The line-up of winners for the government's Technology Products framework looks set to be tweaked following an apparent legal challenge from an unsuccessful bidder.
The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) emailed the 33 provisional winners on Friday afternoon to inform them that it will issue new intention-to-award letters for the £4bn-£6bn framework by 5pm tomorrow.
The CCS said it was doing this to "ensure fairness to all bidders", "following consideration of the closeness of the bids received".
This raises the possibility that the legal challenge CCS revealed it received last week was from a party that narrowly missed the cut on one or more of the framework's four Lots. Despite the provisional winners list featuring a bevy of familiar channel names, one or two big players were notable by their absence.
In the email – seen by CRN – CCS stated: "As you are aware, the Crown Commercial Service received a legal challenge in respect of the contract award for the Technology Products procurement and there was an automatic stay placed on the contract award process. Following consideration of the closeness of the bids received, the Crown Commercial Service, using its judgement, is undertaking a review of the result of the procurement to ensure fairness to all bidders."
In an apparent typo, the CCS added that it would issue new intention-to-award letters and enter into a new standstill period by 5pm on "Tuesday 23 September 2104".
In the provisional list of winners, three of the four Lots featured the maximum number of suppliers as stipulated in CCS' original documentation. This includes Lots one and three – Technology Hardware and Packaged Software – which each had the maximum number of 15 winners.
The only Lot with breathing space is Lot four – User Devices – which featured only 10 provisional winners, five short of the maximum. This Lot features manufacturers and not resellers.
Technology Products, a successor to the outgoing CITHS framework, was originally set to go live on 15 September, two weeks after the signing of framework agreements was meant to occur.
Some 76 suppliers submitted tenders for the framework in total, with 69 reaching the award stage evaluation.
CCS claims it captures more than a quarter of the £1.3bn UK public sector clients spend on commodity IT products annually.
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