The issue of suppliers rigging public sector bids has been raised as a concern by government agency Crown Commercial Service (CCS).
Bid rigging is where suppliers create the illusion of competition while secretly agreeing which of them will win a tender, a video created by the government agency warns.
In conjunction with the Competition and Markets Authority, CCS has also created a 40-minute e-learning module aimed at helping public sector buyers understand why bid rigging is harmful, learn how to spot the signs that suggest a bid may be illegal, deal with suspect bids and know where to go for help.
The video gives the example of three suppliers who bid £1m, £1.2m and £1.4m on a contract for which they would all have bid £800,000 if they were not in cahoots.
The practice "wastes taxpayer money by driving up the price of contracts for schools, hospitals and other public services", according to CCS.
The warning came as CCS revealed in its Annual Business Plan that it will increase its levies on suppliers due to an impending shift in its funding model.
The current system, where CCS charges government departments a managed service fee, will be phased out and instead, CCS will use supplier levy income to fund its operating costs.
In its fiscal 2015/16, supplier levies brought in £49.1m of CCS' £67.6m income, with department managed service fees contributing £15.5m. This year, CCS expects supplier levy income to rise to £58.7m and managed service fees to fall to £11.4m.
"We will start introducing marginally increased percentage levies," said CCS, which oversees frameworks including G-Cloud and Technology Products.
CCS said it is aiming to assist government departments in saving £240m to £330m in its current fiscal year.
"CCS will continue to lead on the government's commercial policy and other ministerial priorities, including co-ordinating action to increase the level of government spend going to SMEs to £1 in every £3 by 2020, simplifying CCS procedures to further benefit small business," it added.
Kate Craig-Wood, chief executive of government supplier Memset welcomed the prospect of CCS spending more money to police bid rigging.
"That's exactly what they should be doing," she said. "They should be spending more G-Cloud money on buyer education and enforcement of central mandates (cloud first, open standards, etc) too of course and there is little evidence of that (not sure who owns those elements... which might be the problem!)."
But Craig-Wood had a mixed reaction to the prospect of supplier levies being hiked, at least for G-Cloud, a framework she forcefully criticised last month.
"G-Cloud is, in theory, like a channel partner for us," she said. "Therefore they are (in theory again) saving us sales and marketing expenses. As such we can afford to give them a proportion of the revenues that come via that channel which we would otherwise have spent on getting in the deals. Of course, as per my blog post, the Digital Marketplace is not functioning like a channel partner indeed we appear to have to spend more effort to acquire business through G-Cloud than to acquire private sector business."
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