The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) joined forces to create a new eLearning package to help identify and prevent bid-rigging within the public sector. The package will support more than 4000 central government procurers unearth attempts to win contracts through anti-competitive conduct.
Evidence suggests that there was up to 30% overcharge in 2013/14, costing the taxpayers millions of pounds.
Rigging a Public Sector Bid
Bid-rigging involves competing businesses which are invited to bid in competitive tenders secretly colluding so that contrary to appearances, they are not fully competing for the contract. Bid-rigging tends to drive up prices by removing genuine competition between bidders.
It is a serious infringement of competition law, which can lead to fines and liability to damages for the companies involved. It can also result in criminal sanctions (including possible imprisonment) for individuals.
The e-learning module is available through the CCS hub. Public procurers who do not have access to the hub can email firstname.lastname@example.org and request to be set up on the learning hub.
The module, which is intended to take no more than 40 minutes to complete, will help students to gain an awareness of why bid-rigging is harmful, what kinds of activities and patterns of behaviour they should watch out for, what they can do to mitigate risks and where they can go to get help if they suspect a case.