26 July 2007 | Helen Gilbert
The OGC aims to raise procurement standards by establishing a Complaints Function (CF).
The CF aims to provide a "clear, structured and direct" route for suppliers to clear up grievances where a satisfactory resolution cannot otherwise be reached, and to weed out sub-standard practices.
The CF's establishment was one recommendation of January's Transforming Government Procurement report by the Treasury (News, 1 February)
Complainants are required to complete a form, available from the OGC service desk or online at www.ogc.gov.uk
. The OGC will then consider the application on the basis of certain acceptance criteria, which must relate to one or more of the following categories:
• Poor procurement practice highlighting a potential conflict with OGC standards.
• Particularly large or complex projects.
• Projects regarding a key area of government policy or spend or a large percentage of particular markets.
• A series of complaints that have been made against a particular contract, project or government department, which is sufficient for the OGC to investigate further.
However, the OGC said the complaints function cannot provide legal advice and is not a legal avenue to resolve complaints to obtain compensation. In addition, the OGC will not get involved in the following:
• Where the dispute is between supplier and contracting authority and is already subject to formal proceedings (in the UK courts or investigation by the European Commission).
• Where the complainant is seeking to halt the award of a contract during the "10 day mandatory standstill period" and/or is seeking the award of damages. There are already provisions under UK law for such action.
• Where it is a prime/sub-contractor dispute.