Advertising agency AV Browne in High Court over Tourism NI contract for £14m
An advertising agency was unfairly ruled out of contention for a £14 million (€18 million) contract with Tourism NI after a government website froze, the High Court has heard.
Counsel for AV Browne claimed it missed a tendering deadline due to the blockage in the system used for submitting bids.
“This amounted to a breach of the principles of equal treatment, non-discrimination and proportionality which apply to exercises of this kind,” said Nicolas Hanna QC.
Belfast firm AV Browne is taking legal action against the Northern Ireland Tourist Board in an attempt to be reinstated in the bidding process. The contract, for advertising and design work over a period of up to four years, has yet to be awarded because of the court case.
The challenge centres on the operation of a procurement website run by the Department of Finance.
AV Browne completed the first phase of the tendering process, but the court heard that problems arose when it tried to submit further information in time for the second stage.
Mr Hanna said the web portal froze as an employee tried to send the details on an Apple computer just before the 3pm deadline on October 14th last year.
The case continues.