Evaluation Tools

The Evaluation Matrix is a tool that can be used to evaluate submitted bids and identify the one that provides the best value for money. The matrix allows you to score and weight supplier’s responses against the predefined award criteria.

Whilst the evaluation is a key part of determining the outcome of your procurement exercise, you must remember that the outcome of any evaluation is ultimately dependent on the award criteria and weightings that you choose. Therefore, it is key that this criteria accurately describes your need and any minimum requirements that stakeholders need.

The workbook is split into two main worksheets – price and quality criteria.  The price criteria worksheet considers the whole life cost of the project in terms of acquisition, operating and end of life costs.

To maintain the integrity of the process, it is best practice that members of the evaluation panel do not assess both the quality/technical elements and the commercial elements of the tender.

The model was developed in conjunction with statisticians and has been confirmed as fit for purpose in most procurement exercises.  However, as you will be aware, the Procurement Journey does not cover works contracts and we would not recommend it for this use.  If you require any further information on the evaluation of works contracts, you should consult the Construction Procurement Handbook.

Points to Note

  • All formulae are embedded within the template, therefore you only need to enter the values
  • The spreadsheet is based on a scoring methodology of 0-4
  • If an alternative range is more appropriate for your procurement exercise the formula for the weighted score will have to be amended
  • If PCS-Tender is being used, percentage scoring is required and the weightings input onto the system therefore the Evaluation Matrix is not required

Any documents you need are listed below

Evaluation Matrix

(file type: xlsx)

Price Evaluation

You should complete the price/commercial evaluation of tenders.

To enable an easier comparison, you should include a price schedule (or use the commercial envelope if PCS-Tender is being used).  This should include a breakdown of the product/service areas for bidders to complete.

The evaluation should identify and compare all the costs and benefits' which can be quantified in monetary terms.

Costing Models

In order to achieve the Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT) you can select from several costing models to support your procurement exercise. This ensures that the evaluation is more than simply a “price for price” comparison.

It is important to differentiate between whole life costing and lifecycle costing.

Whole Life Costing: 

Focuses solely on the cost (£) of a product or service from cradle to grave. It takes into account acquisition, operation, ownership and disposal costs.  It does not take into consideration any environmental or social costs.

Life-cycle Costing: 

Life-cycle costing covers part or all of the following costs over the life cycle of a product or service:

a) costs produced by the Organisation or other users, such as:

 (i) costs relating to acquisition;

(ii) costs of use, such as consumption of energy and other resources;

(iii) maintenance costs;

(iv) end of life costs, such as collection and recycling costs; and

(b) costs attributed to environmental factors linked to the product or service during its life cycle.  The monetary value of these factors must be  able to be determined and verified. This may include the cost of emissions of greenhouse gases and of other pollutant emissions and other climate change mitigation costs.

The use of life-cycle costing can support your organisation in meeting the requirements of the Sustainable Procurement Duty. 

Lifecycle Impact Mapping: 

Focuses on social and environmental impact rather than cost.

Life cycle impacts help the user identify and assess impacts. For example, it may help to focus attention on the disposal phase before the procurement is carried out. This would allow your organisation to build end-of-life management requirements into its performance clauses for successful contractors and its own internal management procedures

Every product and service has a ‘life cycle’ or number of stages it goes through from:

  • the extraction and sourcing of raw materials, such as mining
  • to the transportation of sub-assemblies and parts, often through a global supply chain
  • to the use of products or works
  • to the delivery of services
  • to the re-use, recycling, remanufacture and
  • to the final disposal of materials.

You should consider a 'whole life costing' approach. This takes account of all costs from cradle to grave (acquisition, operation, ownership and disposal).

Higher value or complex procurements may require the use of investment appraisal techniques (such as discounted cash flow calculations) and the use of life-cycle costing is deemed best practice for the majority of goods and services procurement exercises. In all cases the data to be provided by tenderers and the method for price evaluation should be defined within the Invitation to Tender (ITT) documentation.

Where life-cycle costing or whole life costing has been detailed in the specification; the evaluation should take into account all of the identifiable costs attributable to a product or service from:

  • its acquisition
  • through use,
  • maintenance and
  • end of life (recycling / disposal). 

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

The use of life cycle costing can support your Organisation in meeting the requirements of the Sustainable Procurement Duty.

You may find the Supplier Cost Drivers Checklist useful when developing a pricing schedule.

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

Technical Evaluation

Before starting this stage you will already have assessed and determined the successful tenderers at the Selection Stage.

