The UK Competition Authority switches to telework, suspends almost all physical shipments of documents, but promises to continue processing cases by set deadlines amid COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19: CMA working arrangements*

Along with other businesses and organisations, the CMA continues to monitor the outbreak of COVID-19 and has adjusted its working arrangements in response.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is concerned above all to ensure the safety and well-being of its staff and all those it engages with, while continuing to do its utmost to help ensure that the UK public is protected from anti-competitive practices, transactions and unfair trading.

It has therefore implemented a range of precautions, taking into account official advice, and continues to review and update its protocols as this complex situation develops.

Among other things, the CMA is making the following changes:

  • All staff are now working from home if they are able to do so. As well as protecting staff, this will allow the CMA to continue to progress cases, make decisions and meet deadlines. The CMA has also stopped business travel and travel between its different offices.
  • All meetings are being conducted remotely via videoconferencing or telephone. It is no longer necessary or appropriate, given the official guidance, to hold face-to-face external meetings. People can still make decisions and take part in meetings while working from home, including with people from outside the organisation. This also applies to all hearings before the CMA, which will be conducted remotely.
  • Binding statutory deadlines apply to a significant proportion of the CMA’s work and it intends to continue progressing its cases, making decisions and meeting deadlines – helped in part by the adjustments it is already making to things like remote working. At the same time, it will continue to monitor timetables including, as permitted, extending statutory timeframes where necessary. Any updates will be communicated to businesses involved in investigations and made public on the CMA website.
  • It is reallocating resources to help ensure that the most urgent and the most critical work can be done on time.
  • The CMA will not be accepting post or courier deliveries into any of our offices. If documents need to be sent to the CMA during this time, please make contact with the recipient to discuss available alternatives.

The CMA continues to monitor official advice and will provide further updates about how it expects to adapt its work in response to the unprecedented challenges now faced by many parts of the economy.

This is a difficult period for everyone – including the businesses, people and public authorities the CMA engages with, as well as its own staff. But it is determined to work co-operatively to ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, work can carry on for the benefit of consumers.

How the organisation is working may be changing in some ways, but its role remains the same: to promote competition for the benefit of UK consumers.

*This is the original title of the press release. The title above has been amended in order to match the e-Competitions format. Individual authors are welcome to provide original independent commentaries on the case law. Articles are subject to approval by the Board of e-Competitions Bulletin before publication based on the Editorial Policy (click here).

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UK Competition Authority, The UK Competition Authority switches to telework, suspends almost all physical shipments of documents, but promises to continue processing cases by set deadlines amid COVID-19 pandemic, 18 mars 2020, e-Competitions March 2020, Art. N° 94200

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