Route 2

Route 2

The exclusion process involves evaluating whether the bidder has committed any offences that would lead them to be excluded from the bidding process.
The exclusion questions you can ask are split into two types:

  • Mandatory exclusions: the buyer must ask questions regarding these exclusions and  the bidder may be excluded from the procurement process if specified offences have been committed and the self-cleansing measures taken are not sufficient to demonstrate reliability. For example corruption, bribery, money laundering or certain types of frauds
  • Discretionary exclusion: the buyer may ask questions concerning these exclusions and the bidder may be excluded from the procurement process if they have taken part in certain activities and the self-cleansing measures taken are not sufficient to demonstrate reliability. These should be considered on a case by case basis by the buying organisation.

It is considered best practice to ask bidders both types of questions in regulated prcourement exercises.

The table below provides an overview of both types of exclusion criteria. 

Exclusion Criteria in Route 2 Procurement Exercises

Must ask May ask

Self-Cleansing Applies

Criminal Convictions
  •  
 
  •  
Blacklisting
  •  
 
  •  

Tax and Social Security Breach

 
  •  

 

Environmental, Social and Labour Law

 
  •  
  •  
Bankruptcy and Insovency  
  •  
  •  
Grave Professional Misconduct  
  •  
  •  
Conflict of Interest  
  •  
  •  
Distortion of Competition  
  •  
  •  
Contract Defiiciences  
  •  
  •  
Misrepresentation  
  •  
  •  
Unduly Influence  
  •  
  •  

 

In the case of tax and social security breaches where self-cleansing does not apply, the bidder should not be excluded if they have fufilled their obligations by paying or entered into a biding agreed with the view to paying monies due or the obligation to repay otherwise ceases. 

What is Self-Cleansing?

The bidder must be given the opportunity to provide evidence that they have taken sufficient and appropriate remedial action i.e. they have ‘self-cleansed’. If you are satisfied that the evidence provided is sufficient to demonstrate reliability, you should not exclude the bidder from the procurement procedure on those grounds

The bidder must satisfy that it has:

  • paid, or undertaken to pay, compensation for any damage caused by the criminal offence or misconduct;
  • provided detailed facts and circumstances by  collaborating with the investigating authorities; and
  • taken appropriate concrete technical, organisational and personnel measures to prevent further criminal offences or misconduct.

In the case of tax and social security breaches, the bidder should not be excluded if they have fufilled their obligations by paying or entered into a biding agreed with the view to paying monies due or the obligation to repay otherwise ceases. 

When considering any self-cleansing measures, organisations must consider all relevant factors.  This includes the gravity and particular circumstances of the criminal offence or misconduct.

If you believe the bidder’s remedial action  is not sufficient to demonstrate reliability, you must provide the bidder with a statement outlining the reasons for the decision.  The statement of reasons must be provided in writing as soon as is reasonably practicable to allow the bidder to understand why the self-cleansing measures taken are insufficient.

Exclusion Criteria in the SPD

Questions relating to the above exclusion grounds are contained in the SPD (Scotland).  It is best practice, and will help promote consistency, to use the SPD (Scotland) document for all route 2 procurement exercises.

The standardised statement document has been developed to support you in explaining the exclusion criteria to bidders.  Within the standardised statement document is a standard paragraph of text that can be added to your contract notice in section II.2.14 (Addtional Information) to explain the exclusion criteria.

Please note that if you use the online SPD module on PCS, there is no need to add information on the Exclusion Grounds to the Contract Notice as they are automatically added to the module.


Mandatory Exclusion Grounds

The buyer must ask the bidder questions relating to criminal convictions and blacklisting in all Route 2 procurement exercises. If the bidder confrims they have taken part in these activities, they may be exluded from the process if they have not taken sufficient self-cleansing actions.

Criminal Offences

Buyers must ask if a bidder has been convicted by final judgement of one of the criminal offences contained in the relevant regulations

This includes:

  • Participation in a criminal organisation
  • Corruption
  • Bribery and Fraud
  • Terrorist offences or offences linked to terrorist activities
  • Money laundering or terrorist financing
  • Child labour and other forms of trafficking in human beings
     

Blacklisting

Buyers must ask if a bidder has taken part in Blacklisting activites. 

Blacklisting refers to the practice of systematically denying individuals employment, who would otherwise be able to be employed.  Blacklisting is done on the basis of information, accurate or not, held in some type of database. The Scottish Government regards blacklisting or the compiling of a blacklist as totally unacceptable.

The Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklists) Regulations 2010 provide rights for individuals if blacklisting results in refusal of employment, detriment, dismissal or redundancy. 

The above are listed in regulations 8 and 9(1) of the Procurement (Scotland) Regulations 2016.

All exclusion, selection and award criteria must be relevant and proportionate to the subject matter of the contract.  You should set out your specific requirements, the relevant exclusion grounds and the minimum standards that are relevant for your procurement exercise in the Contract Notice.

Statutory Guidance has been published on Selection of Tenderers and Award of Contracts to provide further guidance and the above are listed in regulations 8 and 9(1) of the Procurement (Scotland) Regulations 2016.

Derogation from Mandatory Exclusion Considerations

In exceptional circumstances you may disregard the mandatory exclusion grounds when selecting a bidder.  This can only be done where there are overriding reasons relating to the public interest. This provision is known as derogation from the mandatory exclusion considerations and ensures that organisations are able to respond to unforeseen emergency circumstances.

There is no definitive list of situations in which this derogation can be used and any decision should be made on a case by case basis. Organisations should be able to demonstrate that the actual or potential harm is so great, that the public interest in using the derogation outweighs the public interest in excluding a bidder.

An example may be where urgently needed vaccines or emergency equipment can only be purchased from a bidder to whom one of the mandatory exclusion grounds otherwise applies.

Each situation must be judged on its merits, but the following situations are, on their own, unlikely to meet this test:

  • when a bidder which should be excluded is offering a substantially better quality / more economical product or service;
  • when there would otherwise be a lack of competition.

Discretionary Exclusion Grounds

Whilst the buyer may ask questions on the following areas within their procurement exercise, it is not mandatory to exclude the bidder if they have taken part in these activities.  Each of these should be considered on a case by case basis by the buyer and any self-cleansing activities taken by the bidder should be taken into consideration.
 
When reviewing the activity, you should be proportionate in your decision, taking into account:
  • the size of the contracts,
  • the relevance of the breach, and
  • its impact on the operational and reputational risk to the contract delivery
The discretionary exclusion grounds are:

Tax and Social Security Obligations

Organisations may exclude a bidder where the bidder has breached its tax or social security obligations.  These may take the forms of judicial or administrative decision or other “appropriate means”.

