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.

June 6, 2023

Net Zero Needs Further Action, Says NAO

A new National Audit Office (NAO) report highlights that further action is needed by the UK Government to strengthen governance and delivery...
June 1, 2023

Critical Audit on Australia’s Frigate Procurement

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has recently released its findings into a review of the Department of Defence (Defence) 2018 procurement...
May 30, 2023

Space To Innovate- New UK Gov Opportunity

The UK Government's, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) Space Systems Programme has announced it is seeking proposals to aid UK Defence...
May 25, 2023

EU Commission Move To Electronic Procurement

The European Commissions Directorate Generate for Informatics (DIGIT), has launched a new dynamic purchasing system for software licences and associated services (SIDE...
May 22, 2023

Biosecure Procurement Trial

The UK Government yesterday announced new measures for domestic tree seed production and biosecurity procurement requirements. The next round of the Domestic...
May 18, 2023

New Industry Body White Paper Review of Covid Procurement

Since early on in the pandemic, there has been significant focus on the procurement of Covid related PPE, due to unprecedented nature...
May 11, 2023

EU Council Joint Procurement Under European Peace Facility

The European Union Council has adopted an assistance measure worth €1 billion under the European Peace Facility (EPF) that will further contribute...
May 10, 2023

Measuring Sustainable Public Procurement

One of the projects we are most proud of is working with The Open Contracting Partnership to create a Sustainable Public Procurement...
May 3, 2023

From Hero to Zero – UK Digital Marketplace Shuttered

Within living memory, the UK’s Crown Commercial Service (CCS) had planned to reshape a large swathe of public procurement in the image...
May 2, 2023

We Sell Data, Not Seats.

Why we sell data not seats? We're data analysts. We really understand the data we gather. We've been doing it for 15...
May 2, 2023

New Tech Disrupts Traditional Government Procurement

A Silicon Valley startup, GLASS, has created a revolutionary new tech, Glass Commerce, an e-commerce marketplace enabling compliant transactions between government buyers...
April 25, 2023

Green Public Procurement: New Report

At Spend Network, we are always on the look out for governments, think tanks, research bodies, and other organisations who are working...
April 25, 2023

EU Agrees on Anti-Coercion Instrument

The European Commission and European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade have agreed on an anti-coercion instrument (ACI) which will enable public procurement...
April 13, 2023

£256 Million Contract for Cyprus Awarded by UK Government

The UK Ministry of Defence  has awarded a £256 million contract, for work, repairs, servicing, and facilities management for the UK defence...
April 5, 2023

Endorsements For Export Agencies

Endorsements are a win-win for export agencies. Exporters face new challenges, both in terms of increased barriers to trade following the pandemic,...


Compelling research, insights and data directly into your inbox.

Recent media stories