UKAD is an active participant in the global fight against doping in sport and is the national body responsible for creating a UK-wide environment of confidence in clean sport. In the UK, UKAD ensures that sports bodies comply with the World Anti-Doping Code through implementation and management of the UK’s National Anti-Doping Policy.
A significant part of ensuring such compliance is the implementation of a robust testing regime. Since 2009, UKAD has outsourced its blood and urine testing requirements in respect of professional athletes to the King’s College London Drug Control Centre (DCC), the only laboratory in the UK which holds a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accreditation. This arrangement is due to expire in March 2021 and therefore UKAD wishes to finalise its arrangements in respect of the next iteration of this contract.
In terms of the scope of the new contract, it is envisaged that this will be made up of an initial duration of 3 years, followed by the option to renew the contract for a further three one-year extensions. In terms of contract value, UKAD estimates that this will be approximately GBP 2 million per year.
In light of the fact that:
(i) a laboratory utilised to perform such testing must hold a WADA accreditation (as stipulated by WADA); and
(ii) such laboratory needs to be located in the UK to ensure that tests can be transported quickly from the site at which the sample is taken from the athlete to the laboratory (to avoid degradation of the sample), UKAD’s current view is that it is unlikely that any entity, other than DCC, could fulfil the contract requirements. To that end, UKAD is considering utilising the negotiated procedure without prior publication of a contract notice to agree arrangements with DCC for the next iteration of the contract, in accordance with regulation 32(2)(b)(ii) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCRs) (i.e. competition is absent for technical reasons).
However, prior to commencing the procedure described above, UKAD wishes to understand whether other entities which provide laboratory testing services (whether located in the UK or beyond) believe it would be possible to deliver the contract requirements. If UKAD is presented with responses which demonstrate that other viable providers may exist, it may (but will not be obliged to) consider alternative options to procure the required services.
To assist those considering responding to this prior information notice (PIN), UKAD has set out its further analysis in Section VI.3) below, so that respondees have a fuller understanding of why UKAD believes that the circumstances justify use of the negotiated procedure without prior publication of a contract notice. Respondees are invited to comment on these points, including providing an alternative perspective, as necessary.
UKAD would ask that those who wish to submit a response to this PIN provide their comments by email to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 14 January 2021. UKAD will consider such comments and based on those comments, reserves the right to:
(i) undertake preliminary discussions with some/all respondees if deemed necessary;
(ii) advertise the opportunity and undertake a competition without further notice;
(iii) enter into direct negotiation with DCC pursuant to regulation 32 of the PCRs without further notice; or
(iv) not to award any contract related to the services described in this PIN.