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security risk

9 January 2012

The risk of evaluating “irrelevant” information has been emphasised in the recent case of Resource v Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service (NICTS) [2011] a tender for security and other services. The unsuccessful bidder claimed that NICTS had evaluated the part of G4S’ proposal which was different from the criteria set out in the Statement of Requirements instead of disregarding it as “irrelevant”.

The court agreed with the applicant. Firstly, NICTS did not have good evidence recording their evaluation process which in general is very important. Secondly, it was clear that G4S’ alternative proposals were taken into account which meant G4S received preferential treatment. By giving weight to “irrelevant” information the panel had committed a serious and manifest error.

The court set the award procedure aside. This case highlights once again the importance of evaluation based solely on the information available to all potential bidders and to record clearly the manner in which the evaluation criteria were applied.

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