The CCPC produced a guide targeted at small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to help them comply with competition law when tendering as part of a consortium.
The guide is aimed at making it easier for SMEs to access procurement opportunities. It was developed to assist businesses who want to join together to form a consortium to submit a joint tender for a public contract.
The Office of Government Procurement (OGP) was tasked with centralising public sector procurement arrangements, with the aim of improving efficiency and value for money in public purchasing. The OGP has implemented measures to encourage SMEs to consider using consortia where they are not of sufficient scale to tender in their own right.
Consortium bidding must be carried out in a way that complies with competition law. For that reason, the CCPC published this guide on competition law to help SMEs to get involved in consortium bidding. The CCPC consulted with the OGP to produce this guide.
There are a number of reasons why firms might decide to create a consortium in order to submit a joint bid for a public contract. For example, it may be the case that the firms individually do not have sufficient turnover to meet the minimum turnover requirements or do not meet all of the necessary experience or technical capacity requirements set by the purchasing body in the tender competition. However, consortium bidding must be carried out in a way that ensures that the firms involved comply with competition law, both in the tendering process itself and in the market generally. Consortium bidding often involves firms that are actual or potential competitors coming together to submit joint bids for public contracts. Consortium members must make sure that their collaboration on a joint bid does not spill over into their activities in the market more generally and become a means for them to engage in anti-competitive behaviour outside the scope of the joint bid.
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