An Innovation Partnership must only be used where:
- there is a need for the development of an innovative product or service and
- the subsequent purchase of these cannot be met by solutions already available on the market.
The use of this procedure must be justified.
The Innovation Partnership Procedure aims to solve an existing problem i.e. organisations not being able to purchase directly from the developer without further competition. This was because the original research and development contract was awarded without competition.
Innovation Partnership Benefits
The benefits of this procedure are:
- Allowing the development of new types of goods and services
- Market stimulation through the appointment of one or several partners. They compete to conduct separate research and development activities funded through the contract
- Allowing the choice of the most suitable partners for development contracts
- Allowing the purchase of innovative supplies and/or services through the Innovation Partnership.
In all cases "days" are calendar days and not working days. The final day must however be a working day in Scotland.
Innovation Partnership Stages and Timescales
Whilst an innovative solution is the objective of your procurement, the outcome must still:
- meet the minimum requirements set out in the tender documents and
- be within the agreed performance levels and maximum costs.
You must set out in the Procurement Documents:
- the subject matter of the procurement by providing a description of your need
- the minimum requirements
- the award criteria and
- the applicable intellectual property rights arrangements.
The information you provide must be precise enough to help potential partners identify the nature and scope of the requirement. This will allow them to decide whether to request to participate in your procedure. However, you have to be careful not to restrict the innovative proposals with the requirements.
The only set timescales is the deadline for requests to participate must be a minimum of 30 days after the Contract Notice is sent for publication.
When fixing other time limits you must take account of the complexity of the contract and the time required for drawing up tenders.
The following shows the Innovation Partnership stages:
1. Requests to Participate
You must permit any potential partner to submit a request to participate within the timescales you have set, answering your selection stage requirements.
The evaluation of the selection stage information may be more challenging than other procedures. You must, in particular, apply criteria concerning:
- the partner’s capacity in the field of research and development and
- of developing and implementing innovative solutions.
Only those invited by you may participate in the procedure and go on to submit research and innovation projects.
The Innovation Partnership must be structured in successive phases to reflect the research and development stages involved. You must ensure the structure, duration and value of the partnership’s different phases reflect the degree of innovation of the proposed solution and the sequence of the research and innovation activities.
You should set intermediate targets to be attained by the partners and provide for payment in appropriate instalments.
You must negotiate with partners over the initial and all subsequent tenders submitted, except for the final tender, to improve its content. Minimum requirements and the award criteria must not be negotiated.
After each phase, you have the option to terminate the partnership or reduce the number of partners. You can terminate individual contracts by applying the award criteria, provided that you have indicated such possibilities in the Procurement Documents.
You evaluate the final solutions or terminate the contract. The contract must be awarded on the sole basis of the best price-quality ratio.
You should not use Innovation Partnership in a way that prevents, restricts or distorts competition.
You may limit the number of candidates meeting the selection criteria. if you stated this possibility in the Contract Notice. You can then invite these candidates to participate in the procedure.
You should invite at least three bidders to partner (if three or more meet the selection criteria) in order to ensure genuine competition. You may also establish an innovation partnership with one or several partners conducting separate research and development activities.
Care and Support Services
For many care and support services contract, an organisation may use the procurement procedures, tools and techniques of its choosing. You should follow a procurement procedure, as a matter of best practice, that is proportionate to the value of the contract and to take account of some fundamental considerations (for example, the principles of procurement where relevant and Fair Work Practices).
When doing so, you may choose to adapt or streamline the Innovation Partnership Procedure described in the Public Contract (Scotland) Regulations 2015. If you do so, you are not obliged to follow the detailed procedural requirements set out in those Regulations. You should therefore not refer to the Regulations in the tender documentation issued to participants, as this may create an expectation that the detailed procedural requirements will be followed. In all cases, you should ensure that the procurement process is described accurately and clearly, and then adhered to.
Organisations must ensure the equal treatment of all parties involved. Part of this requires that confidentiality must be maintained to prevent any distortion of competition.
Your Organisation must not reveal confidential information communicated by a party to another party without their express agreement. This permission may only be given with reference to the intended communication of specific information.
You should also add a requirement to ensure your organisation’s confidential information is protected throughout the procurement process.
Principles of Procurement
The activities you undertake at this stage must be carried out in a carefully managed manner that supports the Principles of Procurement As a minimum the processes must be transparent ensuring no distortion of the market. The outcome cannot unduly favour or disadvantage a particular partner. It is the responsibility of your Organisation to make sure these requirements are met.