In a challenging economic climate with continuing budget cuts and increasing expectations of staff, sickness absence remains an ongoing problem that is important to address.
A recent case¹ establishes that abnormally low tenders do not need to be investigated unless they are set to be rejected.
The case concerned an online auction for the provision of clinical waste services where the NHS (England) Service Commissioning Board (NHSE) was challenged for failing to investigate whether the lowest-priced bid was abnormally low.
Waste specialists SRCL Ltd challenged the award of the contract, saying that the NHSE is required to investigate whether a tender is abnormally low under Regulation 69 of the Public Contract Regulations 2015 (PCR 2015), and that the NHSE could only accept a potentially abnormally low tender if it is satisfied with the explanation from the suspected ‘low-bidder’.
The Court said that there is nothing in Regulation 69(1) PCR 2015 which suggests that a public authority, or other organisation subject to PCR 2015, has a general duty to investigate all abnormally low tenders. There is only a duty to investigate a bid which they are considering rejecting on the basis of it being abnormally low.
The Court’s stance was a surprise, given earlier case law² which had seemed to suggest that a public body would have to seek clarifications from suspected low-bidders.
In a separate point, the Court said that it will not look kindly on a contractor who contrives to make an artificially high bid with the sole aim of challenging the outcome of a tender process which it knows it cannot win. Clearly the Court had little sympathy with the challenger here.
For more information
If you have any questions about this e-briefing, or have any other procurement concerns, please contact Andrew Millross.
¹ SRCL Ltd v National Health Service Commissioning Board  EWHC 1985 (TCC)
² SAG ELV Slovensko and Others  EUECJ C-599/10
Social housing providers will routinely have a number of construction projects underway at any one time. It is essential for client teams to understand and avoid key contract management pitfalls.
A recent case stands as a good reminder to employers to be careful when distinguishing between pensionable employment under a pension scheme’s rules and employment under a contract of employment.
By early morning on 3 May, it was clear that there had been a huge change in the composition of many councils across the country.
Following our new partner announcement, it is with great pleasure that we can announce additional promotions.
Even those of us with zero football knowledge will most likely know of the shenanigans at a Chelsea FC game this season.
The gig economy, the tensions between it, and our more established ways of working are rarely far from the news these days.
The case of Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Crawford  EWCA Civil 269 will not win awards for excitement but is useful guidance when dealing with workers’ rest periods under the WTR 1998.
Non-UK nationals will surely be worried about an uncertain future, with much still unclear. These feelings will inevitably accompany people to work, and so employers need to be prepared.
Pension disputes in the LGPS need to be dealt with through the Internal Dispute Resolution Procedure. Join Doug Mullen for a free 45 minute webinar on getting the process right.
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.