A Supplier's meeting is where all potential bidders are invited to attend (at the same time) a meeting to discuss the Invitation to Tender (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 must be protected at all times, e.g. you may not wish to reveal project/budget information.
Supplier's meetings will not always be necessary for every tender exercise. Before your ITT is issued a decision should be made about whether or not a meeting is required. If required, this meeting can be included into your procurement timetable.
Transparency and Fairness
You must share any relevant information, and information provided to any other potential bidders, at the pre-tender stage. This ensures the process is conducted fairly and transparently in accordance with Regulation 42 of The Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015.
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.
It is your responsibility to make sure these requirements are met.
Bidders must be allowed sufficient time to take account of supplier's meetings information.
Supplier Meeting Format
The meeting should be opened by setting out the agenda and introducing the personnel involved.
This should 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. Where this happens and if on-the-spot inspection of documents can occur, the receipt of tenders deadline must be fixed. This is to ensure all potential bidders, whether at the meeting or not, must be made aware of the information needed to produce bids.
Then there should be a question and answer session. The overriding principle here is equality of information. Questions raised and answers provided should be confirmed in writing and sent to all bidders, whether present at the meeting or not. This information should be provided not later than six working days before the tender return date. Sufficient time should be given to bidders to be able to act upon information.
In conjunction with the information provided, potential bidders may wish to take notes of the proceedings.