DVLA Vision Testing Services Contract - further update

20 February 2014

LOCSU has today informed DVLA that it will not be making a legal challenge to the tender outcome during the extended “standstill” period which ends at midnight tonight, 20th February 2014.

This decision has not been taken lightly and throughout this process, LOCSU has been advised by experienced EU / Competition Lawyers.  

Alan Tinger, LOCSU Chairman said:  “I am satisfied that we have left no stone unturned throughout the extended “standstill” period to seek grounds for a legal challenge and I pay tribute to the extended LOCSU Team for all they have done in the very best interests of the sector.  My thanks go to all those who committed to making a fair, sector-wide bid viable for the benefit of drivers and the DVLA.

“The DVLA has made it clear to us that our bid was the highest scorer in terms of quality and by implication therefore we lost out on price.  We clearly do not know the price the winning bidder tendered but it is clear to us that if we had pitched at a level to win the bid it would have ended up with practitioners being remunerated substantially less than they currently are for the service.  

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing and no doubt after the event some might say “anything would have been better than nothing”.  However that was certainly not the mood at the time of the bid, and bidding too low to be viable for many would not have been in the interests of those affected or the long-term viability of the sector.

“I have today written at length to the Assistant Director – Commercial at DVLA who is responsible to the DVLA Board for the conduct of the tender.  I have thanked him for the courtesy and willingness to communicate during the extended “standstill” period which could not be faulted.  I have, however, made crystal clear the feelings of those who currently provide the service and indeed a most effective service convenient for drivers and my letter concluded:

“ 'Whilst not originally intended by DVLA, this has reached a regrettable and destabilising conclusion for the UK optical sector, the repercussions of which will be felt for a long time and may well be a tipping point for driving any other competition out of the market to the detriment of the DVLA in the future.’”

Ends

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