Conflicts of interest under Reg. 24 Public Contracts Regulations 2015

Reg.24 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR2015) establishes specific rules on conflicts of interest that follow closely those of Article 24 of Directive 2014/24, although it alters its structure and reorders its content. 

Under these rules, contracting authorities shall take appropriate measures to effectively prevent, identify and remedy conflicts of interest arising in the conduct of procurement procedures so as to avoid any distortion of competition and to ensure equal treatment of all economic operators [reg.24(1) PCR2015]. 

Moreover, a minimum definition of conflicts of interest is provided, so that "conflicts of interest" shall at least cover any situation where relevant staff members have, directly or indirectly, a financial, economic or other personal interest which might be perceived to compromise their impartiality and independence in the context of the procurement procedure [reg.24(2) PCR2015]. Those relevant members of staff are further defined to include members of the contracting authority, or of a procurement service provider acting on behalf of the contracting authority, who are involved in the conduct of the procurement procedure or may influence the outcome of that procedure [reg.24(3) PCR2015].

Quite conveniently, the CJEU decided last week the case eVigilo [C-538/13, EU:C:2015:166] on the treatment of conflicts of interest in public procurement, which gave me the opportunity to express my views on this topic. They are available here. See Pedro's further comments here.