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SIX AUTHORITIES MUST EXPLAIN ANTI-COMPETITIVE BEHAVIOUR

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Environment minister Paul Beresford has asked six authorities to explain why they appear to have acted anti- compet...
Environment minister Paul Beresford has asked six authorities to explain why they appear to have acted anti- competitively in tendering construction related and legal services contracts.

The London boroughs of Enfield and Hounslow, the London Fire and Civil Defence Authority and the metropolitan districts of Barnsley, Liverpool and Manchester have four weeks to explain their actions in awarding work in-house after competition against the private sector. All the contracts were for work starting on 1 April this year.

In answer to a written parliamentary question yesterday Sir Paul said:

'Today notices have been served on the London boroughs of Enfield and Hounslow, the London Fire and Civil Defence Authority and the metropolitan districts of Barnsley setting out our view that these authorities have acted anti-competitively during competitions for legal services work.

'Notices have also been served on Liverpool and Manchester city councils setting out similar views in respect of construction related services work.

'Although the circumstances differ in each case, the most common grounds cited in the notices are: that work was not packaged in a way which took proper account of the market's ability to provide the services, that tender documents did not indicate how much work was on offer, and that onerous conditions featured in some of the contracts.

'This is the first time that statutory action has been taken against local authorities in these services. They have four weeks in which to explain their actions in awarding work in-house after competitions against the private sector.'

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