The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has made it easier for tendering services to give notification of irregularities which they observe in relation to tenders.
For this purpose, NMa has developed a notification form with accompanying notes which the party issuing the tender may use to determine whether it is possibly dealing with cartel agreements in relation to the tender procedure. Competition between the various suppliers may be obstructed by agreements in relation to the tender procedure, price agreements and market distribution agreements.
In accordance with the Competition Act, NMa is authorised to take action in the event of prohibited agreements that restrain competition. In carrying out its investigations, NMa makes use, for instance, of signals from the market. It is therefore important that tendering services notify NMa of signs of prohibited practices and, in doing so, provide certain information. A notification may be a reason for NMa to investigate the matter in question or may form part of the evidence in other cases. In addition, NMa, of course, also carries out investigations of its own accord.
All the ministries and lower levels of government will be informed of the notification procedure. The form is obtainable from NMaÂ's website (www.nma-org.nl) and can be ordered through the website or NMaÂ's Information Line (0800-0231885 or email@example.com). The form implements the CabinetÂ's wish to instruct tendering services to give notification of irregularities in relation to tenders. Although the form has been designed for the tendering services of public authorities, it may also be of use to private contractors. This is part of a series of activities which NMa is undertaking to investigate infringements of the prohibition on cartels in the construction sector and to promote competition. NMa has set up the Construction Industry Task Force to investigate infringements of the Competition Act in the construction industry.