Route 2 - Issue ITT
This section of the Procurement Journey provides guidance about the tender stage of the process.
If you are using a two stage process you will already have assessed the Selection Stage documentation and determined the tenderers you will be inviting to tender at this stage. If you are not using a two stage process you will issue an ITT which will include the Selection and Award stage criteria.
It is considered best practice to use PCS-Tender if the Procurement Officer has access to help manage the administrative aspects of the tendering process.
When an ITT is issued near to the closing date, the recipient should be made aware that the submission date is imminent.
Changes to a tender closing date should be made if significant changes are made to the tender documents and/or if information requested by a bidder in a timely fashion has not been supplied.
Extension to a tender time limit should be proportionate to the complexity of the change and /or the additional information being provided. To proceed with a tender extension the necessary approval must be obtained in accordance with your internal governance. If the date is amended, the new date should be notified to all tenderers, and if any tenderer indicates that they have already submitted a tender then they should be given the opportunity of withdrawing the original tender and submitting a revised one in line with the extended tender deadline.
A Bidders' Meeting is where all tenderers are invited to attend at the same time a venue to discuss the ITT. This can happen before or after the ITT is issued. The purpose of the meeting is to highlight and clarify aspects of the ITT. Commercially sensitive information should be guarded at all times (e.g. you may not wish to reveal project/budget information).
Sufficient time must be allowed for tenderers to take account of outcomes of the Bidders' Meetings.
The meeting should be opened by setting out the agenda and introducing the personnel involved. This will be followed by a presentation, setting out the aims of the procurement process and expected business benefits. If appropriate, there can then be a walk round of the facilities/site, otherwise it is straight into a question and answer session.
The overriding principle that should be applied is equality of information. Questions raised and answers provided should be confirmed in writing and sent to all tenderers whether they were represented at the meeting or not. This information should be provided allowing adequate time for consideration prior to the tender return date. In conjunction with the information provided, tenderers may wish to take notes of the proceedings.
A Bidders' Meeting will not always be necessary for every tender exercise. A judgment will have to be made, prior to the issue of the ITT, whether or not such a meeting is required, in order that it may be planned into the procurement timetable.
Once the procurement has commenced, care must be taken and a process put in place to ensure that all correspondence between the bidders and your Organisation are carried out in a fair and transparent manner. For example, any question submitted by a bidder along with the answer provided by your Organisation must be made anonymous and circulated to all of the bidders involved in the process.
You should provide details of the deadline for the submission of any questions and the date by which all questions will be answered within the ITT documentation.
The use of an electronic tendering system, for example Public Contracts Scotland - Tender, will facilitate the receipt and circulation of questions and answers. Public Contracts Scotland offers similar functionality via the bulletin board. If you do not use an electronic system, clear instructions and contact details should be provided to the bidders within the ITT documentation. Communications with all parties during the procurement activity should be coordinated by the Procurement Officer.