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Stalking the wrong horse

8 February 2013

Local authorities will be reassured by the judgment in the Montpellier case this week after the bar was set pretty high for a claim to succeed that a change of direction during a procurement exercise is either fraudulent or a breach of the procurement regime.

Leeds City Council proved that their decision to undertake what was an expensive competitive dialogue exercise and to continue with this until it became clear that the private sector option was not proving value for money showed a genuine wish by the Council to award a contract to a private developer if possible.

The Council had given the bidders sufficient information regarding the Public Sector Comparator and opportunities to submit a competitive offer from the private sector proving no lack of transparency or unfairness in the way that the process was run or the bids were considered. Several parts of the claim were time barred: while Montpellier had expressed concerns these had not been formalised by a claim in time.

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