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September 2011 | Adam Leach
number of complaints from suppliers about public procurements has almost
quadrupled over the past four years.
acquired under a freedom of information request from the Office of Government
Commerce – since incorporated into the Efficiency and Reform Group – by law
revealed 73 complaints were made about public buying processes in 2010/11. This
compared with just 14 in 2007/08.
the research also suggests the government is now taking action to tackle
grievances. In 2010/2011, 22 per cent of tenders were amended following
complaints, compared to none in the two years previously. Overall, 89 per cent
of complaints made this year were investigated, compared with just 45 per cent
the year before.
Cairns, director at McGrigors, said: “The government is coming under intense
pressure from bidders to investigate complaints thoroughly. Bidders are
increasingly aware of their rights under procurement law and, as such, are much
more likely to take the government to court if they feel the bidding process
law firm added that the increase in protests this year could partly be attributed
to the Cabinet Office’s ‘mystery shopper’ initiative. Through the scheme, an anonymous complaints procedure was
established so SMEs could lodge objections about purchasing procedures.
spokesman for the Cabinet Office, said: “It is good to see more and more
business using Cabinet Office feedback services – feedback from these routes
allows us to investigate problems and make real changes. We want public sector
procurement to be transparent and fair.”