OFT takes steps to reassure accused firms they won’t be cut out of public sector projects

The OFT has moved to dampen fears that firms implicated by its statement of objections will be immediately blacklisted by the public sector as a result.

It has taken the unusual step of releasing an “information note” for local authorities and other procurers, making it clear that no assumption should yet be made as to whether or not companies have infringed competition law.

It says: “The SO sets out formal allegations and evidence, to which the addressees now have an opportunity to respond. The OFT’s final decision, which is likely to be published next year, will set out the OFT’s final conclusions as to whether there has been a breach of competition law in each particular instance.”

However, it adds: “It is a matter for individual procurers to consider what action, if any, they should take in their own particular circumstances.”