Competition – press release

Procurement tips to boost competition and the Northern Ireland economy

Public sector buyers and suppliers have signed up for workshops on ensuring that competition for government contracts benefits the economy.

Government contracts account for over £2.5 billion of public expenditure in Northern Ireland every year and the seminars led by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on 5 June will help buyers and suppliers understand how competition law works for taxpayers and consumers.

John Kirkpatrick, CMA Senior Director Research, Intelligence and Advocacy, said:

Fair competition in public procurement benefits good businesses and secures value for money for taxpayers. By contrast bid-rigging, market sharing and other illegal cartel behaviour raises prices for taxpayers and distorts the market.

So it is important that buyers understand how to detect and prevent cartels, and that suppliers comply with the law. Sanctions for cartel behaviour can include substantial fines, disqualification from holding directorships and even prison sentences.

The CMA is keen to support everyone involved in public procurement processes to ensure that they work within the law and secure the benefits of competition.

The morning session will be attended by buyers who cover areas such as health services, transport and local government. Advice will include a checklist of preventative actions procurers can take including non-collusion clauses, requesting the disclosure of subcontractors and sharing intelligence with other public sector procurers.

The afternoon session will be for large businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from sectors including health, catering, construction and the voluntary/community sector.

Notes for editors

  1. The CMA is the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority. It is an independent non-ministerial government department with responsibility for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries and enforcing competition and consumer law. From 1 April 2014 it took over the functions of the Competition Commission and the competition and certain consumer functions of the Office of Fair Trading, as amended by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013.
  2. See our guidance on cartel activity and how to identify it.
  3. See our guidance on how your business can achieve compliance with competition law.
  4. See our guidance for public bodies and competition law.
  5. For more information on the CMA see our homepage, or follow us on Twitter @CMAgovuk, Flickr and LinkedIn.
  6. Enquiries should be directed to Simon Belgard (, 020 3738 6472).