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Consultants abandon reverse auction boycott


A THREATENED consultants' boycott of a reverse auction for £1bn of Transport for London work failed to happen this week.

As NCE went to press, consultants were breaking rank to cut their rates on the internet for 10 services, including project management, transport planning and environmental services.

TfL's reverse auction came under fi e from consultants last month for promoting lowest price ahead of quality (News 24/31 March).

Under the reverse auction rules consultants that have already submitted bids are pitted against each other and asked to re-submit a lower price.

Bids are submitted over the internet during timed bidding sessions, during which they can lower their prices. The lowest bid wins but each time a lower bid is submitted, the session is extended by 15 minutes.

Ten half hour auctions in six hours were due to be held on Tuesday but as NCE went to press, one bidder said that only two auctions had finished. This suggested that consultants were actively cutting their fees to win the work, extending the bid sessions in the process.

TfL defended the reverse auction as an 'opportunity to agree maximum fee rates so that TfL has surety and consistency in the cost of letting work'.

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