Could you spot a rigged bid?

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has recently published guidelines to assist contracting authorities in the detection and prevention of bid-rigging and other anti-competitive behaviour by bidders. This paper follows on from previous guidelines issued in 2009.

The key recommendations in the recent guidance are that:

  • officials running procurement processes have an understanding of the relevant market and training in how to spot anti-competitive behaviour by bidders and suspicious bids;
  • the procurement process be designed to minimize the opportunities for intra-bidder communications;
  • the number of bidders is maximised including small- and medium-sized bidders where possible on the basis that the larger the field of bidders the harder it will be for bid rigging to take place;
  • selection and award criteria are carefully chosen with a view to maximising competition rather than encouraging collusion;
  • e-procurement be used as much as possible as this creates a ?bidder trail? which can be evaluated for suspicious bid patterns much more easily than paper bids;
  • all bidders are required to sign a Certificate of Independent Bid Determination confirming that no collusion has taken place; and
  • the tender documentation includes warnings prohibiting bid rigging and gives deterrent details of the sanctions that will be imposed on bidders if bid rigging is discovered.

We have contacted the Cabinet Office to see if it intends to publish a Procurement Policy Note or other guidance for contracting authorities in response to the new OECD publication; we will post again if so.

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