Company directors with criminal convictions will be excluded from bidding for public-sector work under new European procurement rules.
Under the public contracts and utilities contracts regulations, which came into force this Tuesday, companies will be banned from the bidding process if a director or "others exercising control" have been convicted of criminal offences such as corruption, conspiracy, fraud and money laundering.
Jeremy Summers, a partner at law firm Russell Jones & Walker, said government guidance on the mandatory exclusion clause was confusing, despite industry concerns raised during the consultation process last year.
He said: "It is unclear whether a company would be excluded indefinitely if an individual has a spent conviction."
An Office of Government Commerce spokesperson said it was aware some issues still needed to be worked out. He said it "would issue further guidance as and when it was appropriate".