Competition and Markets Authority launches new tool to help procurers spot cartel behaviour

The new Screening for Cartels tool has been developed by the CMA in conjunction with Spend Network and includes a series of tests designed to help procurers identify suspicious bidder behaviour which may be indicative of an illegal cartel.

A cartel will exist where bidders act together to fix their approach to bidding for contracts by for example fixing the prices each will bid sharing information agreeing not to bid or by making a poor quality or overpriced bid.

Using a series of algorithms and the data from a tender the tool tests for suspicious signs in three main areas any or all of which may be suggestive of bid rigging:

  • number and pattern of bidders;
  • pricing; and
  • document origin (including text and typo similarities) and low endeavour submissions.

Whilst the tool does not prove the existence of a cartel where it does identify suspicious signs procurers can consider what further steps they may need to take and/or the questions and clarifications they may need to make with bidders before proceeding to a contract award. 

The tool is being made available by the CMA free of charge. For further details and instructions on how to request and download the tool go to:


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