Legal challenge to decision to award British passport contract to continental firm

#1
The company that makes the current EU-style British passport is to take the Government to court over its decision to award the post-Brexit contract to a Franco-Dutch firm.

Passports issued after the UK leaves the European Union will be blue and gold rather than the EU burgundy colour.

skynews-uk-passport-old-and-new_4189497.jpg


Basingstoke-based manufacturer De La Rue, which makes the current document, admits its bid is higher than its continental rival, but insists its product is the "highest quality and technically most secure" option.

Ministers say awarding the contract to Gemalto will save taxpayers around £120 million.

:: UK passport firm demands an explanation

A De La Rue spokesman said: "We confirm that we are taking the first steps towards initiating appeal proceedings against the provisional decision to award the British passport contract to a part state-owned Franco-Dutch company.

"Based on our knowledge of the market, it's our view that ours was the highest quality and technically most secure bid.

We can accept that we weren't the cheapest, even if our tender represented a significant discount on the current
price.

"It has also been suggested that the winning bid was well below our cost price, which causes us to question how sustainable it is.

"In the light of this, we are confident that we remain the best and securest option in the national interest."
 
#2
If savings of £120m wasn't a good enough excuse I don't know what was? All they had to do was find a way to cut the cost in some clever ways and I'm sure their are many...
 
#3
Smoke and mirrors.

They weren't competitive enough, and whilst the company that won the tender may be Franco/Dutch owned, they are creating 80 jobs in Fareham, whilst saving the British taxpayer £120m.

De La Rue are hoping to get a groundswell of support from the unthinking classes in order to gouge money.

Having said that, I've no problem with the winning bid being scrutinised, and should it appear to be above board, all costs be paid by De La Rue. Can't say fairer than that?
 
#4
Smoke and mirrors.

They weren't competitive enough, and whilst the company that won the tender may be Franco/Dutch owned, they are creating 80 jobs in Fareham, whilst saving the British taxpayer £120m.

De La Rue are hoping to get a groundswell of support from the unthinking classes in order to gouge money.

Having said that, I've no problem with the winning bid being scrutinised, and should it appear to be above board, all costs be paid by De La Rue. Can't say fairer than that?
"Basingstoke-based manufacturer De La Rue, which makes the current document, admits its bid is higher than its continental rival, but insists its product is the "highest quality and technically most secure" option."

I'm guessing Gemalto will be saying the same thing as well, I'm also guessing they will have a history of contracts for secure documentation in the past (thats without looking)
 
#7
So Brexit means we can trade internationally except for passports which we can only buy here for 'reasons' despitw plenty of other countries making passports internationally.

I suspect De LaRue are more concerned their price goudging has been rumbled and other govts will follow suit.
 
#8
De la rue were founded in Guernsey I believe, so very nearly French.

I’m interested to see how this plays out - presumably the basis of their challenge is.m through the Remedies Directive of the Public Contracts Regulations - so one assumes they believe that they have been treated unfairly. That being the case they would have to prove that either the evaluation criteria, or the actual evaluation itself was biased against them. I sincerely doubt this is true.

Questioning the financial sustainability of Gemalto’s bid is smart - in the post-Carillion environment Cabinet Office are swarming over anything that looks like loss-making business. That said, it’s a decision for bidders as to how much margin they need to make on a deal like this.

I would be very surprised if this goes very far...
 
#10
De la rue were founded in Guernsey I believe, so very nearly French.

I’m interested to see how this plays out - presumably the basis of their challenge is.m through the Remedies Directive of the Public Contracts Regulations - so one assumes they believe that they have been treated unfairly. That being the case they would have to prove that either the evaluation criteria, or the actual evaluation itself was biased against them. I sincerely doubt this is true.

Questioning the financial sustainability of Gemalto’s bid is smart - in the post-Carillion environment Cabinet Office are swarming over anything that looks like loss-making business. That said, it’s a decision for bidders as to how much margin they need to make on a deal like this.

I would be very surprised if this goes very far...
Never heard of that Public Contracts Regulations... Might have to give me a look
 
#14
Never heard of that Public Contracts Regulations... Might have to give me a look

Interesting. According to one advice site I looked at, usually the first time a company maybe aware that they may wish to challenge is on receipt of the contract award notice (or Standstill Letter) advising that they have been unsuccessful. However, the time limits for challenge start to run from whenever they became aware of the issue so if their concern is, for example, a change of criteria or an unclear instruction in the ITT they should challenge that immediately and not wait to find out if they have been successful or not. The Standstill period will end usually at the midnight at the end of the 10th day after the date on which the last bidder receives notice. The competing firms were notified of the contract award on the 21st March, so De La Rue may be cutting it a bit fine with their challenge.
 
#15
Interesting. According to one advice site I looked at, usually the first time a company maybe aware that they may wish to challenge is on receipt of the contract award notice (or Standstill Letter) advising that they have been unsuccessful. However, the time limits for challenge start to run from whenever they became aware of the issue so if their concern is, for example, a change of criteria or an unclear instruction in the ITT they should challenge that immediately and not wait to find out if they have been successful or not. The Standstill period will end usually at the midnight at the end of the 10th day after the date on which the last bidder receives notice. The competing firms were notified of the contract award on the 21st March, so De La Rue may be cutting it a bit fine with their challenge.
It will give them something else to moan about.
 
#16
Also from the BBC report: "The Home Office issues more than six million passports annually and is the only provider of passports to British citizens."

Is this statement correct? My current passport was issued by The FCO - Stuttgart (albeit eight years ago).
 
#18
How can a bid be more "technically compliant" against the contracted requirement?

It may be better, so what? We need a Mondeo, not a £120m Rolls Royce.
 
#19
Of course it is? Didn't you know the SA80 despite being designed by H&K was produced here too at the Royal Small Arms Factory Enfield?
There are certain exemptions regarding contracts that are in the Strategic Interest of the Nation.

The L85A1 contract was one of those - whether you agree with the contract/product or reasons for that or not!
 
#20
There are certain exemptions regarding contracts that are in the Strategic Interest of the Nation.

The L85A1 contract was one of those - whether you agree with the contract/product or reasons for that or not!
Yup. Exemptions from the PCR for National Security (quite seldom used, and even then only applied to remove the open rendering requirement of OJEU); in house tenders (the ‘teckal’ exemption); and collaborative tendering between public bodies (the ‘Hamburg’ exemption).

Getting a national security exemption in the UK is a non-trivial exercise that will very likely be taken by a minister or perm sec.

Home Office are on a very solid footing on this one: this isn’t another botched procurement like the NDA or HS2. This is an upset bidder with some short term political support.
 

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