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Public Procurement

We have extensive experience in guiding clients through the developing maze of the public procurement rules. We can help you whether you are:

  • a public body trying to achieve your objectives within the rules;
  • or a bidder having doubts about whether you are being fairly treated.

The public procurement rules require public authorities and utilities to follow the procedures specified in the rules when awarding contracts for works, goods or services above certain value thresholds. Even below these thresholds, it is important to note that public authorities must not discriminate on grounds of nationality when awarding contracts and, in many circumstances, must also advertise the contract in an appropriate way.

There are four tendering procedures:

  • open (where all interested suppliers may submit tenders)
  • restricted (where only those suppliers invited to tender may submit tenders)
  • competitive dialogue (where the authority can engage bidders in a dialogue to identify solutions for complex contracts)
  • negotiated (where contracting authorities negotiate with suppliers of their choice)

Not all are permissible or suitable for every type of contract. We can assist you to determine which procedure to use and with issues such as e-procurement, use of dynamic purchasing systems and establishing a framework agreement.

If correct procedures are not followed, an aggrieved bidder may bring court actions. Contracts could subsequently be unravelled or damages awarded. Alternatively, a European Commission investigation could ensue. New rules on debriefing, standstill periods and the potential ineffectiveness of contracts concluded in breach of the rules make these unattractive outcomes more likely.

We can keep you updated on the latest procurement developments through regular e-communiques, seminars and workshops bespoke to a particular client's issues.

For further information please contact Michael Dean or Catriona Munro.

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