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8 December 2010 | Lindsay Clark
Services group Mitie has
admitted procurement practices that included charging vendors £250 to be shortlisted
to work for the firm.
It also admitted to an incident where some firms had been charged £10,000
to become preferred suppliers, although in both cases, the practice ended in
April this year.
John Telling, Mitie’s group corporate affairs
director confirmed the veracity of Daily
Telegraph reports that said it charged suppliers £250 to join a short list
on two national contracts. In an email to suppliers the firm said it had
invested heavily in a procurement system. “The £250 is a small fee, recovering
a small percentage of our costs and helps support the continued running and
development of that process,” it said.
In a separate case, a message suggested vendors
make a “one-off payment of £10,000 in order to become a preferred
supplier”, emails seen by the Telegraph
showed. The suppliers affected had previously worked for Dalkia Technical Facilities,
which Mitie acquired for £130 million last year.
Telling said it was not justifiable
to request such a payment and that if the money had been paid, it would be
Mitie, which holds cleaning and building
services contracts with the UK government, is now conducting a review of its
buying practices, although Telling would not go into detail when speaking to SM.
He was keen to stress that the two practices
highlighted came well before the government’s current drive to renegotiate
contracts with large suppliers including Mitie, lead by Cabinet Office minister