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Challenging the procurement process

Challenging the procurement process

If you are considering challenging the procurement process are you aware that the courts will consider the public interest. The procurement regulations provide that,

where a legal challenge based on a breach of the procurement regulations has been raised following the completion of a tender process, the public body procuring the contract is prohibited from entering into the contract with the successful bidder until the legal proceedings are resolved, or the court grants an interim order lifting this prohibition.

In the case of Hastings

Procurement interim orders & public interest

Procurement interim orders & public interest

The case of Glasgow Rent Deposit & Support Scheme against Glasgow City Council and Ypeople (decided on 6 December 2012) highlights the court's reluctance to delay a contract award because of an alleged breach of the procurement regulations where this would be detrimental to the public interest.

GCC tendered for a service providing increased access to housing for the homeless and specifically the provision of a deposit guarantee scheme and temporary furnished accommodation. The pursuer raised the action and asked that the decision to award

Rights of unsuccessful tenderers

Rights of unsuccessful tenderers

The procurement regulations set down the rights and remedies available to unsuccessful tenderers who have suffered or are likely to suffer loss as a result of a breach of those regulations.

Where the aggrieved tenderer can show that a breach has occurred the court can:

  • suspend the process
  • set aside the decision leading to the contract award
  • declare the contract ineffective
  • award damages

However the regulations only apply to works, services and supplies contracts over certain values.

Does this mean that a court action cannot

Procurement Process: Challenging the Final Decision

Under the procurement regulations, an organisation engaged in a procurement exercise should allow a 'standstill period' of 10 days to elapse between notifying the tenderers of the successful party and awarding the contract. If an unsuccessful tenderer raises a legal challenge to the procurement process during the standstill period, the organisation cannot proceed to award the contract without first obtaining an order from the court.

In a recent case from Northern Ireland (Rutledge Recruitment and Training Limited v Department for Employment and Learning)