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OFT FINES: BSF distanced from cover pricing

Partnerships for Schools has insisted that the £55 billion Building Schools for the Future programme “guards against” cover pricing and bid rigging.

The delivery body played down the impact of this morning’s Office of Fair Trading fines on its procurement processes.

The OFT fined 103 construction companies a total of £129.5 million after they were found to have colluded on building contracts.

The Office of Government Commerce then released guidance to clients recommending contractors found guilty of cover pricing were not automatically excluded from future tenders

But a PfS spokeswoman said: “Unlike single closed price tenders, the BSF model entails area wide procurement to deliver 21st Century learning environments that will help young people achieve their best.

“Using the rigorous competitive dialogue process, supported by central analysis of market prices, this approach guards against any anti-competitive behaviours to ensure best value for money from the public purse.”