Caroline Hobson

Caroline is a partner in CMS London specialising in Competition, Procurement and Sanctions matters.

Caroline leads the CMS London competition team advising on a wide range of EU and UK competition law issues. She has advised on numerous merger notifications to the Competition and Markets Authority (previously the Office of Fair Trading), European Commission and in multi-jurisdictional cases, as well as advising clients on Article 101/Chapter I cartel investigations and Article 102/Chapter II dominance issues. She advises extensively on competition law risk management and compliance strategies and has attended raids conducted by the EU and UK competition authorities.

Caroline advises on public procurement issues and works closely with the CMS outsourcing team. She acts for public bodies and utilities, as well as suppliers in relation to tendering procedures and procurement challenges. She also regularly advises clients across a number of industry sectors on the application of the EU and UK sanctions rules, helping to identify risks in commercial transactions, submitting licence applications to HM Treasury and advising on compliance measures with sanctions and export control rules. 

This blog is part 6 of a series on the MEAT value-based procurement project, an initiative that advocates towards a shift from price-based procurement towards value-based procurement. It does so by defining a Most Economically Advantageous Tendering (MEAT) framework that includes the value of medical technologies, services and solutions in procurement processes across Europe. Read part 1 , part 2 , part 3 , part 4 and part 5 . When the new EU Directive on public procurement was finalised in 2014, replacing the previous framework, it was hailed by the European Parliament as a tool for ensuring better quality of supplies and services and value for money. The European Parliament was also keen to emphasise how the Directive was designed to encourage innovation, improve SMEs’ access to public sector markets and to integrate environmental and social considerations into procurement policy. One of the tools within the Directive to achieve these aims was the requirement for contracting authorities to base the award of contracts on the most economically advantageous tender (MEAT). Contracting authorities were also permitted to use lifecycle costing in their award criteria in order to assess total costs. Previously, tenders could be awarded either on the basis of lowest price, or on MEAT criteria which typically included a balance of price and quality criteria. All of this seemed to be good news for those of us with an interest in value-based healthcare. Defining what MEAT really means However, whilst the terminology was promising, it was misleading. Indeed the Directive provided that MEAT could be based either on price only, cost only, or best price quality ratio. Although Member States have been given a choice when implementing the Directive into national law whether they wanted to exclude or restrict the use of price or cost only as the sole...