Ofwat grants third waiver of procurement rules in a year for Thames Tideway

Ofwat has issued a third waiver of procurement rules in a year for Thames Tideway dis-applying regulations requiring the firm to conduct a competitive tender for services. The decision to grant Tideway its request for a waiver in relation to a software provider was, unlike the previous two waiver decisions, not put out for consultation.

The waiver applies to Microsoft project management software used by Tideway and its project manager CH2M, and computer aided design (CAD) software provided by Bentley Systems. Tideway argued, Ofwat said, that the particular Microsoft product was essential to its business and the regulator said: “We are satisfied that granting a waiver in these circumstances is appropriate and represents value for money for customers.”

It said Tideway had made “a convincing case that a competitive tender process will not represent value for money .”

Ofwat said it did not consult on its decision to waive “as we considered that there was a very clear case for the waivers and the issue of the waiver notice was unlikely to be contentious.”

Tideway argued that a procurement tender would not be good value for money in the case off the Bentley CAD software because the provider had been deeply involved in the development consent order holding more than 10,000 records which could be at risk of corruption were they to be migrated to a new provider. Also the main works contrite is using the same Bentley platform which streamlines collaboration according to Tideway.