Following an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), five regional contractors have recently been handed fines for breaches of competition law. The CMA has made clear that they believe that these practices are widespread within the industry, are found in several tiers of the supply chain and are occurring across the UK. They have several ongoing investigations and receive complaints of this nature regularly.
However, they have also noticed the apparent naivety of many of the firms and individuals involved. These firms and individuals appear not to be aware of the law and their obligations in relation to anti-competitive practices, or the severity of the punishments possible.
The CMA is thus trying to raise awareness within the construction sector about competition law and what constitutes unacceptable and punishable practice. It is important for those firms working within our sector to have robust and up to date anti-bribery and corruption policies.
We recommend that all companies conduct reviews of their anti-bribery and corruption policies in line with competition law, such as the Competition Act 1998, and to report any 'cartel' activity to the CMA for further investigation.
The government website features a comprehensive resource of advice regarding these laws.