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Thanet District Council (20 010 143)

Category : Other Categories > Commercial and contracts

Decision : Not upheld

Decision date : 11 May 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Mr C complains the Council failed to correctly assess his bid for a consultancy services contract. The Ombudsman has discontinued the investigation because the outcome sought by Mr C is not achievable.

The complaint

  1. The complainant (whom I refer to as Mr C) says the Council’s assessment of his bid for a contract was flawed and he questions the scores awarded by the Council.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we believe we cannot achieve the outcome someone wants. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered the information provided by Mr C.
  2. I shared my draft decision with both parties.

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What I found

  1. Mr C submitted a tender for a specialist consultancy service contract with the Council in 2020. The Council awarded the contract to another company. Mr C challenged the decision and said the moderation had been incorrectly followed. He complained to the Council. The Council did not accept the decision was wrong.
  2. Mr C is seeking financial redress for the cost of submitting his tender and lost profits had he been awarded the contract. Neither of those remedies are ones we can seek in this case. Mr C would have been aware of the risks when incurring costs to submit his bid for the contract. There was no guarantee he would be successful. In respect of the lost profits, Mr C questions the scores given by the Council and says he should have been marked higher. The Ombudsman cannot reassess the bids and say that Mr C would have been successful. That is not our role. As such it is also not possible to say with any certainty that Mr C lost potential profits which should be reimbursed. Given the outcomes sought by Mr C are not possible I am going to discontinue the investigation.

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Final decision

  1. I have discontinued the investigation.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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