Buyers can request the following examples of evidence to understand a bidder’s breach in tax or social security obligations:

  • credit references, i.e. details of any outstanding tax debt;
  • company accounts, depending on the size of the tax debt the bidder may be obliged to include this in their accounts;
  • an admission by a bidder to an Occasion of Non-Compliance (OONC); or,
  • an admission by a bidder of the failure of an avoidance scheme which they were involved in and was, or should have been, notified under Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Scheme (DOTAS).

In the case of tax and social security breaches, the bidder should not be excluded if they have fufilled their obligations by paying or entered into a biding agreed with the view to paying monies due or the obligation to repay otherwise ceases. 

Note – these examples relate to the UK tax regime, and there will be equivalents in other Member States which should be considered.

Environmental, Social and Labour Laws

Bidders may be excluded if they have breached any the obligations in relation to environmental, social and labour law both in any relevant national and European law as well as relevant collective agreements and specific international agreements.

Further information can be found in  9(5)(a) of The Procurement (Scotland) Regulations 2016

When determining whether to exclude a bidder on this basis, a contracting authority should be proportionate in its decision, taking into account the size of the contract, the relevance of the breach, and its impact on the operational and reputational risk to the delivery of the contract.

Bankrupt or Insolvent Businesses

Where a bidder is bankrupt or subject to insolvency proceedings, you can choose whether to exclude them from the procurement exercise.

Potential evidence could include:

  • copies of accounts verifying they have sufficient liquidity to perform contract
  • its business plan outlining steps the potential supplier will take to address concerns, or
  • references from other recent customers
  • when considering whether to exclude such a bidder you should consider contract delivery potential risks, such as:
  • the impact this may have on the sub-contracting supply chain.
  • the scale of the contract
  • potential consequences of the contract failing.

Additionally, organisations should take into account the potential benefits of awarding a contract to such a bidder. These can include:

  • providing opportunities to contribute to increased employment in communities
  • the wellbeing of local and regional communities 
  • helping unlock the innovation or economic potential with local businesses.

Grave Professional Misconduct

Bidders may be excluded if they are guilty of grave professional misconduct, which renders its integrity questionable;

Further information can be found in  9(5)(c) of The Procurement (Scotland) Regulations 2016

When determining whether to exclude a bidder on this basis, a contracting authority should be proportionate in its decision, taking into account the size of the contract, the relevance of the breach, and its impact on the operational and reputational risk to the delivery of the contract.

Conflict of Interest

Bidders may be excluded if a conflict of interest exists which may impact the procurement process.

Further information can be found in  9(5)(e) of The Procurement (Scotland) Regulations 2016

When determining whether to exclude a bidder on this basis, a contracting authority should be proportionate in its decision, taking into account the size of the contract, the relevance of the breach, and its impact on the operational and reputational risk to the delivery of the contract.

Distortion of Competition and Contract Defiencies

Bidders may be excluded if a distortion of competition may arise from the prior involvement of the bidder in the preparation of the tender.

Further information can be found in  9(5)(f) of The Procurement (Scotland) Regulations 2016

When determining whether to exclude a bidder on this basis, a contracting authority should be proportionate in its decision, taking into account the size of the contract, the relevance of the breach, and its impact on the operational and reputational risk to the delivery of the contract.

Misrepresentation or Unduly Influence

Bidders may be excluded if theys shown significant or persistent deficiencies in the performance of a substantive requirement under a prior public contractor a prior concession contract which led to early termination of that prior contract, damages or other comparable sanctions;

Further information can be found in  9(5)(g) of The Procurement (Scotland) Regulations 2016

When determining whether to exclude a bidder  on this basis, a contracting authority should be proportionate in its decision, taking into account the size of the contract, the relevance of the breach, and its impact on the operational and reputational risk to the delivery of the contract.

Timescales for exclusions

Bidders must not be excluded indefinitely from participating in procurement activity. 

A bidder must only be excluded:

  • for a maximum of 5 years from the date of conviction by final judgment for one of the criminal offences listed in regulations 8 of the Procurement (Scotland) Regulations 2016.
  • until it has paid its outstanding tax or social security obligations.  This includes: any applicable interest or fines; entering into a binding agreement to pay; or the obligation to make repayment ceases; or
  • for a maximum of 3 years from the date of the relevant event for all other grounds for exclusion.

Applying Exclusion Grounds to Sub-Contractors

You must consider how, in conducting your procurement, you can involve small and medium enterprises, third sector bodies and supported businesses.  This can include the use of sub-contractors to support the delivery of the contract.

The Procurement (Scotland) Regulations 2016 do not include applying mandatory and discretionary exclusion grounds to sub-contractors for contracts below the EU threshold contract value.  However you should consider the circumstances where this approach needs to be applied to safeguard effective contract delivery.

Who Do Exclusion Grounds Apply to Within the Company?

Exclusions grounds apply to a person who is:

  • a member of the administrative, management or supervisory body of the bidder or
  • has powers of representation, decision or control in relation to such bidder.

Care and Support Services

In the case of Care and Support Services the mandatory exclusion grounds regulation 8(1) of the Procurement (Scotland) Regulations 2016 must be applied to all procurements, and you can also choose to apply the discretionary exclusion grounds.

Exclusion statements should be put under section II.2.14 Additional Information of the Social and other Specific Services Contract Notice.

Route 2

There are clear stages in the procurement process:

Exclusion Grounds

There are circumstances in which a bidder must be excluded from the procurement process.  There are other circumstances in which you may determine, on a case by case basis, whether a bidder should be excluded.  These are referred to as mandatory and discretionary exclusion grounds, respectively.

If you decide to use the online SPD (Scotland) Module on PCS, the exclusion grounds statements will be built into the online SPD (Scotland).

Selection Criteria

There are different criteria used to determine the suitability of bidders to perform the contract.  These are referred to as selection criteria. 

These criteria consider a bidder’s suitability:

  • To pursue a professional activity,
  • Their economic and financial standing
  • Their technical and professional ability

Selection criteria and must be relevant to the contract.

Award Criteria

Award criteria are used to determine which bidder is best placed to deliver, and which should be awarded, the contract.  You have the discretion to determine what award criteria to apply in relation to your specific procurement exercise. 

In all cases award criteria must be proportionate, and should relate to the goods or services to be provided.

