Bromcom wins landmark case for fair and best practice in MIS procurement in education
– Judge find’s United Learning Trust acted unlawfully under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 by accepting part of the pricing model proposed by Arbor
Bromcom Computers PLC (Bromcom), a leader in cloud-based Management Information Systems for schools, has won a landmark High Court case that has important implications for the way in which public procurement contracts are tendered for and awarded. This judgment provides important legal clarifications that will help public bodies and bidders conduct better and fairer processes for the benefits of the education system. The outcome of this trial highlights that there are serious consequences for breaches of procurement law, even if unintentional. In this case, an unlawful discount and rebate should not have been taken into account to secure a tender.
In bringing this case, Bromcom wanted to highlight the need for fair and best practice in the procurement process for Management Information Systems (MIS) in the public education sector. Bromcom’s position has now been vindicated by the High Court which found that there were serious breaches of procurement law in the way the two competing tenders had been assessed from both a cost and quality perspective. Had these breaches not occurred, Bromcom would have won the contract to supply MIS to 57 State Academy schools within United Learning Trust over a three-year period.
Commenting on the landmark legal judgment, founder and Executive Chairman of Bromcom, Ali Guryel, said:
“Securing best practices in procurement that will ultimately benefit children’s education is something we value highly as a company. In a new era of Multi Educational Trusts and the move to more cloud-based computing across schools, we are confident our success in this legal action will lead to better outcomes for schools and their pupils in the future.
For a long time some 80% of schools have been locked in legacy non-cloud technology due to procurement gaps and the lack of a level playing field in the marketplace. To unlock schools, Bromcom has been a front-runner working over the last 10-15 years with various government bodies and resulting in investigations and reports with Becta, DfE and OFT and CMA’s recent investigations to address the market difficulties. However, very little changed and we made a very difficult decision to take legal action against a multi-academy trust (MAT) to drive the changes needed. I am delighted that Bromcom is clearly vindicated and believe a great deal of good will flow from this going forward.
The net effect of part of Arbor’s pricing has been to cause an erroneous discount to be applied to Arbor’s tender price leading to incorrect scoring of their tender. Arbor’s pricing led to a breach by UL of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 by accepting a discount under an existing contract. This unlawful act and other scoring breaches caused Bromcom to lose the contract awarded by UL.”
“The Judge said: Once the Price Scoring breaches are taken into account, then, on any view, in the counterfactual, Bromcom would have won the bid by a much more significant margin than it had lost by, originally.’”
In line with Bromcom’s motivation in bringing this case it has pledged to donate 50 per cent of any damages recovered, after accounting for costs and expenses, to education charities and awareness campaigns for best practice in public procurement, including fair competition and open systems.
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