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Web address: http://www.ffw.com/practices/regulatory/competition-eu-regulatory/public-procurement.aspx

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Public procurement

HM Treasury estimates that public procurement in the UK is worth around £175bn annually. It accounts for around 16% of the European Union’s Gross Domestic Product. Ensuring that public money is spent wisely is a high priority for public bodies and utilities. Fair and open access to public contracts provides a critical source of business to suppliers in the private sector.

And yet, the public procurement rules – driven mainly by a desire to avoid national favouritism – are a financial and procedural burden to both authorities and bidders, creating commercial and legal risk and acting as a drag on public/private deals.

How we can help

Helping awarding authorities
When running competitions, you want to be sure that the process is challenge-proof, delivers the best possible value for money and meets the expectations of your internal clients and external stakeholders.

We understand what it takes to design and manage a process which is fit for purpose and legally robust, and we can advise you on all aspects of the process, as well as support you proactively and effectively.

Helping bidders
As a bidder, you must be satisfied that you are given a fair opportunity. You need the same information as all other bidders, clear requirements, transparent evaluation criteria and assurance that there are no hidden hurdles, benchmarks or weightings that are not fully revealed.

Our service

We have advised on some of the most complex, largest and innovative procurement projects in Europe. Our understanding of the practicalities of deploying the Regulations and Treaty principles throughout a competition, coupled with our knowledge of the complex administrative issues which can arise such as vires, stakeholder management and public propriety, means that we have unrivalled expertise in this area of law.

Planning the competition
Complex procurements are front-end loaded in terms not only of planning, budgets and resources, but also in getting the right links in place to be ready at the start of the competition. We can help you choose the right procedure and plan the procurement process in full.

Evaluation modelling
The evaluation strategy is often the Achilles heel in procurement. Evaluation leads to downselection which provides the main trigger for challenges. We can help you with ensuring that evaluation criteria are relevant, scoring is proportionate to the subject matter of the contract and that that the right level of detail, hurdles and weightings are disclosed to bidders at the right time to allow a fair process.

Dealing with challenges
Our procurement team works closely with our top-ranked public and administrative law team to successfully defend many public law challenges, in procurement law and judicial review. This means we can proactively advise you on planning for potential weak spots, training the project team and dealing with disclosure ‘fishing’ requests.