Technical and quality evaluation is one of the most important stages of the Procurement Journey. This stage of the Journey ensures that:

  • The contract award decision is objective and uses the disclosed criteria
  • The decision making process is fair, transparent and auditable
  • Your Organisation can demonstrate best value in the tender process

Tender Evaluation Timescales

Tender evaluation can only take place once the deadline for tender submissions has passed. The time taken to evaluate the returned submissions will vary from project to project.  This will depend on the complexity and the number of responses received. You should aim to provide approximate timescales for this stage as part of the Invitation to Tender (ITT) document.

Evaluation Panel

An evaluation panel of at least two people should be established. The panel should consist of individuals with the technical ability to evaluate tenders. This may or may not include the buyer. Ideally the panel membership will be consistent throughout the entire process including presentations and site visits.

The evaluation panel should be able to withstand any scrutiny. It is the responsibility of the Organisation to ensure that no member has a conflict of interest which would prevent them from making a fair and objective tender assessment or which might give rise to accusations that they were unable to do so.

The panel members should read and score the quality/technical aspects of the tenders independently. They must use the pre-defined evaluation criteria and scoring system, prior to a moderation meeting taking place.

At the moderation meeting the evaluators come together to agree the final scores. The process to agree the final scores must be fully transparent and documented. You should evaluate the commercial aspects of the tenders separately, including the Price Evaluation

As a matter of good practice, no member of the evaluation panel should assess both the quality/technical elements and the commercial elements of the tender.

The evaluation criteria and scoring methodology should have been determined as part of the Develop Documents stage and published to tenderers in the Invitation to Tender (ITT).

The role of the Procurement Officer in the evaluation panel is to ensure an impartial and objective approach is taken to the evaluation of tenders. Some suggested ”Dos and Don’ts” are listed below:

The tender evaluation stage may be accompanied by Presentations/Site Visits.

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

Do's and Don’ts of Tender Evaluation

Do

Don't

Make note of areas that are unclear for clarification with the bidder

'Read between the lines' or make assumptions

Read the submission at face value and score on the basis of the information provided

Collude with other panel members to agree scoring collectively

Score tenders independently and discuss any irregularities at a Moderation Meeting

Make changes to the evaluation criteria during the process - the criteria MUST be the same as that published in the ITT

Ensure full justification for scoring is provided for each question to assist with debriefing

 

Presentation/Site Visits

Presentations and site visits can be included as part of the evaluation process. These offer the opportunity for the evaluation panel to gain a clearer and deeper understanding of the tenderers proposal.

The purpose and anticipated outcomes of the presentations and site visits must be made clear in the ITT documentation. This should include details of how the visits will count towards the overall evaluation of the tender submissions. Particular care must be taken to maintain transparency and equal treatment.

Details of any scoring for either the presentation or site visit must be pre-agreed and published within the relevant procurement documents.

You should ensure that the focus of these events is around the specification and delivery of the product or service, and not on the characteristics of the tenderer.

Unsuccessful Bids

You should ensure the evaluation panel provides justification of their scoring. This will help when informing unsuccessful tenderers. A full justification of scoring is important and a record should be kept to ensure fairness and transparency of the process.

Comments made should not simply be a restatement of the scoring methodology. For example, if a response is assessed as “Good” it will not be sufficient to state that it is “relevant and good”. Comments must identify the features of the submission itself which justify the particular score. It may also be helpful to record what could have been added to the tender response to secure a higher score.

If PCS-Tender is being used, the justification for scores should be recorded on the system.

Care and Support Services

For the procurement of Care and Support Services, an Organisation should consider whether it is appropriate for people who use the services and their carers to be involved in decision making.  For example, participation in site visits and interviews with service providers or representation on the evaluation panel. The participation of these people must be consistent throughout the process. For example if they are involved in interviews with service providers, they must participate in all of the interviews arranged with service providers. Care must be taken, when involving people who use services and also their carers in the evaluation of tenders, to ensure that they:

  • understand the evaluation process and are clear about their role in it;
  • understand the criteria against which tenderers are to be evaluated;
  • understand their obligation to be objective and impartial and to treat tenderers equally;
  • understand issues relating to the commercial confidentiality of service providers;
  • are able to commit the necessary time; and
  • receive appropriate training and support.

The involvement of people who use services and their carers, if appropriate, in decision making should be considered on a case-by-case basis. It may, for example, be appropriate to involve them in the evaluation of tenders for the delivery of a discrete service for a small number of individuals.

