Cancel construction contract, demands councillor after OFT fines suppliers

6 October 2009

07 October 2009 | Jake Kanter

A Bolton councillor has called on the authority to scrap its three-year construction framework deal after two suppliers were fined by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for bid-rigging.

Bolton Council's Conservative group leader John Walsh said this year's £1.5 million building works deal should be re-tendered to exclude suppliers G&J Seddon and Bramall Construction.

After seeking legal advice, Walsh tabled a formal motion to abandon the contract and will raise the issue at the local authority's next meeting on 21 October.

He said the OFT fines gave the council the opportunity to revisit its decision. He added that the framework deal was damaging to a number of local suppliers that failed to win work.

"I hope the council's controlling group will accept my argument that pertinent facts were not considered at the time of the contract award and therefore the contractors' framework should be set aside," he told SM.

The watchdog fined 103 construction firms a total of £129.5 million last month. It found the firms were engaged in illegal, anti-competitive activity on 199 contracts between 2000 and 2006 (Web news, 22 September).

Walsh said he disagreed with OFT and Office of Government Commerce advice to avoid blacklisting guilty suppliers.

SMoct2009

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