CMA launches tool to stop cartels profiting from public cash

18 Dec 17

A tool to held public procurers spot price fixing and bid rigging has been launched by the Competition & Markets Authority.

The CMA’s Screening for Cartels tool uses algorithms to spot unusual bidder behaviour and pricing patterns that could indicate bid rigging.

Bid rigging is illegal and occurs when suppliers form a cartel and agree between themselves prices they will bid when quoting for contracts rather than competing fairly. It can result in the public sector overpaying for goods and services.

John Kirkpatrick, senior director of advocacy at the CMA, said: “Bid-rigging in the public sector can cost taxpayers many millions of pounds.

“Companies disguise their bids so that they look like they’re genuinely competing, when in fact they are colluding with each other to take advantage of the public purse.”

The tool is free and is available to download on GitHub. The CMA said it had high-level assurance from the Government Digital Service – “so we’re confident it works well”.

  • Vivienne Russell
    Vivienne Russell is managing editor of Public Finance magazine and

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