Advisory to Government Agency on Evaluation of Joint Tender Submissions

CCCS was asked to advise on the evaluation of tender submissions where bids were received from, amongst others, a consortium comprising multiple firms where one member of the consortium had also submitted a separate, standalone bid.

CCCS noted that as a matter of general guidance, the submission of a joint bid by a consortium comprising multiple firms is not in and of itself prohibited under the Competition Act 2004. While joint bidding between actual or potential competitors may raise competition concerns, joint bidding between firms that are not competitors (for example, where each joint bidder only supplies goods or services in respect of different scopes of work) would generally not raise competition concerns because it enables firms that would otherwise not be able to participate in the tender to do so. In the present case, CCCS advised that the bids may be assessed as per the government agency’s standard tender evaluation process, similar to receiving two bids from the same bidder, noting that the two bids were non-independent. 

CCCS also noted that tender design can facilitate competitive bidding and suggested that the government agency consider, for future tenders, adjusting the scope of its tenders and allowing for partial bids or splitting the award of its tender. This would enable more players to submit independent bids and encourage a sufficient number of qualified bidders to participate in tenders.