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The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has won a High Court ruling after legal action against it by DHL.

The courier company accused the DHSC of improper conduct in the awarding of a new contract, worth £730 million, to deliver medical equipment to the NHS.

The contract was awarded to manufacturing and logistics company Unipart. DHL, the incumbent contractor, took legal action on the grounds that the DHSC had failed to apply its own published selection criteria; applied undisclosed criteria; and breached its responsibilities towards transparency and equal treatment.

The contract with Unipart was automatically suspended following the application by DHL for a summary judgement; i.e. a judgement not requiring a full trial, on the basis that the DHSC doesn’t have a good case to put forward.

However, the judge dismissed DHL’s application, saying: “The court cannot determine those matters fairly without giving the parties an opportunity to test the evidence at trial.”

The judge upheld the DHSC’s application, supported by Unipart, for the automatic suspension to be lifted.

“In conclusion, the balance of convenience lies in lifting the automatic suspension and permitting DHSC to enter into the contract with Unipart,” the judge said. “Accordingly, DHSC’s application is granted.”

(Source: Logistics Manager)

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