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Procurement and Outsourcing Journal: May/June 2014

Victoria Redman explores the implications of state aid

At the end of January, the European Commission launched an in-depth investigation into the government’s plans to assist the construction and operation of Hinkley Point C and whether the contracts-for-difference regime complies with EU state aid rules. This was followed, in early March, by the release of a Treasury Committee report which considered evidence that energy investment deals were being distorted due to government attempts to reach carbon reduction targets. Evidence given to the committee was particularly critical of the commercial contract for Hinkley Point C’s development.

David Sawtell reviews the law of repudiation

Where a defaulting party is in repudiatory breach of an agreement, the injured party is not only entitled to damages but can also end the agreement immediately, ending its obligation to continue performance under it. The doctrine of repudiation is therefore a powerful tool against parties in serious breach of their obligations.

Matthew Hall examines the role of the CMA in controlling cartels

The European Commission grabs all the headlines for its uncompromising cartel fines, while the UK equivalent (the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), now replaced by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)), is often seen as a laggard in this area. However, the CMA does have teeth and is determined to show this. During 2013, as the OFT, it handed down two cartel fining decisions against a total of ten companies (Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles [2013] and Access Control and Alarm Systems [2013]) and moved forward several other investigations, including a new criminal cartel investigation against individuals.

Dr Sam De Silva considers the role of service credits

An outsourcing service provider should contract to provide services in accordance with certain service levels or SLAs. It is best practice that if the service provider fails to meet the required contractual service levels, it has a responsibility to pay compensation to the customer. This compensation is usually a sum agreed in advance and specified in the contract. The amount may have been calculated using one of the following approaches:

John Houlden and Brendan Ryan highlight how public authorities might rely on the new EU procurement regime prior to UK transposition

A new EU public procurement regime has entered into force but UK implementing legislation may take some time to enact. Does the new regime have any application in the meantime?

Lisa Kingston reports on the CIOB Complex Projects Contract 2013

In April 2013, after two years of drafting and consultations, the Chartered Institute of Building launched the CIOB Complex Projects Contract 2013 (CPC 2013). It is said to be the first contract that is specifically aimed at the good management of major national and international construction projects with a view to projects being delivered to specification, on budget and on time.

Dr Stuart Thomson discusses the rise and rise of social media in crisis communications

Crisis communication is increasingly focusing on social media, but too often the emphasis is on how fast something is posted instead of the content. It is necessary to draw breath before responding and not get too carried away with what is really just a communications tool. Social media may dominate thinking but it should not be allowed to control how an organisation responds to in a crisis.

RPC

Nick McMahon and Mamata Dutta outline a recent case on health and safety duties

No matter the size of the contracting exercise or the negotiated duties of the parties, a recent news story which raised smiles in some quarters has actually emphasised a serious point: no one in business should assume that health and safety duties do not apply to them.