The TCC has refused an application by Lancashire County Council to lift the suspension of a procurement relating to Children’s Services in Lancashire. The procurement is challenged by two local NHS Trusts – Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – who are the incumbent providers of the services. The contract has been awarded to Virgin Care Services Limited.
The judgment is notable in a number of respects:
- The Court held that the constraint on the availability of damages to a “sufficiently serious breach” was a factor which could be taken into account in deciding whether to lift the suspension.
- The Court held that damages were not an adequate remedy for the claimants given that the loss of the contract would require them to restructure their operations and would affect the way in which they provided other public services
- The Court rejected an argument that the Court should lift the suspension because a contract extension would be illegal
- The Court made observations confirming that contracting authorities should not unreasonably resist applications for specific disclosure of core evaluation and bid material
The Court ordered an expedited trial of the claim in April 2018.