More recession-hit businesses are complaining about how government public sector contracts are awarded, according to research by law firm EMW.

There was an 84% rise in complaints made to the Office of Government Commerce in the year to the end of September 2010, to 57 complaints, according to figures obtained by the firm.

However, EMW said the OGC, which hands out the contracts, is refusing to re-tender deals. Only one was offered out again after an investigation in 2010.

EMW consultant Simon Vumbaca, said: ‘Companies are using the complaints system to try to gain more information about their competitor’s bid, or simply to delay their competitor from actually starting the project.’

He added that rival companies are increasingly submitting Freedom of Information Act requests in an effort to make the overall process more transparent.

Vumbaca said that many firms are no longer satisfied by the level of detail given by the public authority on the winning bid, and instead want to know why they failed.

EMW added that the number of complaints investigated by the government rose by 29% to 27 last year.