Blacklisting Gets Tested.

Blacklisting Gets Tested.

September 20, 2022
Procurement, Suppliers

Back in June we wrote about blacklisting of suppliers and the Government’s intention to prevent poorly performing suppliers from bidding for government contracts. We mentioned the subject of Bain and Company and made it clear that Ministers would need to be ready to defend their decisions when debarring companies.

“It won’t be hard for lawyers to draft up the reasons for blacklisting a supplier, it will be down to Ministers to decide when to use that power, and above all to justify the decisions they make.”

A commission in South Africa concluded that Bain had sought to “seize and restructure” the South African Revenue Service with plans to move responsibility for procurement to the Revenue Service, a design that was thought to enable corruption, rather than defend against it. Contracts were supposedly awarded to Bain after Bain drafted the specification and there are accusations that a whistleblower was offered bribes in return for his silence.

If true, all of this is rum stuff and it would be more than enough reason to blacklist a supplier. Jacob Rees-Mogg is already convinced and the Cabinet Office has debarred Bain for a period of three years, citing “grave misconduct”. It should be noted that Bain is not banned from contracting in South Africa and is challenging the Cabinet Office’s decision on the basis that correct process was not followed and issued the following statement.

“Bain South Africa did not act illegally at SARS or elsewhere, and no evidence to the contrary has been put forward. Neither Commission of Inquiry in South Africa has recommended any charges to be filed,”

This is unlikely to be simple case, and it would be wrong to assume that this is going to go the way of the Cabinet Office. After all, Bain must feel that there is a case to answer if they’re going to court. Bain will emphasise that their UK operation is a separate legal entity with separate owners and separate procedures. Meanwhile, lawyers in the Cabinet Office will be trawling through Bain’s bid responses looking for references to Bain being a single global entity. Even if the court rules that the sins of Bain South Africa can be tied to Bain UK there’s still a way for to go before the debarment can be deemed legal, the Cabinet Office will need to prove that they’ve got evidence of malfeasance and possibly that subsequent reparations were insufficient. Only then can they justify their additional actions.

Meanwhile pressure is being applied to the BBC and others by Lord Hain, a prominent Labour Peer and ex Minister, to finish their current contract with Bain. Perhaps someone in government has calculated that they get a useful story to tell even if they lose the case, but if the debarment is deemed not to be legal Bain UK could easily sue for the damage to their reputation and for lost bidding opportunities. It would be very ‘brave’ of the BBC to push Bain out of Broadcasting House before the judge has ruled.

What we can see here is the impact of blacklisting. In simple terms, suppliers don’t like it and will push back hard to make sure they don’t lose out on the chance to bid on contracts. So although governments get a good feeling from handing out black marks, they need to be ready for the inevitable fights that follow.

Get in touch with us to discuss your government procurement data needs.

Because you read this article, you may be interested in reading 8 Things You Need To Run A Supplier Blacklist.

September 29, 2022

£900k Government Fund To Help Charities Win Public Contracts.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) is running a Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Contract Readiness Fund grant...
September 27, 2022

New EU Procurement Instrument Now Law.

About a year ago, we wrote an article on the new procurement instrument approved by the European Union. In recent weeks this...
September 8, 2022

UK Risks Its Place On Anti-Corruption Body

The UK has been placed ‘under review’ by the 77-country-strong Open Government Partnership (OGP) due to its failure to meet mandatory criteria...
September 8, 2022

Thurrock Exposes Transparency Blind Spot

An investigation by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) into investments by Thurrock Borough Council has led to the resignation of the...
September 6, 2022

New Zealand Government Reviewing Procurement System.

It’s always encouraging when we see governments around the world looking to improve their procurement transparency and efficiency. The New Zealand Government...
September 1, 2022

Collecting Data For Sustainable Procurement In Construction

Over the last few weeks we have been looking at setting a sustainable procurement framework in the construction industry, and what kind...
August 30, 2022

Selecting Data For Sustainable Procurement In Construction

It is estimated that around 40-50% of natural resources are transformed into construction material, and that as much as 30% of all...
August 25, 2022

Setting A Sustainable Procurement Framework For Construction

When procuring construction projects, it can be useful to underpin sustainability criteria on existing policy and regulation. When assessing the enabling framework,...
August 18, 2022

Big Net Zero Contract Win For Small Cornish Business

A small Cornish company has purportedly won a £70bn contract to help deliver the country's transition to Net Zero. The Penzance based...
August 16, 2022

Supporting Sustainable Procurement In ICT

One of the key challenges of sustainably procuring ICT lies in the lack of transparency in supply chains. To overcome this challenge,...
August 11, 2022

Why Is Sustainable Procurement Important For The ICT Sector?

The extraction of raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, use, and disposal of ICT products is associated with a number of environmental, social, and...
August 10, 2022

Shifts Towards Sustainable Sourcing

A while ago,  we shared an article on findings by the Boston Consulting Group and the World Economic Forum that showed procurement is responsible...
August 9, 2022

Supporting Sustainable Procurement In The Construction Industry

Construction projects are usually long and complex, involving the participation of different stakeholders throughout the different project stages. There are certain factors...
August 4, 2022

Why Is Open SPP Important In The Construction Sector?

The construction industry is estimated to account for 6% of global GDP, with Africa's construction market valued at around USD 5.4 billion...
August 2, 2022

US Advances Equity And Economic Opportunity Through Procurement.

With the implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Biden-Harris Administration set an objective to ensure federal investments built wealth and opportunity...


Compelling research, insights and data directly into your inbox.

Recent media stories

The Times
May 30, 2022
August 3, 2021


Scroll to Top