When I was working in customer services for Tenders Direct I was always getting asked about the loophole that is Part B Services. Whispers of a tender due to come out any day now, companies waiting patiently and BANG, before they know it, the Tender has been awarded to John Doe Ltd down the road. How does this happen, where was the tender published and why do some tenders disappear into a black hole of EU Laws?!
According to the EU, Part B Services are a group of services that that will only be of interest to the member state, therefore it is not necessary to advertise in the OJEU, however must be adequately advertised nationally. Adequately, such a lovely vague word, what is perhaps adequate to some, is not to others. I feel it is the smart choice to always advertise in the OJEU as it ensures fair spending of public money, and some Authorities do choose this route. If the tender is advertised in the OJEU, the rules and regulations can be slightly more relaxed than other tenders. Authorities must, however, publish a contract award if the value is above £156,442. Here is the list of Part B Services.
- Hotel and restaurant services
- Rail transport services
- Water transport services
- Supporting and auxiliary transport service
- Legal services
- Personnel placement and supply services (Except employment contracts)
- Investigation and security services, except armoured car service
- Education and vocational education service
- Health and social services
- Recreational, cultural and sporting service
- Other services (Except contracts for the acquisition, development, production or co-production of programmes by broadcasting organisations and contracts for broadcasting time)
These black hole tenders are not the only exceptions, there are other exceptions as well. Research and development services, some telecommunications services, some water, energy, transport and postal services, secret contracts and contracts requiring special security measures to name a few. I can understand where the exclusions are useful, for example you would not expect someone in a far off land in Europe dealing with the Public Sectors legal services, as the legal system differs from country to county. And I certainly understand the secret contracts, you wouldn’t want our enemies just Googling what it is we up up to in the UK and then making a Facebook page or contacting The Sun…
But these pesky Part B services, where do you find them if they are not in the OJEU? These Tenders can usually be found in local press, websites, trade mags, etc…Luckily for you, Tenders Direct have a dedicated team who’s sole purpose is to source Part B tenders, low value tenders and other tenders under exclusions.
We have seen a few adequately Part B services sneak through the cracks, however, if you ever feel that a tender was not adequately advertised you can challenge it!