What is the Difference Between Selection and Award?

The distinction between selection and award criteria is crucially important:

  • Selection criteria are focused on "the bidder"
  • Award criteria are focused on "the bid”.

You must maintain a clear distinction between both throughout the procurement process.

This means that issues/questions which are appropriate to the selection criteria must be addressed at that stage and cannot form part of the award stage.  This is the case even if they were omitted from the selection stage in error and vice versa.

Example areas that are commonly known as "selection" and "award" criteria are listed in the table below:

Selection Criteria

Award Criteria

Business probity

Price

Technical and professional qualifications, capability including experience

Quality

Economic and financial standing

(Further examples provided below)

When Do the Exclusion, Selection and Award Stages Occur?

The selection and award criteria must be developed and managed  separately.  It is possible to conduct these stages simultaneously or in any order where the procedure allows. 

For examples: when using a two stage procedure you  may assess the award stage prior to checking the minimum selection criteria are met when only a small number of bids have been received.

By applying exclusion grounds and developing relevant and proportionate selection and award criteria you can ensure the successful bidders are well placed to deliver best value for the Scottish public sector.

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria and the Evaluation matrix may assist you in your evaluation if you are not using PCS-T. More information on evaluation criteria can be found on the Award Criteria station.

Exclusion grounds, selection and award criteria must be clearly defined in the call for competition and/or procurement documents.  This will ensure a common understanding of the requirements by all bidders. 

These must not be changed or waived during the procurement process e.g. the Contract Notice and the call for competition should contain a list and brief description of criteria regarding the personal situation of bidders that may lead to their exclusion, and minimum and specific requirements detailed. 

Reserved Contracts

A supported business:

  •  has a main aim of the social and professional integration of disabled or disadvantaged persons;
  • has at least 30% of its employees are disabled or disadvantaged workers

You can “reserve” your competition to  supported businesses where it is assessed as appropriate. 

The Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 places a requirement on an  organisation: to:

  • before starting the procurement to consider how the procurement process is conducted i.e. how to help involving  Supported Businesses
  • if Supported Businesses can be involved then  act in a way to support this involvement.

SPPN 4/2017 provides further information and guidance on Reserving Contracts For Supported Businesses.  This includes whether it meets the definition of a supported business for the purposes of public procurement legislation.  Other important aspects included are:

Identifying Supported Businesses - Given the change in definition there is an opportunity for Supported Businesses to participate further in procurement, and the coming years may see an increase both in organisations who qualify as supported businesses for public procurement legislation purposes and in services and goods provided by supported businesses. Procurement Officers may therefore want to carry out some market research as part of the commodity/service strategy to determine whether that particular procurement exercise is suitable to be tendered under reserved contract procedures. There are a number of ways in which a Procurement Officer might go about doing so.  For example, the advertising portal, Public Contracts Scotland (PCS), alerts Procurement Officers to the existence of Supported Businesses that could possibly deliver their contract. When public bodies enter the commodity they wish to purchase, the portal will highlight Supported Businesses which could potentially meet that requirement. Public bodies may also wish to refer to the on-line register of supported businesses which is incorporated into a ‘refreshed’ Ready for Business ‘RfB Third Sector Register’ that is embedded within Partnership for Procurement website P4P and maintained by P4P.

It is important to note that both PCS and the on-line register of supported businesses rely on suppliers self-declaring whether they meet the definition and therefore does not constitute evidence in its own right that a supplier is a supported business in terms of the legislation. Procurement Officers will need to carry out their own due diligence to satisfy themselves the definition has been met.

There is also a framework agreement for Supported Businesses put in place by the Scottish Government. This framework includes four lots, covering: furniture and associated products, document management; textiles/personal protective equipment; and signage. Further information on how to place contracts through the framework can be found in the buyers’ guide. The current framework agreement expires on 11 September 2018.

Monitoring and Reporting - Under the 2014 Act, public bodies with an annual procurement spend equal to or greater than £5 million are required to publish an annual procurement report. One of the mandatory elements to be included in the report is “a summary of any steps taken to facilitate the involvement of supported businesses in regulated procurements during the year covered by the report”. Statutory guidance on procurement strategies and annual procurement reports can be accessed from the Scottish Government website.

 

Group Bids

Groups of suppliers can act together to bid and do not need to take a particular legal form to do so.

You can set contract conditions which are specific to a group bid.

You  can explicitly state requirements regarding group economic and financial standing or the criteria relating to technical and professional ability.  Such conditions must be justified by objective reasons and be proportionate to the contract. 

Depending on the extent to which suppliers will be relied on to perform the contract, you may require particular members of the supplier group to meet all or some of the election criteria.

You may request the supplier group to take a legal form, if required for the performance of the contract, if the supplier group is to be awarded the contract.

Care and Support Services

Consider the involvement of people who use services and their carers in developing any criteria, preparing questions for use in interviews with potential service providers, and the nature and level of support they will require. An organisation must determine at the planning stage what criteria it will use to select potential suppliers, and what criteria it will use to evaluate tenderer. The mandatory exclusion ground must be applied and an organisation may also choose to apply discretionary exclusion ground, selection criteria and award criteria.

Exclusion Criteria

Care and Support Services mandatory exclusion grounds (regulation 8(1) of the Procurement (Scotland) Regulations 2016) must be applied to all procurements, and you can also choose to apply the discretionary exclusion grounds.

Selection Criteria

The provisions in Procurement (Scotland) Regulations 2016 in respect of selection criteria do not apply. However, you may choose to use the SPD (Scotland) for this purpose without amending the questions, and it is a matter of best practice to do so.

Evaluation Criteria

An organisation may take account of some other issues when procuring services including:

  • the quality of the service;
  • the continuity of the service;
  • the affordability of the service;
  • the availability and comprehensiveness of the service;
  • the accessibility of the service;
  • the needs of different types of service users;
  • the involvement of service users; and
  • innovation.

This is not an exhaustive list and there may be other considerations that an organisation may also take account of and which are relevant on a case-by-case basis.

Please read the Guidance on Contract Renewal and Direct Award without Competition which can be found at the bottom of the page in the documents section. 

Prompt Payment

If your contract will require sub-contractors (and sub-sub contractors) you should evaluate at award stage how bidders will ensure payment of sub-contractors   throughout your supply chain.  Payment should be made within the standard 30 day payment terms and bidders should communicate how this will be managed.

