On receipt of a debriefing letter, an unsuccessful bidder may sense that something is wrong in the evaluation of a bid. This could include reasons for scores which do not match the published evaluation methodology and criteria, or a winning bid which may appear to be abnormally low or non-compliant.
Our specialist procurement litigation team has experience in advising unsuccessful bidders on whether they have grounds to challenge the outcome of a public procurement process. We can review the published tender documents and the feedback received, and advise on whether to pursue a complaint.
It is vital that any advice on whether there are grounds to challenge is obtained at the earliest possible opportunity. Contact us within the first few days of receiving your debrief letter if you have any concerns about the lawfulness of the award decision.
If you are considering challenging the outcome of a public procurement, we can provide you with a full range of support and advice, including:
- reviewing the published tender documentation and the debrief information received in order to advise on the merits of pursuing a challenge against the contracting authority
- preparing correspondence to send to the contracting authority to set out concerns about the outcome of the process, and to request additional information
- advising on routes available to obtain additional information from the contracting authority
- managing litigation on behalf of the bidder, should the facts indicate that breaches of procurement law have been committed and it is not possible to resolve issues without access to court proceedings.
Previously undisclosed weightings
We acted for an IT provider in relation to a procurement run by an academy for an ICT managed service contract. On receipt of the standstill letter, our client was concerned that the weightings applied by the contracting authority to the award criteria, did not appear to match the weightings published in the tender documents and that a previously undisclosed methodology appeared to have been applied to the evaluation of price. We provided advice during the standstill period which indicated that our client had good grounds to challenge. We drafted a letter to the contracting authority on its behalf. Our pre-action correspondence resulted in a decision by the contracting authority to abandon the award decision and re-tender.
Errors in evaluation
We represented a bidder in a procurement for employment services, run by the Department for Work and Pensions. Our client was notified of the outcome of the procurement and identified that it appeared errors had been made in the application of the published scoring criteria to its bid. We wrote to the contracting authority on our client's behalf setting out our concerns and requesting additional information. On receipt of the additional detailed feedback, our client decided not to pursue a claim.
Abnormally low tender
We have been acting for a provider of clinical waste services in relation to a procurement for GP and pharmacy waste collection services. Following notification of the contract award decision, our client had real concerns about the intention to award the contract to the winning bidder, on the basis that its bid appeared to be abnormally low in comparison to the costs of running the service. We provided advice on the merits of a challenge, which led to a claim being issued in the standstill period.