Receipt of Tenders

It is best practice to use PCS-Tender to receipt tenders - if you have access. Alternatively, Public Contracts Scotland Advertising can be used.

If your Organisation does not use PCS-Tender or Public Contracts Scotland for receipt of tenders you should refer to your internal governance procedures for information on how to manage this stage.  

It is best practice for the Procurement Officer to notify the tenderers if the late tender has been accepted or rejected.The Freedom of Information Act (Scotland) 2002 has led to a notable increase in the amount of documentation relating to the evaluation of tenders and contract awards being released into the public domain and it is your duty to ensure that any procurement process can withstand such scrutiny.

As with all aspects of the Procurement Journey, the activities at this stage must be carried out in a carefully managed manner that supports the Principles of Procurement. As a minimum the evaluation must be carried out in a transparent way that ensures there is no distortion of the market place, the outcome cannot be a procurement that unduly favours or disadvantages a particular bidder and it is the responsibility of the Organisation to make sure that these requirements are met.

It is important that the evaluation of tenders use the criteria disclosed to tenderers. The assessment must be clear and robust in order to provide a full justification and audit trail for the resultant award decision.

Limiting the Number of Candidates

The Organisation should invite enough tenderers to generate competition.

Organisations may limit the number of candidates meeting the selection criteria  invited to tender or to conduct a dialogue. The minimum number of qualified tenderers that may be indicated by an organisation are:

  • Restricted Procedure: the minimum number of tenderers is five.
  • Competitive Procedure with Negotiation, Competitive Dialogue Procedure and Innovation Partnership procedure: the minimum number of candidates is three.

Late Bids

Tenderers must ensure their bid is submitted under the rules of the competition and before the specified deadline.

In exceptional circumstances a tender that arrived after the deadline may be accepted into the competition. The policy for addressing late tenders  are subject to the internal governance for your organisation, legislation and case law.

If there is any doubt about whether to allow a late tender into the competition, advice from your Procurement Department and/or legal advice should be sought. There will need to be a clear audit trail of the handling of late tenders and any decision taken.

If PCS-Tender is being used, the Procurement Officer will be able to identify the tenderers which have submitted late tenders.  The Procurement Officer can then determine whether to open the late tender or reject it.

What if you Haven’t Received Enough Responses?

You may continue with the procedure if the number of candidates meeting the selection criteria and minimum requirements is below the minimum number set.  However to do so you  must invite all candidates with the required capabilities.

Where tenderers issued with a copy of the ITT do not submit a response, you should ask for reasons why.  These reasons should be recorded and filed to aid future strategy development.

If the only tenders which are received for an Open or Restricted Procedure are irregular or unacceptable (including tenders above the established budget), then you may apply:

  • a competitive procedure with negotiation or
  • a competitive dialogue.

In these cases you do not need to publish a Contract Notice when the procedure includes all of, and only, the tenderers meeting the selection and exclusion criteria (who submitted tenders as part of the original procedure).

If only one tender response is received you should consider why this is.  For example 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 you can continue with the procedure.  This can only happen is the one bid is compliant with all requirements.

The above should be conducted in accordance with your internal governance procedures.

Non-Competitive Action

You may consider the use of a Non Competitive Action (NCA) in cases of exceptional circumstances.

You must receive approval from the appropriate person in your Organisation e.g. Head of Procurement, before proceeding.

Consideration must also be given to Planning, Sustainable Procurement and Risk Management throughout this stage of the Journey.