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UK Watchdog Probes Mitie Group Over Anti-Competitive Bids

 |  March 6, 2022

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced it will launch an investigation on outsourcing company Mitie for potential anti-competitive conduct in the bidding for two immigration removal centres, reported The Financial Times.

The CMA said it had “not reached a view as to whether there is sufficient evidence of an infringement of competition law for it to issue a statement of objections to any of the parties under investigation”. 

Mitie responded by saying it had withdrawn its bid to manage the Derwentside immigration removal in Durham when its contract runs out in 2023, because of a new Home Office rule that prevents a single company having too large a share of the market. 

The company said it was “fully cooperating with the investigation and believed Mitie PAE’s conduct was appropriate”, referring to the unit within the Mitie Group that operates the IRCs. Mitie has been running Derwentside on a short term two-year contract since 2021, when it replaced Yarl’s Wood as the only immigration removal unit dedicated for women. 

The CMA is investigating past conduct in relation to the tender for both Derwentside and Heathrow. Mitie said it was “confident that it has no case to answer and will be fully exonerated”.  

The UK’s largest immigration centre provider is understood to have bid for the longer nine-year contract to run the Derwentside and Heathrow centres from 2023 for £461m, with a potential one year extension. The work involves running facilities and staff who provide education, recreational, cleaning, security and accommodation services.

Immigration Removal Centers (IRCs) are part of the UK’s Nationality and Borders Bill passed last year in order to tackle rising tensions over immigration. The UK’s Home Office operates six IRC’s in England and Scotland.