On 15 December 2017, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) released an open letter about the importance of detecting and deterring bid-rigging in all public procurement activities.
A key feature of the CMA's letter is the announcement of a free screening tool to help procurers screen tender data for signs of possible bid rigging by a cartel. The introduction of such a tool affirms the need for public authorities to be ever more focussed and vigilant when it comes to their procurement practices. Contractors and authorities will want to take the points made on board.
David Hansom, head of procurement law, comments that the CMA's interest in this area is timely given the increasing importance of public sector contracting to the wider economy and the potential impact of bid rigging. The EU procurement rules will continue to apply for any Brexit transition period, and are likely to continue in some form or another even after any Brexit. It is comforting to see that the CMA's concerns align with that of the European Union, which has always been particularly concerned with price fixing as a type of anti-competitive behaviour.