Evening Standard uncovers public procurement ‘flaw’

A short but interesting piece by Simon English in the London Evening Standard tonight.

He writes about a £50 million, four-year contract for parking enforcement that Westminster Council announced recently they had awarded to Mouchel. But now, as he writes,

Westminster tells me it has “suspended the procurement process” for its on-street parking enforcement “following the discovery of a flaw in the contract document”. What this means isn't entirely clear but the whole bidding process now has to be repeated at considerable cost to council taxpayers.

I don't know what has happened here - any anonymous, informed comments would be welcome -  but it bears out the current theory that public procurement is getting more and more vulnerable to challenge and more sensitive about errors.  The Remedies Directive is already having an effect and that will increase; and coming back to a previous topic discussed here, if we do see more publishing of contracts pressure will increase further.

Whether this is all positive, and we will come through this hiatus with better public procurement and higher standards; or whether it will lead to extreme risk aversion or paralysis in public contracting....we will have to wait and see.

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