All public bodies advertising requirements which may require the use of sub-contractors should adopt the statement:

Standard Prompt Payment Statement

Confirmation that you will include the standard clause in all contracts used in the delivery of the requirements, ensuring payment of sub-contractors at all stages of the supply chain within 30 days,  include a point of contact for sub-contractors to refer to in the case of payment difficulties and provide evidence and reports to the contracting authority on a regular basis.

If a bidder is unable to confirm acceptance of the award statement then they should be removed from the tendering process.

All exclusion, selection and award criteria must be relevant and proportionate to the subject matter of the contract.  You should set out your specific requirements, the relevant exclusion grounds and the minimum standards that are relevant for your procurement exercise in the Contract Notice.

Statutory Guidance has been published on Selection of Tenderers and Award of Contracts.

Any documents you need are listed below

Evaluation Matrix

(file type: xlsx)

Route 2

When developing your specification it is important to engage as early as possible with the supply base and relevant technical team e.g. if ICT or fleet requirements are being purchased. This is important in terms of:

  • identifying the desired outcomes,
  • Identifying risks and issues
  • early supplier feedback on: how the outcomes might be achieved; the risks and issues as they see them, feedback on timescales, feasibility and affordability.

It is best practice to ensure that suppliers are contractually required to provide line item spend details and this can be detailed as part of your specification.

Types of Specification

There are different types of specification, further detailed below.

Technical Specification and Standards

Output/Performance Specification

Design Specification

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

Specification Contents

A list of what you should include in your specification, where relevant to your procurement exercise.

Life Cycle Costing

You can apply life cycle costing as part of the specification and subsequent evaluation. 

Life cycle costing takes into account all of the identifiable costs of a product or service from its purchase to  use, maintenance and end of life (recycling / disposal). 

These can be direct costs like scheduled maintenance and energy used through the life of a road sweeping vehicle and also less apparent external environmental costs such as the cost of emissions of greenhouse gas based on the energy use of the road sweeping vehicle.

These costs can only be assessed when:

  • based on criteria that don’t favour or disadvantage any potential bidders;
  • The assessment method is accessible to all interested parties;
  • The data required can be provided with reasonable effort from all interested parties.  This includes parties from other countries..

If using a life-cycle costing approach to award a contract, the Procurement Documents must state:

  • The data bidders will provide
  • The method used to calculate the life-cycle cost

It is important to differentiate between Whole Life Costing, Lifecycle Costing and Lifecycle Impact Mapping:

Whole Life Costing

Lifecycle Costing

Lifecycle Impact Mapping

Cyber Security

The specification should:

  • Focus on outputs required without being prescriptive as to the method the supplier should use to provide it (output specification)
  • Be sufficiently tight so that the product or service fits the user's needs, but not so explicit that it discourages the supplier from proposing innovative solutions that optimise Value For Money (VFM)
  • Consider whether to include special conditions relating to the performance of the contract.  This may cover economic, innovation-related, environmental, social or employment-related conditions e.g. community benefit clauses
  • Include criteria for acceptance of the products or services
  • Include service levels and a process for measuring ongoing performance
  • Avoid over-specification of performance (more than "Fit for Purpose" or than is actually required) to ensure procurement at the optimum balance of whole life cost and quality
  • Take account of any e-Commerce requirements
  • Consider and communicate minimum cyber security requirements where these form part of award criteria
  • Comply with the Sustainable Procurement Duty
  • Detail environmental and climate performance levels, where appropriate
  • Take into account suitability of design for all users and specify a conformity assessment e.g. ensuring a web site meets accessibility standards through specifying appropriate font sizes
  • Take account of relevant legislation e.g. health and safety and equality
  • Take account of all licensing requirements that a supplier must have in order to operate in a particular industry/sector and which are relevant to the performance of the contract, e.g. a supplier of water and waste water services must hold a current retail license for the provision of water and waste services in Scotland

Cyber Risks

If the contract will involve, support or rely on the digital processing of information, organisations should ensure that appropriate consideration is given to potential cyber risks and their management.

Further information on how to assess and manage cyber risks as part of the procurement process can be found in the Scottish public sector Guidance Note on Supplier Cyber Security Buyers may also optionally make use of the Cyber Security Procurement Support Tool to assess cyber risks and generate minimum cyber security requirements as part of award criteria. More information can be found in Leadership and Governance.

 

Labels

If you purchase goods or services with specific environmental, social or other characteristics labels can be used as a means of proof.  The label will show the supplied goods or services correspond to the required characteristics.  An example of a label that addresses workforce issues is that provided by the Fairtrade Foundation.

Using Samples, Patterns, etc., in Specifications

Samples or patterns may be issued or requested from suppliers when you cannot produce a detailed description of the requirement.

It is best practice to keep a "sealed sample" for later comparison with the products supplied. Samples, patterns and drawings may also form part of a design specification.

Any samples that are no longer required should be returned to the tenderer.

Care should be taken that copyright is not breached when using samples, patterns etc. for specification purposes. Consideration needs to be given to the Intellectual Property Rights of the tenderers.

Simplification and Variety Reduction

Simplification and variety reduction techniques can help in reducing costs and in obtaining better Value for Money (VFM).

Specification simplification and variety reduction involves removing design complexities.  For example by removing different design types, sizes, grades etc. .

This can be a valuable tool when creating a specification for large collaborative procurements.

Contract Implementation/Contract and Supplier Management

You will consider how the contract quality and performance of goods and services of will be measured as you develop your specification, especially an output specification.

These factors should be included into the Management Information (MI) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you require from your supplier(s).  MI and KPIs will be included in your ITT and Terms and Conditions.

It is also best practice that suppliers are contractually required to provide line item spend detail as part of their contract support.

Review and Sign Off

The key criteria that the User Intelligence Group (UIG) needs to ensure are met when completing the specification are:

  • Requirements are complete and accurate
  • Stakeholders’ needs are taken into account
  • Future developments have been taken into account
  • Consistency with the Organisation’s requirements and objectives.  This includes: business case; relevant legislation; procurement and contracts strategies; sustainability objectives and evaluation strategy
  • Risk assessment completed to ensure that related risks are closed or managed
Route 2

The conclusion of any contract is the ideal time to review how well the contract performed.

You should explore lessons learned: these can inform future contract terms or strategies. The Organisation should determine what worked well and any areas which could be improved.

All those involved with the bid and/or contract, both in your organisation and the bidder organisations, should be asked for feedback.  This could include a variety of roles e.g. contract managers, procurement officers, logistics, estate managers, etc.


Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

Lessons Learned - Example Questions

Lessons learned could consider, for example:

  • What worked well and what didn't work?

  • What areas of the contract were most important to you and your organisation?

  • Were any innovations implemented and if so, what value-add did they deliver?

  • The total of the contract including staff costs, and costs which were not anticipated at the planning stage;

  • The total savings achieved on contract value;

  • Any impact of the exercise on the market.

  • Where there processes/practices used that could be improved upon or are not needed at all?

  • Can ICT (Information and Communications Technology) systems be used in any way to improve performance?

Care and Support Services

For Care and Support Services, please read the Care and Support Services Lessons Learned Guidance.

Any documents you need are listed below

YOU HAVE NOW COMPLETED ROUTE 2 HOWEVER PLEASE REMEMBER TO CONTINUALLY UPDATE YOUR STRATEGY.

Route 2

The purpose of Contract and Supplier Management is to work closely with suppliers and internal customers to:

  • minimise the total cost of ownership and
  • to maximise Supply Chain efficiencies.

Contract and Supplier Management should result in contract procedure and process improvements.  It should also increase Procurement Function knowledge and experience which can then be used to benefit future contracts.  This can be done by:

Relationships

developing and managing constructive and transparent relationships with suppliers

Execution

ensuring the contract is successfully executed.  Includes meeting all special conditions relating to the performance of the contract which may cover economic, innovation-related, environmental, social or employment-related conditions

Value for money

maximising value for money from suppliers and contracts

Monitoring & improvement

providing a formalised system of monitoring, managing and continuously improving the supplier and the Organisation’s performance against the contract

Roles and responsibilities

ensuring that all parties recognise and understand their contractual roles and responsibilities

Compliance

monitoring overall compliance to Key Performance Indicators and Service Level Agreements.  Implementing improvement plans in the event of underperformance.  Leveraging supplier expertise in pursuit of cost and efficiency gains

Improved benefits

realising additional savings and benefits and sharing them appropriately

Supply Chain

effectively managing the prompt payment of the supply chain

Innovation

providing a focus for development of initiatives and innovations

Continuous improvement

driving continuous improvement

Lessons learned

identifying lessons learned to inform future contract terms or strategies

Efficiency

developing supplier relationships to maximise efficiency.  Collaborate towards common goals and reduce waste, environmental or social risks

Strategic goals

Support the achievement of strategic goals, such as attracting Community Benefits through the contract

Sustainable procurement

monitoring Sustainable Procurement benefits through the life of the contract and ensuring that targets are met

Community benefits

measuring Community Benefits achieved vs anticipated

Care should also be taken to manage risks to changes in contracts e.g. you may require to retender if there is a substantial modification.

Vision

The overarching vision of Contract and Supplier Management is that it should :

  • ensure that the service/contract is delivered to the required standards;

  • provide value for money;

  • proactively identify and manage any risks e.g. which may impact on a supplier’s service delivery/ fulfilment of contract requirements;

  • improve and develop contract and supplier performance across organisations, sectors and nationally.  A consistent approach will maximise efficiencies and promote adding value across the supply base;

  • appropriately influence supplier activity and decisions improving value for money, over and above cost savings;

  • ensure the contract is effectively administered, for example from a change management perspective.

You should frequently aim to improve your own and supply base performance by various techniques.

Definition and Importance

Definition

Contract Management and Supplier Management differ.

Supplier Management refers to activities across a supplier’s whole portfolio of contracts.  These activities are normally more strategic, longer term activities.  Some examples are a project to move to reuseable pallets for all products and contracts delivered by the supplier.  Or for a stationery supplier, moving to a new on-line catalogue ordering system.

Contract Management applies to the specific contract for the good(s) or service(s) being procured. For example, increasing the quality of refuse sacks to meet UK requirements.  Amending the hours worked by staff on a security contract.

However, although different Contract Management and Supplier Management are linked.  It is very difficult to perform effective Supplier Management if  basic Contract Management disciplines are not in place. It would be difficult to discuss strategic partnerships, innovation or joint ventures if you do not understand the supplier contract details .  You need to understand how the supplier is performing day to day.

Effective Contract Management is therefore necessary for successful Supplier Management.

Importance of Contract Management at Board/Senior Management Level

An effective Contract Management strategy should be a high priority for Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) or Chief Operating Officers (Accounting Officers) and the Senior Management Teams.

Effective contract management is necessary for an efficient and compliant business. Contracts must be managed: especially those which deliver services, provide infrastructure or third party essentials.

Central functions of an Organisation’s Contract Management strategy should include:

  • complying with corporate governance regulations,

  • managing risk and

  • eliminating or reducing cost (not by impacting supply chain efficiency or profit) and

  • maximising revenue streams.

Managing the contract information, obligations and the  contract lifecycle are critical to meeting compliance regulations. This means that the entire process needs to be sponsored at an executive level.  This includes:

  • contract creation,

  • clarity of final agreement,

  • management (say) in a central electronic repository, and

  • integration of contract data with back-end systems and contract performance reporting,

The above need to be rolled-out to the entire organisation (for at least the most critical/high impact contracts).

Robust Contract Management will reduce risk to your Organisation.  This includes issues such as Conflicts of Interest and Fraud.

Your Organisation must consider these areas as a vital part of its governance.  You must ensure all appropriate measures are taken to prevent, identify and remedy conflicts of interest.  Including measures to combat fraud through the life of the contract.

Benefits

Both you and suppliers should be motivated and enabled to deliver additional value.  This should be done within legal limits and, over and above that  specified in the original contract, e.g. not simply extending the expenditure. The process should deliver benefits such as:

Routes of engagement

provide formal routes of engagement at different levels of management.  This allows opportunities for improvement at senior levels

Supply costs

ensure supply costs are contained and minimized, and that opportunities for improving cost effectiveness and efficiencies are explored and progressed e.g. packaging, service level definition

Deliver business needs

proactively ensure that the business needs under the contract are delivered.  Ensure both customer and supplier’s obligations are understood and managed.  Reduce reactive ‘incident resolution activity’ to minimising the cost of failure and of managing the relationship

Issue resolution

promote proactive issue resolution.  Ensure clear escalation paths exist within both organisations

Standardisation

Use a standardised approach for a number of suppliers/customers.  This will embed operational efficiency, consistency and quality

Consistency

limit the number of people involved.  This ensures process consistency and communication.  It makes the right people involved in the right activities at the right time with the right information

Improvements

encourage the supplier to improve their product or service in ways which provide additional value to the customer and to future customers.  Promote efficiencies within both organisations which will develop the skills of the employees and help the supplier’s staff to deliver a better service

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

Continuous Improvement

There are a number of formal and informal continuous improvement methods.  These range from: full continuous improvement programmes; to organisational collaboration; and improved internal and external communication.

