The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has recently published the findings of research it commissioned to examine UK businesses’ understanding of competition law.  The aim of the research was to gauge businesses’ awareness of competition law, their understanding of anti-competitive behaviours and the resulting penalties, businesses’ preferred sources of information about compliance, and the awareness of the CMA and what it does.

A link to the report can be found here.  Some of the key findings of the report include:

  • Indicators and risks of anti-competitive behaviour: 73 percent of businesses monitor prices of competitors.  Price monitoring is most likely by large businesses and in the agricultural, wholesale, retail and transportation sectors.  Remarkably 7 percent of businesses interviewed stated that they contacted their competitors directly to find out their prices.
  • Awareness of competition law: business respondents expressed a greater concern with compliance with other regulations (such as health and safety law and employment law).  This perhaps explains the low understanding of the illegality of the following: resale price maintenance (29 percent), market-sharing (40 percent), and price-fixing (55 percent).
  • Awareness and understanding of CMA and its role: only 10 percent of businesses reported seeking information on competition law (rising to 52 percent for larger businesses).  The Internet was cited as the largest source of information.  Interestingly, 57 percent of businesses had not heard of the CMA (39 percent amongst large businesses) and only 2 percent felt they knew the CMA well.

Continue Reading UK Businesses’ Understanding of Competition Law

The new Public Sector Directive 2014/24 (the New Public Sector Directive) on public procurement entered into force on 17 April 2014. This replaces Directive 2004/18. The New Public Sector Directive is accompanied by two other new directives, those for utilities and concession contracts respectively. Member States have two years to implement the New Public Sector Directive into national law. However, the UK government believes there are efficiencies to be gained for the national economy by its early implementation. To this end the Cabinet Office has recently published for consultation a draft version of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (the Draft Regulations). Whilst the government is keen to encourage dialogue regarding the Draft Regulations, it also points out that the vast majority of the content of the Regulations must be included in accordance with the New Public Sector Directive. As such, the consultation will not result in any dramatic changes to the Draft Regulations. The Cabinet Office has also stated that it has adopted a “copy out” approach in line with the Coalition’s policy of avoiding “gold plating” legislation wherever possible.
Continue Reading Consultation on the New Public Sector Regulations