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Shocking errors on OJEU, study reveals

Half of notices placed on OJEU contain errors that could prompt a legal challenge, a study by Achilles has revealed.

Achilles’ EU services team looked at a random sample of OJEU notices submitted by a range of public sector and utility organisations, including local authorities, NHS trusts, and utility companies. Among the findings were:

• 50% of notices did not apply minimum timescales or expected tenderers, as set out in EU regulations, which could leave a buyer open to legal challenge

• 20% of notices were sent under the wrong categorisation, for example confusing services with supplies. This could also leave a buyer open to legal challenge

• 15% of organisations failed to specify that they require responses to be in English, which means they are then obliged to assess responses in any recognised EU language

• 20% of notices were completed incorrectly, in respect of providing options for the valuation or duration fields 

Glenn Fletcher, director of EU Procurement from Achilles, said: "Our latest research suggests that due to the complexity of EU regulations, there is still a level of misunderstanding about OJEU notices. Getting this wrong could lead to lengthy court challenges, legal costs and damages, wasted time and potentially contracts being set-aside, deemed ineffective or suspended.

"With budgets being tightly squeezed and suppliers competing for fewer contracts, we are already seeing a rise in challenges. Buyers must be absolutely vigilant in adhering to EU rules."

The European Commission is seeking to streamline, simplify and modernise procurement directives. The aim is to promote innovation, improve carbon efficiencies and support small firms while ensuring European markets are kept open. 

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