The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published an opinion piece detailing why construction companies must take cartel risk, where rivals get together and break competition rules, seriously. In recent years the CMA has fined construction firms £67 million across five competition law cases. As well as large fines for the companies, 11 directors in total were disqualified from acting as directors as a result of these cases. There have also been two criminal convictions.

The CMA is urging the wider industry to take note to avoid making similar mistakes, reminding company directors of their responsibility to lead by example and be aware of how their organisation is operating.

A campaign has been launched by the CMA, ‘Cheating or Competing’ which feaures a new collection of construction case studies alongside advice for the sector. The authority is also working with procurement officials across central and local government, to make it easier for them to spot and report suspected illegal activity.

To find out more, visit the CMA ‘Cheating or Competing’ campaign page

Actions for industry 

  • Be clear on competition rules set out by the CMA.
  • Check your business practices and come forward if you think you have been involved or have witnessed illegal behaviour.
  • Reporting a cartel you were involved in, and co-operating with a CMA investigation, is the best route to leniency that could mean immunity from fines, prosecutions and disqualifications.
  • Note that whistleblowers who report cartels can receive financial rewards.