It is anticipated that as lockdown restrictions ease, and particularly with children and young adults returning to education, cases of meningitis will start to rise.
In a consultation paper issued in early March, and giving only a month for responses, the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) consulted on proposals for any company wishing to bid for public contracts to be required to identify their “beneficial owners”. A “beneficial owner” will include anyone holding more than 25% of the shares in the company or having significant rights to influence it, for example, by appointing a majority of the board. This is currently the test for UK companies to register “people with significant control” and provide details of them to Companies House.
The consultation suggested four “options” to require bidders to provide “beneficial ownership” information:
- to require non-EU companies to register their beneficial ownership information centrally and then to require all bidders to refer to the relevant register when either responding to the standard PQQ or submitting a European Single Procurement Document (ESPD). The non-provision of this information would then be made a ground to exclude the bidder from the procurement;
- to require non-UK companies to provide beneficial ownership information direct to the contracting authority;
- to treat a failure to provide beneficial ownership information as making a bid incomplete or non-compliant; or
- to make it a condition of awarding a contract that beneficial ownership information is provided.
We responded to the consultation, saying that the main problem with all of these options is that, under the public procurement case law, it is difficult to add further exclusion grounds unilaterally. If a contracting authority tries to exclude a bidder for a failure to provide information which the Public Contracts Regulations (or their Utilities and Concessions equivalents) do not require bidders to provide, this would clearly open up the contracting authority to a procurement challenge.
We also highlighted the fact that there could be significant administrative costs for contracting authorities if they were required to “go looking” for beneficial ownership information or were to have to check it.
We suggested that, if the Government wishes to make it a condition of tendering that beneficial ownership information is provided, they should lobby the European Commission to change the public procurement Directives to allow for this. There was ample opportunity to have done this in the two-year consultation period leading to the 2014 public procurement Directives, and this is a pity that the Government did not address this then.
We are happy to provide a copy of our full response to the consultation to anyone who would be interested to receive one.
For more information
Contact Andrew Millross.
As we continue to emerge from lockdown measures and deal with local measures and the short and long term economic impact of Covid-19, local authorities will need to re-assess how services will be delivered for years to come.
The Government first announced plans for a shared ownership right to buy in October 2019. At the time the sector raised concerns about the impact the plans would have on housing associations ability to borrow. An election and a pandemic later the Government announced, during the CIH Housing Festival last week, the return of the right to shared ownership as part of its Affordable Homes Programme (AHP).
Two final pieces of the possession jigsaw have been published on 15 September 2020. Mr Justice Knowles’ working group on possession proceedings has issued its guidance on the “overall arrangements” for possession proceedings.
One change proposed by the Building Safety Bill is the introduction of a duty holder regime, which will see statutory responsibility for the safety of higher risk buildings placed on key individuals
Throughout this pandemic, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been publishing various “Statements on Coronavirus” (Statements) which provide guidance on consumer rights during this time.
A recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the UK means new measures are being put in place in an effort to reduce the risk of a second wave. Whilst the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt, it is important to remain focused on the sector’s road to recovery.
Sometimes half an hour at a conference gives you the reality that has been staring you in the face all along. That was my experience watching “Change is on the Horizon”
Following our recent e-briefing on Possession Notices, Helen Tucker and Emilie Pownall from our housing litigation team discuss the impact of the changes on social landlords.
Not only has the possession stay been extended until 20 September, the notice periods to be given to tenants has been extended in certain circumstances with some important exceptions.
To receive invitations to our events, as well as information and articles on legal issues and sector developments that are of interest to you, please sign up to Newsroom.