One of the key continuous improvement tools used in the Scottish Public Sector is the Procurement and Commercial Improvement Programme (PCIP).  This is designed to drive forward best practice and develop procurement activity.

 Contract & Supplier Management can be considered successful when:

  • the arrangements for service delivery continue to be satisfactory to both parties, and the expected business benefits and value for money are being achieved or exceeded

  • the supplier is efficient, co-operative and responsive

  • the Organisation understands its obligations under the contract

  • there are no surprises

  • there are no disputes

  • professional and objective discussions over changes and issues are straightforward and easily managed

  • efficiencies are being realised

  • the Organisation’s procurement department contract and market knowledge improves, and benefits future contracts

Contract Management for Joint Procurements

If entering  a joint procurement exercise with one or more public sector organisations you will have already agreed the legal status and requirements of such an exercise.

A “lead” authority may have been agreed at strategy stage.  Legally they are responsible for forming the contract with the awarded supplier(s.

Alternatively a truly “joint” exercise may be initiated.  Here procurement conduct is  carried out in the joint name(s) of the participating organisations. 

In either case, the organisations each remain responsible for meeting their contractual obligations.

Where you have determined only part of the procurement will operate as a joint exercise, the organisations will be jointly responsible for those activity areas declared as joint.  Each organisation will retain sole responsibility for the activities carried out on its own behalf.

All of above factors determine the subsequent approach to contract management.  Although considered at Strategy Development stage when deciding subsequent practical considerations these must remain a factor when determining the operational approach such as:

  • who is responsible for contract management,
  • how Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will be managed and communicated and
  • the reporting / communication network needed both between your organisations and the supplier(s).

Data Protection

Organisations should build sufficient checks into their contract management activities.  This includes ensuring suppliers are meeting the Data Protection legislation.

If these obligations are not being met you should take urgent remedial action with the supplier to address issues and risks.

More detailed information can be found in Additional Resources.

Route 2

This section outlines the process and activities involved with implementing a new contract.  This ensures:

  • supplier(s) have all the information they require to plan user’s migration to the new contract
  • users have all the information they require  e.g. suppliers’ contact details, information on the goods/services available from the contract
  • continuity of supply

Contract implementation consists of two distinct phases:

Migration The movement of organisations to a new contract post "go-live".
Mobilisation The process of moving from contract award to "go-live" i.e. the point when a user can actually buy from the contract.

Note: Some steps in the process may be done at the same time.

The mobilisation process above is a guide to help plan activities between contract award and go live. The timescales for each of the stages should be amended to reflect your own specific procurement exercise.

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


Communication

Below are the key considerations for communicating the contract.  These should be considered in your communications plan (this is intended as a guide rather than being prescriptive:

Why?

Having completed the procurement to the point of award it is essential that it be correctly communicated. Communication and of the subsequent procedures is an important part of ensuring compliance.  It also maximises the planned benefit(s) from the procurement exercise.

Who?

You must know who you are targeting with your communications. During  strategy development you should have identified all key stakeholders from suppliers to end users. You should consider communications in terms of the three areas below, for each of the identified stakeholder groups.

What?

What is your communication about? Be clear on and decide your key and supporting messages. Ensure that the subject is appropriate for the correct audience (stakeholder group) and  the communication stays focused on the appropriate subject, what they need to know and what is expected of them.

 

When?

Plan and consider  your communications timings carefully, in line with the implementation process.  Your communications must

  • arrive in good time and
  • allow  the audience to understand t the information
  • allow the audience to  then act upon or respond within the timescales.

 Communication should take place at the start, throughout and at the end of the process..

How?

You must consider how you  to communicate to your audience.  This can be determined by the stakeholder audience you are targeting. You may also wish to consider (but not limited to):

  • Newsletters – stakeholder community
  • Intranet/internet article – public audience
  • e-zines – targeted group
  • e-mail – small targeted group
  • Roadshows – specific bidders or the general supplier community

Accessibility requirements of your audience and accessibility legislation should be considered.


Care and Support Services - Communication and Transitional Arrangements

Communication

Communication with people who use services and their carers

Having finalised and agreed the procurement plan, an organisation should communicate its intentions to people who use the services and also their carers/representatives. It is important that an organisation provides clear information at this stage and that this information is tailored to the particular audience.

In these communications an organisation should explain:

  • how long it will take to decide who will provide the service;

  • what will happen at different times in the process;

  • how people who use the services and their carers will be involved in the process;

  • who will make the final decisions and how these will be made;

  • (where appropriate) why there may be a change in service provider; and,

  • how service provision may change as a result of the procurement process.

An organisation should also provide contact details for further information.

An organisation should ensure that people who use services and also their carers have help to understand the process and what, if anything, they are being asked about. It should also ensure that these people have sufficient time to consider how they might be affected and to formulate their views before having to respond

Transitional Arrangements

It is important that this stage of the procurement process is managed successfully to ensure minimum disruption to people who use services and their carers. This will require close co-operation between different teams within an organisation and between it and service providers.

This is particularly important where the outcome of the procurement exercise involves the transfer of an existing service to a new service provider. This is because there is some potential for the transfer process to be demanding and consume significant amounts of staff time. An organisation should facilitate the transfer of accurate, up to date information to the new service provider and ensure that the handover arrangements are appropriate and fully implemented.

Service providers will need to satisfy the Care Inspectorate that it can adhere to the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 and Regulations and also meet the relevant National Care Standards. The Care Inspectorate can take up to approximately six months to register a new care service. This depends on a range of issues, including provision of a competent application and the complexity of the service being provided.

Where an existing service provider seeks to deliver a new service under the existing registered care services, this should be discussed with the Care Inspectorate. It may be possible to vary the registration to include the new contract. However, consideration would need to be given to: the current conditions of registration; the size of the service; management and staff support arrangements; geography; client group and needs of those people who use services; transferability of staff across the service; staff skills and training; and the aims and objectives of the service.

If a service provider applies to cancel its registration, it is legally required to state whether notice has been given to those people who use the services and their carers about the changes to its service and how their needs will be met if the application to cancel is approved by the Care Inspectorate. An organisation should provide the necessary support and information to a service provider to enable it to meet its legal obligations.

