What we do: Solicitors for challenging procurement awards
Our clients know that challenges to a tendering process are expensive. They drain valuable resources. Disputes can also significantly threaten an organisation’s reputation. That’s why timely advice from specialists in procurement challenges is essential. At Harper James we have a dedicated team of public sector lawyers, and dispute resolution solicitors specialising in public procurement challenges. We’ll defend or challenge decisions robustly when it’s the commercially sensible thing to do. But our advice is realistic and our approach practical. Not every failure to win a bid should be disputed. Nor should awarding bodies necessarily be advised to defend a challenge to a flawed public procurement process.
We provide a comprehensive service to public bodies and private companies defending and pursuing challenges to a tendering process or outcome. There is a 30-day time limit in bringing a challenge. The clock often starts to run once a discrepancy in a tender document is noticed, not when a decision on a successful bidder has been made. It’s crucial therefore to act quickly. Our work covers:
- Commencing a challenge when a bidder believes the procurement process does not comply with public procurement law
- Advising bidders that have been unsuccessful in qualifying for the procurement process
- Advising on the appropriateness of a standstill challenge following receipt of the standstill letter from the awarding authority (that is, the letter informing a bidder of its unsuccessful bid)
- Advising public bodies and other contracting authorities facing challenges to a tender process that they have carried out.
Typical contract award and challenges we have been involved in include:
- Challenging an unwillingness to accept late bids caused by IT errors in the relevant procurement portal
- Instances of mathematical errors in the scoring criteria/methodology and/or evaluation
- Occasions when more time was spent with one bidder over others
- A client being scored down for something not mentioned in the evaluation criteria
- Where an awarding authority unlawfully favoured the incumbent
- An unreasonable insistence on local presence and/or capability
- Challenges to decisions to abandon procurements and associated judicial reviews
- Cases of non-compliant assessment and evaluation criteria
Who we help: Public bodies and private businesses seeking advice on public procurement law
We advise a wide variety of public body clients from government departments and local councils to NHS tendering groups and institutional governing bodies.
We also assist private sector companies in a diverse range of industries and sectors in relation to contract awards and challenges. Our procurement challenge solicitors have recently advised companies in the following industries:
- Transport and logistics
- IT and telecommunications
- Waste and recycling
- Health and pharmaceuticals
Why use our procurement dispute resolution solicitors?
Our lead public procurement challenge solicitor is Mark Gudgeon. Mark acts on numerous high value and complex public procurement challenges, some of which have been high profile. He acts for both the private and public sector. Clients have remarked on Mark’s ability to get to grips quickly with the detail of a procurement challenge, his extreme professionalism, value and responsiveness. Find out more about Mark and his expertise here.
Clients trust us because our solicitors have regularly acted for both public sector tendering bodies as well as bidders. We therefore understand every angle and intricacy of the tendering process. To avoid challenges we spot the pitfalls for local government and other public bodies engaged in running a tender process. Similarly we identify irregularities that can optimise the chances of a successful challenge to procurement processes.
Where possible we will use effective procurement dispute resolution methods to avoid full-blown litigation.
Commercial and Operations Director
Ashley is a litigator, arbitrator and mediator who joined Harper James from DLA Piper where he spent 28 years, 22 as a partner. He is now the Commercial and Operations Director at Harper James.View profile
Dispute Resolution Solicitor
Mark previously worked at Freeths LLP and Nabarro (which became CMS) prior to joining Harper James. His areas of expertise include complex contractual disputes, public procurement challenges, IT/Outsourcing & reputational managementView profile
Dispute Resolution Partner
Ian joined our dispute resolution team in 2016 and has over 20 years of experience in handling a broad range of commercial disputes.View profile
Dispute Resolution Solicitor
Simon is a very experienced dispute resolution solicitor and has worked in private litigation practice for over 20 years.View profile
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