Parting shot from OFT regarding supply of ICT to the public sector

Information and communications technology (ICT) suppliers and their public sector customers both need to take action following the publication of the results of the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT’s) market study into the sector. In particular, the OFT recommends that:

  • Its successor body, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), should prioritise any future antitrust investigation into the sector and warns suppliers to review their existing competition compliance programmes and procedures;
  • Public sector buyers take steps to improve data collection regarding prices and supplier performance to enable more effective management of contracts and appointments; and
  • Buyers should engage with suppliers earlier in the procurement process (at tender/specification design stage) to assist in identifying alternative suppliers.

Walker Morris reported in October that the OFT had launched a market study into the supply of ICT to the public sector. On 25 March, just a week before its competition law powers and duties were transferred to the CMA, the OFT published its report setting out its findings on competition in the sector. The OFT’s conclusion is that competition could be working better in the supply of ICT to the public sector and it sets out various recommendations to make this happen…

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