The chief executive of the Homes and Communities Agency has refused to rule out blacklisting contractors found guilty in the Office of Fair Trading’s inquiry into tender malpractice
Sir Bob Kerslake said the agency would be looking carefully at what the OFT had discovered. “It’s important to look at what they’ve said company by company. We will use the information and it will be available to those making decisions in the future.”
Last week the OFT fined 103 contractors £129.5m for bid-rigging and cover pricing offences.
The HCA will this year spend £7.5bn of public money, much of it in the form of grants to housing associations. However, it has recently set up a scheme to use contractors to build homes.
The news comes as lawyers warned the industry that clients were rewriting contracts and tender documents to contain clauses outlawing cover pricing.
One industry body legal expert said he had already seen a contract asking contractors to verify if they had been engaged in collusive behaviour, including cover pricing.
Richard Laudy, partner in Pinsent Masons, said: “Local authorities will be suspicious of the sector for a while. When the market picks up, private developers will also start asking questions about cover pricing.”