complaints actually investigated by the OGC grew 29% from 21 to 27. However, this resulted in only one contract being re-tendered in 2010 (none in 2009).
EMW also make that point that “Some companies are using the complaints system to try to gain more information about their competitor’s bid or simply to delay their competitor from actually starting the project.”
Some of our clients have lodged valid complaints during the tendering process to the contract awarding body (eg a council or government department) but not the OGC. However, whilst some have managed to fight to compete in a tender we’ve not yet seen anyone actually benefit long-term (ie win) from complaining.
It’ll be interesting to see how this develops over the coming years. Anyone know of any companies that successfully challenged government contracts and tender awards?