In the recently decided case Federal Security Services Limited v Chief Constable for the Police Service of Northern Ireland and Resource Group Limited [2009] NICh 3, the Northern Ireland High Court set aside a contract for Part B services as the contracting authority did not apply a ten-day standstill period. It is widely accepted that there is no need to hold a standstill period for Part B services. However, this was a high value contract with demonstrable cross-border interest and accordingly the court held that a standstill period should have been awarded and granted an injunction preventing the implementation of the contract.

This case therefore demonstrates the importance of considering all Part B services contracts on their own merits. In particular, if bids are received from cross-border suppliers (whether suppliers based in the EU or UK subsidiaries of the same), contracting authorities are well advised to include a standstill period.

The relationship between this case and the European Directive on Remedies in public procurement mentioned in the first article in this month’s update does not provide greater clarity to this area of procurement law. Whilst the Remedies Directive provides that a mandatory standstill period to Part B services does not apply, this case suggests that the risks of not applying a standstill period should be assessed on the facts of each case, especially where it is a high value contract with demonstrable cross-border interest. The case may be appealed – we will report back.