Route 2 - Contract Award - Debriefing

Debriefing is a way of helping suppliers to improve their competitive performance, which in turn produces benefits to procuring organisations. Unsuccessful suppliers and tenderers have a right to know the reasons for their rejection and feedback should be provided in writing. It is good practice to provide face to face debriefing where possible. If this is deemed appropriate, you need to ensure that enough time and resource is given to completion of the debriefing process.


  • To assist suppliers to improve their performance. A debriefing should cover the positive aspects and suggest areas for improvement of the unsuccessful bid. Suppliers will then have the opportunity to address these issues and improve their competitiveness in any future bids.
  • To offer unsuccessful tenderers the opportunity to provide feedback to the Organisation on the tender process and to help with continuous improvement of the process.
  • To establish and maintain a reputation as a fair, honest and ethical customer. This will help to ensure that high quality suppliers will be encouraged to submit tenders.

The Procurement Officer should chair the debriefing. Other User Intelligence Group (UIG) members or end-users can still provide guidance and/or assistance. Where a formal debriefing meeting is deemed appropriate, this may involve representatives from both operational areas of the process and procurement professionals to ensure that the debriefing is carried out by experienced and fully trained personnel.  You should ensure that technical/operational representatives understand their role in the debriefing and that the following guidelines are borne in mind:

  • The meeting must not be viewed as a forum for debate as to the validity of a tender.
  • It must be made clear to each tenderer that only their own tender will be discussed in relation to the successful tender. Under no circumstances will such things as commercial terms or innovative ideas put forward by another tenderer be disclosed. The Briefing must be accurate and factual.
  • If reasons have been given in writing previously, you should not introduce new or conflicting reasons for the decision as part of the debriefing.
  • At the end of the interview, suppliers should be asked if they have any constructive comments on the Invitation to Tender (ITT) documentation and the tendering process generally.
  • A record of the debriefing meeting should be made and placed on the appropriate registered file.

A face-to-face debriefing meeting is not essential in cases where the unsuccessful tenderer has already been provided with written feedback, however this may help unsuccessful tenderers improve their competitive performance for the future.

The point at which debriefing takes place should be determined by commercial judgement and certainly within a reasonable time of the award decision.

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