Contracting authorities need to 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 economic operators.
The concept of 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.
The conflicts of interest regulations apply to staff members of the contracting authority and any staff members of any third party the contracting authority may have engaged to assist in the procurement procedure.
It is therefore recommended that a Conflicts of Interest Declaration Form be used in any procurement requiring both the bidders to declare any perceived or actual conflicts of interest and for each member of the contracting authorities staff that is involved in the procurement to also declare such perceived or actual conflicts of interest.
Furthermore, when running procurement processes involving incumbent suppliers it may be prudent to take measures to ensure no perceived or actual conflict of interest could arise from the involvement of the contracting authorities contract managers in the procurement process. The contract manager from the very nature of their work on the contract will have a relationship with the incumbent, which could be good or bad and could leave rise to claims of perceived conflicts from unsuccessful bidders. It may be wise to ensure the contract manager is not part of the evaluation process, or if there is no choice but to include them due to their expertise etc, you should take ‘special measures’ to avoid conflict such as non disclosure of bidders names to the evaluation panel.
Further guidance on managing conflicts of interest and example declaration forms can be found: