(2) which competition rules which apply to mainstream employers apply to (a) Remploy and (b) other sheltered employment agencies;
(3) what public procurement rules apply to the awarding of contracts by (a) Government and (b) local government departments and agencies on (i) favourable and (ii) protected terms to (A) Remploy and (B) other sheltered employment agencies.
The Public Contracts Regulations apply to all procurement exercises for goods and services by Government with a contract value of over £93,738, and to local government exercises with a contract value of over £144,371.
These Regulations allow contracting authorities to “Reserve” contracts for supported factories and businesses. This means that only organisations where more than 50 per cent. of the workers are disabled persons, who by reason of disability are unable to take up work in the open labour market, can bid for this work. Any employer or supported employment programme meeting the 50 per cent. disabled employees criteria can bid for reserved contracts.
There is also a scheme “Special Contract Arrangements” for contracts below these threshold values. Under this scheme, contracting authorities are allowed to “offer back” work to supported employers, whose tender is unacceptable on price alone, to give them the opportunity to match the best offer received.