Saturday 06 September 2008
Attend a really interesting meeting as a member of the working party established to look at the issue of Trading and Charging by the Scottish Government. One of the key issues in this area of local government is around when does legitimate trading activity cross the boundary into the tricky ground of State Aid.
We received a presentation by one of the civil servants with responsibility for dealing with State Aid in the Scottish Government. It was enlightening to say the least and prompted questions and discussion that lasted for a good couple of hours.
The outcome was clear, anything that a local authority does between itself and any of its inhouse services is in no way in breech of State Aid rules, anything that a local authority does for another public body is also probably fine, anything for individual members of the public or the private sector has to be looked at carefully and probably has to be won in a competitive process. Where a local authority awards work to an arms length organisation, the third sector or a private body or an individual then it probably has to ensure a competition process takes place if it wishes to avoid being challenged on State Aid grounds.