A court injunction issued this week against a council who awarded a job to an “abnormally low” bidder could pave the way for further challenges to so-called suicide bids
Morrison Facilities Services took legal action after losing out on a housing maintenance contract for Norwich council to a £17.5m bid from Connaught, having submitted a value of £23m.
Hearing the case this week, Mr Justice Arnold said Morrison had a “seriously arguable” case that the bid was not evaluated properly, and stopped the contract from being awarded.
Lawyers said this ruling could lead to other contractors taking action against successful public sector bids much lower than their own.
Lindy Patterson, partner in law firm Dundas Wilson, said: “In this climate, and with low bids going in, everyone will be looking at why they lost out. We will definitely see more of this.”
Simon Lewis, partner at Dickinson Dees, added that it was also a serious warning for public sector clients to evaluate bids properly. “It is a reminder to authorities that they must observe the principle of the ‘level playing field’ when assessing tenders and treat all tenderers fairly.”
The dispute is set to be resolved this summer.