As the SKWAWKBOX covered on Monday, Cabinet Minister David Lidington attempted to deflect blame for the government’s continued award of huge projects to collapsed construction and outsourcing giant Carillion onto the European Union.
Lidington claimed that EU regulations prevented the government from rejecting Carillion’s bids on financial grounds.
According to the government’s own procurement website, he was talking nonsense.
The Brief guide to the EU Public Contracts Directive (2014) to on the ‘gov.uk’ website outlines the process for the procurement of goods and services for the public sector. In spite of its name, it’s not very brief – it consists of seventeen pages.
But it is very clear, in section 20, about the process for selecting suppliers and the criteria for accepting or rejecting those who bid for a contract:
Not only are those deciding where to award a contract supposed to assess bidders on their ‘economic and financial standing‘, with particular mention made of ‘levels of financial soundness‘ – but the guide even puts that assessment above the question of their technical ability to do the job.
If the Tories want to say something to deflect blame, they’d be better choosing something a little less checkable.
What they actually achieved was to intensify the obviousness of their guilt in the Carillion debacle even further.
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