Route 2 - Open & Evaluate Tender - Receipt of Tenders
It is considered best practice to use PCS-Tender for the whole tender process including receipt of tenders, if the Procurement Officer has access. Alternatively, Public Contracts Scotland can be utilised for issuing and receipt of tenders.
If your Organisation does not use PCS-Tender or Public Contracts Scotland, you should refer to your internal governance procedures for information on how to manage this stage of the Procurement Journey. If using a manual system, some basic guidelines are provided below:
All tenders must be returned to the named individual within the Invitation to Tender (ITT) document
Any tenders mistakenly returned to any other person must not be opened and should be forwarded immediately to the named individual within the ITT document
- To ensure tenders remain unopened until the pre-defined tender opening ceremony, the ITT should include a tender return label for the supplier to attach on the exterior envelope or package
The named individual within the ITT document is responsible for storing the unopened tenders securely. Best practice suggests that you should obtain at least three tender responses where possible. Where tenderers issued with a copy of the ITT do not submit a response, you should ask for reasons why and record these on file to inform future strategy development.
If only two tenders are received you should consider carefully whether to continue with the competition or to review the specification and re-start the process with a view to securing higher levels of engagement. In making such a decision you would need to consider the size of the market, whether in light of that the tenders received may be considered to provide sufficient competitive tension and whether there is a risk that one or more of the tenderers would decide not to participate in a revised competition.
If only one tender response is received you should first consider why this is (in particular has the market been restricted in some way or has the opportunity been unattractive). In such cases you should consider restarting the process.
If you are satisfied that there are no particular reasons for the submission of only one tender response, and that the bid is compliant, then you may consider continuing.
The above should be conducted in accordance with your internal governance procedures.
You may consider the use of a Non Competitive Action (NCA) in cases where there are exceptional circumstances. You must receive approval from the appropriate person in your Organisation to do so e.g. Head of Procurement, before proceeding.
It is the responsibility of all tenderers to ensure that their bid is submitted in accordance with the rules of the competition and before the specified deadline. In exceptional circumstances it may be permissible for a bid that arrived after the deadline to be accepted into the competition. The policy for addressing tenders returned after the due date/time will be subject to the internal governance for your organisation, legislation and case law. If there is any doubt about whether to allow a late bid into the competition professional procurement and/or legal advice should be sought. There will need to be a clear audit trail in respect of the handling of late bids and any decision taken.
If PCS-Tender is being utilised, the Procurement Officer will be able to identify the tenderers who have submitted late tenders and determine whether to open the late tender or reject it.
It is considered best practice for the Procurement Officer to notify the tenderer if the late tender has been accepted or rejected.