According to the Swedish Competition Authority, Arbetsförmedlingen violated the procurement regulations when purchasing IT consultancy services. Existing contracts have been extended without publication of a contract notice. The renewed contracts are therefore illegal directly awarded contracts.
The Swedish Competition Authority is going to court with the demand that a procurement fine of SEK 240,000 be imposed on Arbetsförmedlingen. Arbetsförmedlingen has extended contracts without conducting procurement processes in accordance with the regulations. The services that have been purchased are two different types of IT consultancy service, namely requirements coordinator and systems developer/systems architect.
"Illegal direct awarding of contracts is a serious violation of the procurement regulations," says the Competition Authority’s Director-General, Dan Sjöblom.
"If the procurement process is not opened up to competition, other potential suppliers are excluded from submitting tenders. An open publication of contract notice increases the likelihood that the best and most advantageous contract is signed."
Arbetsförmedlingen has suggested that the contracts in question should be exempted from the requirement of publishing of a contract notice, referring to the need to implement the IT projects quickly and continually and suggesting that the existing consultants could not be replaced. The Swedish Competition Authority points out that such exemption may only be used in cases of absolutely essential requirements that could not be foreseen and projects that can only be implemented by one specific supplier. In this case, the contracts with these consultants have been extended several times and the Swedish Competition Authority is of the opinion that none of the exemptions in the legislation are applicable.
The Swedish Competition Authority is now turning to the Administrative Court in Stockholm with the demand that a procurement fine totalling SEK 240 000 be imposed on Arbetsförmedlingen.
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