An organisation which is outsourcing a service or bringing a service back in-house will have to meet its legal obligations under the TUPE Regulations. It should, in all such cases, seek legal advice on application of the TUPE Regulations. In other cases involving the transfer of an existing service, an organisation should consider whether it needs to take any action, for example to facilitate the exchange of information between service providers, should the TUPE Regulations apply.

Post Award Supplier Meeting

The first meeting with the successful supplier should be held as soon as possible after contract award.

The purpose of this meeting is to:

  • discuss the contract implementation phase
  • agree roles and responsibilities,
  •  identify activities
  •  and agree timescales.

You must keep in regular contact with the supplier during the contract implementation phase, scheduling additional meetings and communications.

Content Management

If your commodity/service is deemed catalogue able you should set up the successful tenderer on the Pecos Content Management (CCM) system.  This ensures you can prepare the catalogues.

CCM will not be appropriate for Care and Support Services.

The process of content management from start to finish can take weeks.  It is mainly dependent on the size (number of line items) and number of catalogues involved.  This process involves:

  • receiving initial catalogue data from suppliers

  • checking catalogue content

  • validation checks and calrifications

  • testing (of data and systems used)

  • training (internally and of stakeholders)

  • communications (internally and to stakeholders)

  • issue to end user organisations. 

  • Ongoing data checks, updates and system upgrades (following the above stages)

It is essential to allow enough time  for the completion of prior to the contract or framework go live.

Buyer/End User Information Packs

You may wish to create an information pack for organisations and/or users which contains key contract information including:

  • details of the contract goods and services available
  • contract prices
  • supplier contact details
  • ordering information
  • returns and delivery processes
  • complaints process
  • escalation process
  • contract and supplier management process

This information pack should demonstrate how the contract delivers best value and provides information  on contract benefits  e.g. savings, KPIs, improvements in quality and service, etc 

An example of an information pack is provided in the Postal Services End User Guide example below. This is a detailed example.  Every information pack must be proportionate to the size and complexity of the procurement, therefore your information pack may be much smaller.

Supplier/Buyer Events

A useful way to raise awareness of the contract amongst potential customers is to organise Supplier/Buyer events to give both parties an opportunity to meet each other.  An example of the presentation can be found in the Contract Implementation Slides.

This is also a good opportunity to distribute information packs/ buyers' guides.

Documents you may find useful

Route 2

You should now be at a stage where you have identified the successful tenderer(s).

From a fraud awareness perspective, the following checks should be made before progressing to the next stage.

Tender Award Documentation

Before a you award a contract you should check the following points:

  • Who was involved in the tender award process?
  • Have there been any changes in staff from those involved during the tender evaluation?
  • Did any of the tenderers drop out of the process and decide not to proceed with the tender? Consider if an unknown agreement has been made.
  • Review the list of suppliers/sub-contractors. Are they the same as other bidders involved in the tender exercise? Such circumstances can lead to a pre-determined outcome and therefore it would be irrelevant who is awarded the work. This may identify cartel operating.

Tender Award

 A Contract Award recommendation report should be prepared by you prior to approval by the appropriate authority level within your Organisation.  This recommendation report should be endosed by the User Intelligence Group.

Checklist

Checklist

Award Recommendations Report Checklist

Once you have obtained approval you can notify both the successful and unsuccessful tenderers of the outcome.

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

Communication to Unsuccessful Tenderer(s)

As soon as possible you should:

  • advise any unsuccessful tenderer of the reasons for the rejection of its request to participate
  • inform any unsuccessful tenderer of the reasons for the rejection of its tender.  This should include any decision that the goods or services do not meet the performance or functional requirements
  • confirm the name of the successful tenderer, the criteria on which the contract was awarded and the score of the successful tenderer.

If requested, you also have to provide the characteristics and relative advantages of the successful tender, within 30 days of request.

Information should also be provided to tenderers about the grounds for any decision:

  • Not to conclude a Framework Agreement that has been advertised
  • Not to award a contract that has been advertised
  • To restart the procurement procedure

Your Organisation may withhold Contract Award information where the release of such information:

  • would prevent the enforcement of the law or
  • be contrary to the public interest, or
  • would affect the commercial interests of particular tenderer(s), whether they are public or private,
  • or may impact fair competition between tenderers.

Any tenderer may request additional information regarding the tendering process. You should respond in a timely fashion to any such requests.

If PCS-Tender is being utilised, the notification can be issued electronically through this system.

Where you have not built an electronic catalogue as part of the tender process and the commodity/service is deemed to be catalogueable, you should set up the successful tenderer on the Pecos Content Management System (PCM) to ensure that you can prepare the catalogues.

PCM is not appropriate for Care and Support Services.

For complex regulated procurements, you may find some of the guidance and tools in Route 3 to be of benefit.

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

Route 2

This section provides you with guidance to conduct Post Tender Clarifications and Negotiation where appropriate.

It is important that any discussions at this stage are fully documented.

For complex regulated procurements, you may find some of the guidance and tools in Route 3 to be of benefit.

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

Tender Clarifications

The objective at the clarification stage is to clarify the tenders as submitted i.e. it is contact between you and the bidder(s) purely to clarify aspects of the tender which are unclear or abnormal.

Tender, or bid clarifications, may be required during the evaluation of tenders.  This may be the case where aspects of the bid:

  • are unclear or contain minor errors e.g. arithmetical mistakes and/or
  • seem strange. For example, if a bid appears abnormally low or especially high on price.
  • require clarification  on quality performance or particular terms and conditions of contracts.

In seeking clarification, all communications with tenderers must be properly recorded so that an audit trail is maintained. If PCS-Tender is being utilised, this can be recorded on the system in the messaging area.

You should examine bids to ensure that tenderers:

  • are not making fraudulent claims, and

  • have delivered similar types of work, if they have claimed to do so.

In doing so the following points should be considered:

Checklist

Checklist

Post Tender Clarification - Points to Consider

A checklist of points to consider once you have received all bids.

All tenderers who meet the tender requirements should be given the same opportunity to engage in tender/bid clarification.

Extreme caution and care must be used to avoid either unfairness to potential tenderers or the impression of unfairness to some tenderers.

Post Tender Negotiation

Post Tender Negotiation (PTN) should not be confused with 'tender' or 'bid clarification'.

Tender Clarification is contact between you and bidder(s) purely to clarify aspects of the tender which are unclear or abnormal whereas Post Tender Negotiation is contact between you and the leading tenderer (possibly multiple leading tenderers) to improve or enhance Value for Money (VFM).

