Public Procurement – We was robbed!

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Aficionados of public procurement Regulations (the Utilities Contract Regulations 2006 as amended) in this case, must read the judgment in a recent case Mermec UK Ltd v Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd [2011] EWHC 1847 (TCC). Meremc Ltd was an unsuccessful bidder for a maintenance regime called Plain Line Pattern Recognition. The case, heard by Mr Justice Akenhead, included detail of the Tender Evaluation Matrix and the outcome of the scoring. Mermec were advised that the ‘standstill period’ would end on 3 October 2011(sic). This is the date shown in the judgment but it should read 3 October 2010. Readers will be interested to see that Mermec’s overall score was 71.7 out of 100. The successful bidder, Omnicom, scored 72.06. The case gives an insight into the psychology of contractors objecting to contract award. In the notes taken at a meeting with Network Rail a Mr Tracey observed ‘’Our legal position will be supplied by Systech – my view is that any further legal action will jeopardise our long-term position with regard to being able to supply NR with any products.” Mermec issued its claim on the 22 December 2010 for the wasted costs of tendering €230,200. The case then centered on the time that it should have commenced proceedings. The outcome of the case was that Mermec lost because they did not commence action within the standstill period. The judge had the last word, stating ; “It would be wholly wrong for this Court to refuse Network Rail’s application in relation to such an unpleaded complaint. It has all the hallmark of a perfectly understandable reaction by an employee who was disappointed that his company did not succeed and involves no more than an uncorroborated belief that Mermec could only have been stopped from succeeding by some sort of skulduggery. In football supporter terms, it is no more than a cry of ‘we was robbed.’ A very interesting case to read!

One Response

  1. Wednesday, September 14th, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Realy enjoyed this read. Thanks for the post.