Procurement and state aid

Whether you are a 'contracting authority' for the purpose of the UK Regulations and EU Directives or a contractor seeking to compete for the award of a contract in the public or regulated utility sectors, you need to understand the nature and extent of the procurement rules, their application and the procedures to be observed.

The Regulations are a starting point, as increasing case law (both from the UK and EU) is extending the obligations of contracting authorities operating in the public sector, reminding all of the over arching Treaty duties of transparency and non-discriminatory treatment and leading to procurement issues becoming a significant consideration in joint venture structures, development agreements and planning agreements.

Contractors are also becoming increasingly prepared to challenge procurement decisions. Both those procuring and bidding need to be alive to the danger and opportunities of challenge, time limits that apply and the impact of the Remedies Directive upon the UK Regulations. Duties of disclosure of information and the interrelationship of the Regulations with the Freedom of Information Act all need to be considered as part of the potential for challenge.

Our lawyers can also support you in determining whether your proposed arrangements infringe State Aid rules, whether 'market investor principle' considerations apply or the circumstances fit any of the grounds permitted under a block exemption.

Recent advice has involved analysis of tax reliefs and direct financial assistance from Government bodies in the housing, energy, technology and R+D sectors

Our approach

While compliance is critical, procurement strategies need to be developed that allow you appropriate flexibility and to achieve your objectives. We can help you to structure your arrangements accordingly, providing pragmatic and commercial advice.

Our work and our clients

Our lawyers can support you throughout the procurement process whether you are a contracting authority or a potential bidder. We can advise on procurement strategies, prepare the full suite of procurement documentation, develop evaluation models, contribute to audit trails and advise on disclosure obligations and challenge. We advise on simple single contract procurements through to frameworks and the establishment of central purchasing bodies under the UK Regulations. We also advise on available exemptions, including awards to in-house companies (Teckal) and the complex area of the application of the rules to land and development agreements.

Our clients include those in the Local Government, Health and Education sectors as well as an RDA, a number of RSLs and other publicly funded institutions. We also act for those in the technology and R&D sector and property and construction industry.

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Key Contacts

  • Erika Clarke Erika ClarkeLegal Director
    +44 (0)1603 756525
  • Sara Sayer Sara SayerSenior Associate, Solicitor-Advocate, Head of Charities and Social Enterprise Team
    +44 (0)1223 326763