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Police: Northern Ireland

Volume 714: debated on Wednesday 4 November 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether European legislation allows firms with paramilitary links to undertake contracts within police stations in Northern Ireland and hindering that process would result in court proceedings, as suggested by Sir Hugh Orde in the Sunday World on 26 July. [HL5578]

European directives on public procurement are implemented through the Public Contracts Regulations 2006. Part 4 of these regulations deals specifically with the criteria for rejection of economic operators and the circumstances where a contracting authority (public body) can reject economic operators who have put forward application for the provision of goods, services or works to a public body.

The regulation sets out the offences that if committed by an economic operator or its directors or any other person who has powers of representation, decision or control may give a contracting authority (public body) grounds to treat that economic operator as ineligible for selection to provide goods, services or works to a public body. The regulation as stated deals with convictions for certain criminal offences but does not extend to cover paramilitary links.

A dissatisfied tenderer has the right to challenge a contracting authority either in the High Court or they can complain about the contracting authority to the European Commission (EC). The EC has the power to investigate and, if satisfied that a breach has occurred, may require the contracting authority to remedy that breach.