We will watch closely how this develops but it is important to remember that non-public sector CPOs can be caught by public procurement directives if they are spending money provided by the public sector.
Questions which will be worth hearing the answers to include:
- The basis of the challenge?
- What will be the basis of the GAA defence?
- What were the credentials of those who advised the GAA on the procurement approach?
- Did the challengers object to the GAA regarding the procurement process? If they did, when did they object and what response did they receive?
- Was the procurement Regulated?
- If the procurement was not Regulated, what will the basis of challenge?
- Did the GAA recognise the procurement as potentially a Regulated procurement?
- What is the GAA's approach to procurement in general?
- Did the GAA adhere to their own procurement rules, regardless of whether or not the Regulations apply?
- Did the NI Executive, the funders, make the GAA aware that the Regulations would apply?
- Did the NI Executive provide any procurement advice/guidance in the procurement process?
- Did the NI Executive sign-off the procurement approach? if they did, was it adhered to?
- Was there a duty on the NI Executive to make the GAA aware that the Regulations would apply?
- Were the challengers unlawfully disqualified from the competition? If so, in what way?
- If the court rules the challengers were unlawfully disqualified from the process, will they be reintroduced to the process?
- If the challengers are reintroduced into the process, and they subsequently are successful in winning the contract, what additional benefits for the public purse will have been gained which would otherwise have been lost?
- If the court rules in favour of the challengers, will the NI Executive carry out its own inquiry into what has gone wrong?
- If the court rules in favour of the challengers, what will be the cost of the mistake to the public purse?
- If the court rules in favour of the challengers, will someone in the NI Executive be held accountable?
- Did LOCOG's procurement approach to the Regulations provide a relevant precedent?
We live and learn, hopefully.