Route 3 - Develop Documents - Invitation to Tender (ITT)

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 processes 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 supplier and it is the responsibility of the Organisation to make sure that these requirements are met.

An organisation should also consider whether to allow potential service providers to set outoptions in relation to different TUPE scenarios within its tenders. If so, it should provide clear directions to tenderers to ensure that bids can be compared on a like-for-like basis.

You must offer on the internet unrestricted and full direct access to the Procurement Documents, including the Invitation to Tender (ITT) documents, from the date of publication of a Contract Notice, or (if a PIN is used as a call for competition) the date on which the Invitation to Confirm Interest was sent or, where this is not possible, the documents must be made available electronically from the time at which they are sent to participants in the process. This access must be non-discriminatory and free of any charge

Where it is justified that the ITT documents cannot be issued electronically, for example because the contract is of a nature which requires the use of specialised tools and/or files, other transmission means can be used, but the time limit for receipt of tenders should be increased by 5 days (except in a case of duly substantiated emergency). 

Where a two stage process is being used the documents can be made available only to the tenderers which have passed the selection stage of the procedure.

For the following procedures:

an invitation by an Organisation to selected tenderers to submit a tender must be issued simultaneously and in writing.  For the Open Procedure ITTs must be issued on request to any bidder at any point prior to the date set for submission of tenders.

The ITT (or the Invitation to Confirm Interest where a PIN is being used as a call for competition) should include comprehensive information for potential suppliers about the requirement being tendered. While there are a number of generic documents listed below that will require insertion into all packs (e.g. a reference to the relevant Contract Notice or Award Criteria weightings) some of the content will naturally be specific to each requirement (e.g. to Invitations to Confirm Interest) and you should select those that are applicable to include in the invitation pack. Criteria to be included in the invitation include for example:

  • A reference to the relevant Call for Competition, previously published
  • Instructions to tenderers including the tender submission deadline; address to which the tenderer submission is to be sent and the language which the tender submission must be submitted in
  • Confirmation of the documents to be submitted by the tenderer in support of the tender selection criteria or for self-declaration that no exclusion grounds exist. These may relate to tenderer suitability; economic and financial standing; technical and professional ability; requirements for participation; requirements for lots, Framework Agreements and/or Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPS), as well confirmation of acceptance of a European Single Procurement Document response. For more information, please refer to Selection Criteria and ESPD (Scotland).
  • The relative weighting of criteria for the award of the contract
  • For Competitive Dialogue procedures: the date and address for the beginning of dialogue and the language(s) to be used
  • For services contracts, you should ask the tenderers to indicate any share of the contract that the tenderer may subcontract and information about the subcontractors including their name and contact details.  Your organisation is able to require bidders to verify by ESPD whether there are grounds for exclusion in respect of any subcontractors. Your organisation must require that the subcontractor be replaced where it has been shown that there are compulsory grounds for exclusion. Your organisation may also require replacement where there are non-compulsory grounds.  Provision should be made in the tender documents to support review of subcontractors and relevant ESPD responses throughout the contract life and provide for any necessary action to be taken by the organisation.  Your Organisation must also require the main contractor to notify it of any changes to the subcontractors’ details during the course of the contract
  • For contracts which may be extended (i.e. that are not retendered), the nature, quantity and, where possible, the estimated time for exercising options
  • The nature, quantity and, where possible, estimated publication dates of notices of future tenders
  • The type of procedure e.g. a Restricted Procedure or Competitive Procedure with Negotiation procedure, etc.
  • If applicable to the contract, the delivery of supplies, commencement or termination date(s)
  • The address of the Organisation who will award the contract
  • Economic and technical conditions, financial guarantees and information required from tenderers
  • The form of the contract to be used e.g. purchase, lease, hire,  hire-purchase, or a combination
  • If electronic access to the relevant Procurement Documents cannot be offered the address and deadline date for requesting procurement documents and the language(s) to be used
  • Background and overview of the tendering and evaluation process including details of presentations and site visits, if applicable
  • Terms and Conditions of contract which will apply to any resulting contract with the principal supplier
  • Specification and technical requirements
  • Sustainable Procurement Duty requirements
  • Cyber Security Requirements (refer to the Guidance Note on Supplier Cyber Security. If using the beta Scottish Cyber Assessment Service (SCAS), example wording for ITTs and Contract Notices can be found here
  • Community Benefit requirements (consideration of which is compulsory in contracts valued equal or greater to £4M, although inclusion in all contracts/frameworks recommended)
  • Questions on Fair Work Practices should be included where it has been assessed as proportionate and relevant to the subject matter of the contract
  • Quality questionnaire
  • Pricing schedule - (note that where it is proportionate to request such, the pricing schedule can take the form of an e-catalogue as part of the ITT in order to streamline later processes)
  • Form of tender
  • Acceptance of Terms and Conditions mechanism for return of tender
  • For frameworks inclusion of mini competition or relevant call off guidance
  • The circumstances under which modifications or changes could be made to the contract or framework – in order to be valid, these must comply with the requirements outlined in the Contract and Supplier Management station and be stated in clear, unambiguous clauses (e.g. price change clause or core list review clause)
  • Covering letter
  • Acknowledgement letter for tenderers to return to the organisation on receiving the documentation
  • Technical guidance for use with systems

Suggested templates for many of the above mentioned documents are available via the following link: Scottish Procurement Standard Forms & Documentation

Evaluation criteria

The questions within the ITT must be consistent with the evaluation criteria and weightings published within the Contract Notice and procurement documents. You should also draft a timetable for the process which must comply with applicable minimum timescales detailed in Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015.  For more information refer to Selection, Award & Exclusion.

Price/financial evaluation criteria should include:

  • Whole Life Cost comparisons
  • Quantifiable financial benefits arising from the technical evaluation (e.g. speed, fuel or electricity consumption, coverage, shelf life etc)
  • Fixed or variable pricing
  • Cost of components, spare parts, consumables and servicing

Risk analysis and financial appraisal (for major contracts of strategic importance, especially those of an innovative nature)

Whilst developing the documentation the Procurement Officer will draw information from the developing strategy stage of the Procurement Journey. 

The criteria in the ITT must be agreed with the User Intelligence Group (UIG) and will identify which of the eligible tenderers will deliver best value for money for the organisation, based on the Most Economically Advantageous Tender.

Your Organisation must identify the Most Economically Advantageous Tender on the basis of the Best Price Quality Ratio, which will be assessed on the basis of criteria linked to the subject matter of the contract and must include the price or cost using a cost effectiveness approach.  A cost effectiveness approach may include Life Cycle Impact Mapping.

Further inclusions for ITT documentation

You may also wish to consider the areas below for inclusion within the ITT documentation:

Buyers can ask for the most updated list of organisations for each of the worksheets on Appendix X.

Any documents you need are listed below:

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