OFT issues report into anti-competitive practice investigation
The Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading has issued its investigation report into potential anti-competitive practices involved in the tendering process for mechanical and electrical upgrade work at the local authority elderly persons housing complexes at Marashen Crescent and Reayrt Y Chrink in Port Erin. The report will be laid before Tynwald at its sitting on 16th February. The investigation was conducted in accordance with the Fair Trading Act as instructed by the Council of Ministers.
The report concluded that while there was no evidence of an intention by businesses to act in an anti-competitive manner nevertheless such anti-competitive practices did occur in the submission of tender prices for the work at the two complexes.
Following on from recommendations made as a consequence of the findings the OFT in conjunction with the Treasury have developed and will deliver an information programme and education campaign to those in Isle of Man Government who are involved in the supervision of tendered works which involve public funds.
Tendering information for businesses is being reviewed to ensure that those who wish to tender for work understand that the communication of information with other tendering parties prior to bid submission is unacceptable and that any subcontractors who are part of the bid must be clearly identified.
Chairman of the OFT Bill Henderson MHK says “This report has identified a low level of awareness of both competition issues and the role of the OFT amongst staff involved in scrutinising work that Government has put out to tender. We will work with Treasury to address this. Bid-rigging, collusion or any form of anti-competitive practice is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated. A level playing field to enable fair competition between businesses for works paid for by public funds is more important in this current economic climate than ever. If any person has any concerns about any of these activities I would urge them to contact the Chief Officer at the OFT to report it”.
Copies of the report can be inspected free of charge at the Chief Secretary’s Office or downloaded from the OFT website www.gov.im/oft or Chief Secretary’s website www.gov.im/CSO. A hard copy can be obtained from the Tynwald Library priced at £3.40.