The Swedish Prison and Probation Service violated procurement rules when the authority purchased urine test strips. The Swedish Competition Authority is now applying before the Swedish Administrative Court to require the Swedish Prison and Probation Service to pay a procurement fine of SEK 230,000 for carrying out an illegal direct award.
Since the 1990s, the Swedish Prison and Probation Service has been using urine test strips to check for the presence of drugs in urine. The authority lacks a common policy on when test strips may be used, and those parts of the authority that have considered themselves to be in need of test strips have made purchases on their own, directly to their respective part of the organisation.
At the beginning of 2019, the Purchasing Unit of the Swedish Prison and Probation Service noted that contracts regarding test strips had been directly awarded, and in March 2020 the Swedish Prison and Probation Service decided to carry out a central procurement of test materials. A central procurement has yet to be announced and the authority has continued in 2020 to procure test strips without advertising its requirements.
The Swedish Competition Authority’s application for a procurement fine cites an order for urine test strips that was made in December 2019. The value of the contract amounts to just over SEK 2.9 million. According to the Swedish Competition Authority, the order constitutes an illegal direct award.
“Illegal direct awards eliminate competition, thus risking to leading to more expensive purchases. It is important not to allow internal discussions about a purchasing arrangement to stand in the way of a properly executed procurement,” says Rikard Jermsten, Director General of the Swedish Competition Authority.
The Swedish Competition Authority is now turning to the Administrative Court in Linköping and asking that the Swedish Prison and Probation Service be ordered to pay a procurement fine of SEK 230,000.
For further information, please contact:
Marie Strömberg Lindvall, Communications Officer, +46 (0)76 542 15 92, email@example.com
Anna Görgård, Legal Counsel, +46 (0)8 700 1 667, firstname.lastname@example.org