When developing your specification it is important to engage as early as possible with the supply base and relevant technical team e.g. if ICT or fleet requirements are being purchased. This is important in terms of:
It is best practice to ensure that suppliers are contractually required to provide line item spend details and this can be detailed as part of your specification.
There are different types of specification, further detailed below.
A list of what you should include in your specification, where relevant to your procurement exercise.
You can apply life cycle costing as part of the specification and subsequent evaluation.
Life cycle costing takes into account all of the identifiable costs of a product or service from its purchase to use, maintenance and end of life (recycling / disposal).
These can be direct costs like scheduled maintenance and energy used through the life of a road sweeping vehicle and also less apparent external environmental costs such as the cost of emissions of greenhouse gas based on the energy use of the road sweeping vehicle.
These costs can only be assessed when:
If using a life-cycle costing approach to award a contract, the Procurement Documents must state:
It is important to differentiate between Whole Life Costing, Lifecycle Costing and Lifecycle Impact Mapping:
The specification should:
If the contract will involve, support or rely on the digital processing of information, organisations should ensure that appropriate consideration is given to potential cyber risks and their management.
Further information on how to assess and manage cyber risks as part of the procurement process can be found in the Scottish public sector Guidance Note on Supplier Cyber Security Buyers may also optionally make use of the Cyber Security Procurement Support Tool to assess cyber risks and generate minimum cyber security requirements as part of award criteria. More information can be found in Leadership and Governance.
If you purchase goods or services with specific environmental, social or other characteristics labels can be used as a means of proof. The label will show the supplied goods or services correspond to the required characteristics. An example of a label that addresses workforce issues is that provided by the Fairtrade Foundation.
Samples or patterns may be issued or requested from suppliers when you cannot produce a detailed description of the requirement.
It is best practice to keep a "sealed sample" for later comparison with the products supplied. Samples, patterns and drawings may also form part of a design specification.
Any samples that are no longer required should be returned to the tenderer.
Care should be taken that copyright is not breached when using samples, patterns etc. for specification purposes. Consideration needs to be given to the Intellectual Property Rights of the tenderers.
Specification simplification and variety reduction involves removing design complexities. For example by removing different design types, sizes, grades etc. .
This can be a valuable tool when creating a specification for large collaborative procurements.
You will consider how the contract quality and performance of goods and services of will be measured as you develop your specification, especially an output specification.
These factors should be included into the Management Information (MI) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you require from your supplier(s). MI and KPIs will be included in your ITT and Terms and Conditions.
It is also best practice that suppliers are contractually required to provide line item spend detail as part of their contract support.
Demand should be regularly assessed In some business areas internal customers or budget holders may under or over specify e.g. for consultancy services, specifying a Partner when an Associate could deliver the brief: they are suitable and can deliver at less than half the day rate. It could be more cost effective to have a fixed term appointment than having an interim who stays in place for much longer than the initial contracted period.
In order to avoid scope creep, it is essential to ensure that a robust scoping process is undertaken at the earliest possible opportunity. Otherwise a supplier may offer additional services which are not required. Supplier led scope creep can occur and should be demand managed. An example is an IT project aimed a buying a records management system which links, shares and allows the updating of records. If a project like this is not fully scoped and requirements understood early on the suppliers may exploit planning gaps. The supplier may add additional products or services as a problem “resolution tool”. This would increase the scope, cost and timescales of the initial project.
The key criteria that the User Intelligence Group (UIG) needs to ensure are met when completing the specification are: