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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.