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Procuring Security

“We did not bid to be included in the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee’s security framework”. According to media reports, that was the reaction of a G4S spokesman to the news that it was one of 19 companies selected for that framework. In public procurement legislation, appointments to a “framework” are the outcome of a particular kind of competitive procurement process. The aim of the process is not to award a contract right away but to appoint several providers so that when the services are needed the actual provider can be selected by a pre-ordained second step. The second step may involve a mini-competition among the framework members or, where the process has not left the pricing unsettled, some other objective method.
Under public procurement (including framework procurement) law as it stands today, the procurement of security services, including services like patrolling, is not excluded altogether from procurement law; but, crucially, it does not have to be advertised until after the appointments have been made. No prior competitive process is required, no “bid”, just an official Notice of the award. 
But the law is going to change. The Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill, if passed in its present form, would have the effect of bringing most security-related procurements (including framework appointments) under a full compliance regime. Scotland will have its own threshold, which at present looks set to be £50,000 for all services. This will exist alongside the EU thresholds (including a special €750,000 (£620,000) threshold for certain specified services, including security services.  EU-regulated procurements will also have to comply with the Scottish legislation, so far as it is compatible with EU law.
Next time Scotland hosts the Games, the procurement will be different.

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