Sector News
Newswire Weekly – European Public Procurement Update

This is our weekly European public procurement news roundup. We will be bringing you recent public sector stories and information from around Europe’s news portals, reporting on how more than a trillion Euros of taxpayer money is being spent. This will become part of a future initiative to bring you more frequent, online reporting.

UK Councils Buying Back Homes at Inflated Prices

In the UK in the 1980s, under the Conservative government, a ‘Right-to-Buy’ policy was introduced that allowed council house tenants to buy their homes at a discount. Now, in the face of housing shortages, local authorities are buying back some of those homes, at a time when house prices have soared. The BBC has the full story, citing one example as: “One property in Islington in north London was sold for £17,600 in 2004 (at a discount of £26,400), and was bought back by the authority for £176,750 some 11 years later.”

Public procurement damages only available for “sufficiently serious” breaches

EnergySolutions EU Ltd (now ATK Energy) was unsuccessful in winning a contract with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the decision was deemed as being flawed with errors. See our post here. ATK brought a public procurement claim against the NDA seeking damages for alleged breaches of EU and UK procurement rules. Lexology now explains how ‘the UK Supreme Court has ruled on an appeal relating to the circumstances in which damages may be recoverable for failure to comply with the requirements of the EU and UK procurement rules. And that public procurement damages are only available for “sufficiently serious” breaches. “The impact of this ruling on the willingness of economic operators to bring similar actions for damages remains to be seen,” it says.

Suppliers on G-Cloud 9 results due to be announced 

UK Crown Commercial Service will inform successful suppliers waiting to hear about their inclusion on its G-Cloud 9 framework next Monday, May 8. CCS will work closely with public sector leaders group Socitm to ensure its procurement initiatives are effective for local government, explains Government Computing. G-Cloud 9 services are expected to be available in the Digital Marketplace from May 22. Socitm is looking for member local authority CIOs and heads of IT to be on a “steering board” which would work closely to make the CCS relationship work.

Italian airline will be put up for sale in two weeks

Italian airline Alitalia went into administration earlier this week after rejecting a €2 billion restructuring plan. Italy’s economic development minister said in a radio interview that the commissioners dealing with Alitalia’s administration “will be open to expressions of interest” for the airline within two weeks. He confirmed that the priority for the Italian government is to see the sale of the whole of the airline. The Italian government has also given Alitalia a loan of €600 million to keep the company running for six months. The full story is on Buying Business Travel.

Wales slammed for flawed spending of public money

The Welsh Government has been criticised on its delayed Circuit of Wales project and in its approach to investing public money. A £425 million racetrack has been in the planning stages since 2011, and in 2012 the Heads of the Valleys Development Company was handed a £2 million grant from the Welsh Government. “But a new report by the Wales Audit Office has said the Welsh Government’s appraisal of information it based its decision to make the grant on was “flawed” and monitoring of how the cash was used fell short,” explains South Wales Argus. Part of the money was spent on buying a motorbike firm.

Jersey’s loss of £1.4 million to startups

Senator Philip Ozouf has resigned, but Jersey Chief Minister says he is not responsible for the loss of up to £1.4 million of public money from the Jersey Innovation Fund. The Assistant Chief Minister was in charge of a controversial loans scheme, which lent money to start-up businesses that was never paid back. The Chief Minister says there was “… ‘confusion’ over which minister had ultimate legal responsibility for loan decisions.” More on this story on ITV News.

Sustainable Cities: Transformative Action Award 

Procurement of Innovation announces the opening of the Transformative Action Award, “which rewards initiatives which address the goals of the Basque Declaration including the use of public procurement to create productive, sustainable and resilient cities.” Initiatives that involve a high level of innovation that inspire others to replicate the action elsewhere in Europe are invited from local and regional authorities, and civil society organisations. More information here.

It also announces the publication of a new factsheet published by the InnProBio project which focuses on how procurement of bio-based products and services fit into the circular economy. The factsheet can be downloaded here.