Post Tender Negotation:

  • is conducted after the receipt of formal tenders and before the award of any contract. It is your role to ensure any PTN does not change the outcome of the competition.
  • should be handled as a separate exercise from Tender Clarification.
  • may be used to refine and improve bid(s) from the preferred bidder(s) to ensure that prices, delivery or associated contract terms are competitive.
  • should not distort competition.  That is a tenderer, who is not clearly in the lead, should not be given a chance to improve its offer. Nor should any changes be made which would result in a contract being awarded on terms more favourable to a tenderer.
  • remains a stage of the procurement process and the competing tenderers must be treated in an honest, fair and ethical manner  Bid confidentiality must be retained.

This list is not meant to be exhaustive.  Any negotiation process requires you to define the points most relevant to the procurement exercise and the specific bid under negotiation.

PTN should be a controlled and documented process. It should not be used automatically on all procurements.

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

Post Tender Negotiation

Before engaging in PTN, the following criteria should be met:

  • there should be a considered approach of improving value for money;
  • the approval of senior management must be sought in advance of any PTN initiation or activity.

A clear "audit trail" should be available to illustrate the process was conducted fairly and transparently.  The PTN record should show:

  • the justification for PTN
  • the approval for PTN (at a suitably senior level of management)
  • the aim of the negotiation
  • the precise record of all exchanges written and verbal.  This should demonstrate the negotiations were conducted by trained and experienced purchasing staff
  • the approval for the award of contract

When carried out with openness and mutual trust negotiations can strengthen relationships with bidders.

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

Example Negotiation Topics

The potential areas for negotiation will differ for every contract.  Typical topics might be the:

  • terms of payment,
  • quality of goods or services,
  • supply and cost of spare parts,
  • earlier delivery or completion dates,
  • warranties and guarantees,
  • documentation requirements,
  • expediting and inspection procedures,
  • maintenance and support,
  • repair or after-sales service,
  • compensation for failure to meet specified requirements (e.g. of delivery, quality etc.),
  • Sustainable Procurement, possible Community Benefits and
  • procedures for remedial action for unsatisfactory service.

 

Negotiations in relation to price or other areas where bid improvements may be possible should not take place.

Abnormally Low Tenders

Where tenders appear abnormally low in relation to the supplies and services being offered, organisations should clarify the price or costs proposed in the tender.

These clarifications may relate to some of the following:

  • the cost of the manufacturing process of the services provided
  • the proposed technical solutions
  • the originality of the supplies or services proposed by the tenderer
  • the tenderers subcontracting arrangements
  • the possibility of the tenderer obtaining state aid

If it is found that the tender is abnormally low due to a breach of environmental, social or employment law obligations it is best practice to reject the tender.  This includes collective agreements and certain international law measures.

Before awarding the contract you should ensure you receive the most up-to-date supporting documents e.g. certificates.  These documents should be requested in the selection stage of the tender. For Framework Agreements this should be done prior to a contract based on the Framework being awarded.

Any documents you need are listed below

Negotiation Process

(file type: doc)

Route 2

This section provides guidance to assist you in maintaining transparency and impartiality throughout the tender evaluation process.

The evaluation of tenders must be robust.  This is because you must be able to provide a full justification and audit trail for your resulting award decision.

Tender evaluation and contract award documentation can be made available under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, if requested. You must ensure that your procurement process can withstand scrutiny.

You must consider planning, sustainable procurement and risk management throughout this stage of the journey.

Route 2

This section of the Procurement Journey provides guidance about the tender stage of the process.

If you are using a two stage process e.g. a Restricted Procedure, you will already have assessed the Selection Stage documentation,  From this you will have determined the bidders you will be inviting to tender. 

If you are not using a two stage process you will issue an Invitation to Tender (ITT) which will include the Selection and Award stage criteria.

It is considered best practice to use PCS-Tender if you have access to it.  PCS-Tender helps you manage tender administration.

Bidder Communications

A Bidders' Meeting is where all tenderers are invited to a venue to discuss the ITT at the same time. 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 should not be shared e.g. it may be innapropriate to reveal project/budget information.

Checklist

Checklist

The meeting should:

Event Actioned?
Start by setting out the agenda and introducing the personnel involved  
Follow with a presentation, setting out the aims of the procurement process and the expected business benefits  
If appropriate, hold a facilities/site tour  
End with a question and answer session  
   
   

Blank rows are provided for your use e.g. to add additional checklist items.

You must make sure that any bidders meeting(s) that you organise are fair to all those who are interested in tendering for your contract.  The content of the meeting should be transparent and available to all.  As an example, all of the questions raised and answers provided should be confirmed in writing and sent to all tenderers whether they attended the meeting or not.

Sufficient time must be allowed for bidders to take account of the Bidders' Meetings.  As a result the ITT closing date should be set a reasonable period after the Bidders meeting.  This will allow bidders time to incorporate what they have learned into their bid.

Tenderers can take notes of the proceedings.

A Bidders' Meeting will not be necessary for every tender exercise. A judgment will have to be made, prior to the issue of the ITT, whether or not such a meeting is required.  If it is required it must be planned into the procurement timetable.

ITT Extensions

When an ITT is issued near to the closing date, the bidders should be made aware it is closing soon.

Changes to a tender closing date should be made if:

  • significant changes are made to the tender documents and/or

  • if information requested by a bidder in a timely fashion has not been supplied.

Extension to a tender time limit should be proportionate to the complexity of the change and /or the additional information being provided.

You must receive the necessary approval to proceed with a tender extension.  This approval must be in accordance with your internal governance procedures.

If the date is amended, the new date should be notified to all tenderers.  If any tenderer has already submitted a bid they should be given the opportunity of withdrawing their original tender.  They can then submit a revised bid in line with the extended tender deadline.

ITT Q&A’s

Communications with all parties during the procurement activity should be coordinated by you.

You must ensure all communications between bidders and your Organisation are fair and transparent. For example, for any bidder question submitted your answer must anonymise the question and circulate your response to all of the bidders involved in the process.

You should provide details in the ITT documentation of the:

  • deadline for bidders to submit questions

  • when you will respond (target timescales) 

The use of an electronic tendering system, for example PCS-Tender, will facilitate the receipt and circulation of questions and answers. Public Contracts Scotland offers similar functionality via the bulletin board.

If you do not use an electronic system, clear instructions and contact details should be provided to the bidders within the ITT documentation.

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