How do you ensure award criteria are sufficiently transparent?

Regulation 4(3) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 — and its equivalent in Scotland — requires contacting authorities to treat economic operators equally and in a non-discriminatory way, and to act transparently and proportionately.

Recent years have seen a dramatic rise in the number of claims by suppliers alleging that award criteria were either not disclosed or were not sufficiently transparent. How then can contracting authorities ensure their award criteria and evaluation methodologies are sufficiently transparent? A recent Scottish case — Healthcare At Home Ltd v The Common Services Agency (2013) — provides some useful guidance.

The case concerned the award of a contract to supply the cancer drug Herceptin to patients in their own homes. The claimant, Healthcare at Home, had been the incumbent supplier but narrowly lost the contract to BUPA when it was retendered…

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