Central government procurement staff to get masterclasses in detecting bid-rigging

Programme seeks to upskill 4,000-plus staff in ways to spot core cartel behaviour

By Jim Dunton

08 Jan 2016

A new initiative has been launched to help Whitehall's procurement staff identify bid-rigging practices believed to add billions of pounds to government contracts.

Watchdog the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) said the new e-learning module was being made available to some 4,000 staff to help them spot attempts to win contracts through anti-competitive means.

The CMA said cartel-related practices such as bid-rigging were estimated to lead to overcharging of around 30% on the procurement of goods and services, the UK public sector’s bill for which was £242bn in 2013-14.

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Ian Mackie, head of commercial learning and development at the CCS said increasing commercial capability across the civil service was a priority area. “We, along with our departmental colleagues, were delighted to work with CMA to support this learning module,” he said.

“Hosting this on the CCS Learning Hub and the commercial curriculum will enhance the contract management learning already available to staff.”

The module is optional and is designed to take fewer than 40 minutes to complete. The CMA also operates a cartels hotline providing advice to public-sector procurement staff who believe they may have uncovered anti-competitive practices.

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