Receipt and Opening of Tenders

Receipt of Tenders

It is best practice to use PCS-Tender for the whole tender process including receipt of tenders, if the buyer has access. Alternatively, Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) can be used to issue and receipt tenders.

 

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

Manual Opening of Tenders

If using a manual system to open tenders, some basic guidelines are provided below:

  • All tenders must be returned to the named individual within the Invitation to Tender (ITT) document

  • Any tenders mistakenly returned to any other person must not be opened.  These should be forwarded immediately to the named individual within the ITT document

  • To ensure tenders remain unopened until the pre-defined tender opening ceremony, the ITT should include a tender return label. The supplier should attach this label on the exterior envelope or package

  • The named individual within the ITT document is responsible for storing the unopened tenders securely. 

What if You Haven’t Received Enough Responses?

It is best practice to obtain at least three tender responses, where possible. Where tenderers issued with a copy of the ITT do not submit a response, you should ask for reasons why.  You should record these reasons on file to aid future strategy development.

If only two tenders are received you should consider whether to:

  • continue with the competition or  
  • review the specification and re-start the process with a view to securing higher levels of engagement.

In making such a decision you should consider:

  • the size of the market,
  • whether the bids received provide sufficient competition  and
  • whether there is a risk that one or more of the tenderers would not participate in a new competition.

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 receiving only one bid, and that bid is compliant, then you may consider continuing.

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. your Head of Procurement, before proceeding.

Late Bids

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

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

If you are in doubt about whether to allow a late bid into the competition professional procurement and/or legal advice should be sought. There must be a clear audit trail of the handling of late bids and any decision taken.

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

It is best practice for you to notify the tenderers if the late tender has been accepted or rejected.

Opening of Tenders

If you are using PCS-Tender, this stage of the Procurement Journey will be automated. You should refer to the specific guidance for this system for information on how to manage this stage. It is important to ensure that you select the sealed tender option on any electronic tender system.

If you do not use PCS-Tender, you should refer to your internal policies and procedures for information on how to manage this stage. If you have no internal policies and procedures you may wish to follow the guidelines outlined below.

Prior to the tender return date you should establish a tender opening board consisting of at least two members of your Organisation's staff. The board is responsible for:

  • opening,
  • checking, and
  • recording the details of the returned tender submissions on the tender opening form.

Checklist

Checklist

Tender Opening Board Checklist

The board must check the following:

Action

Completed?

Tender has been signed and dated by the bidder

 

Price schedule has been completed in accordance with the ITT instructions

 

Standard Conditions of Contract, and all other conditions of contract, issued with the ITT have not been amended, altered or replaced by the bidder

 

Record any omissions in writing, and keep within the registered tender file

 

   
   

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

Note: if a tender is incomplete, or doesn't conform to instructions, it may be disqualified. You should refer to the appropriate person in your Organisation e.g. Head of Procurement, for guidance. 

If a tender is disqualified, inform the bidder in writing at the earliest opportunity. This communication should include the reason(s) for disqualification. 

Retain the completed tender opening form and file as part of the tender audit trail for the procurement. 

Any documents you need are listed below

Tender Opening Form

(file type: docx)

Contract Notice and Advertising

Contract Notices must be used to advertise all Route 2 procurement exercises, other than for Care and Support Services contracts between £50,000 and the light touch threshold.

If you are unable to estimate the value of a contract that contract will be explicitly made subject to the procurement rules.  More information can be found at What Procurement Route Should I Choose? and Thresholds.

Regulation 54(1) of the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015 provides that:

 “a contracting authority must offer on the internet unrestricted and full direct access free of charge to the procurement documents from the date of publication of a notice”

The Regulations define ‘procurement documents’ very widely.  This means the literal interpretation of the above is that all documents related to the procurement must be available at the commencement of a procurement. These documents include:

  • technical specifications, terms and conditions; and
  • tender documents to be used at subsequent stages.

From an operational perspective, however, it is not always practical to have all documents available at the start of the procurement. In general, only in an Open Procedure is an organisation required to make the ITT available from the outset.  For all other procedures, you must provide sufficiently precise information to enable bidders to identify the nature and scope of the requirement.  From this information the bidder can decide whether to request to participate.

Contract Notices

Contract Notices must be published on Public Contracts Scotland (PCS)

PCS is the national advertising portal.  It provides free access for suppliers to contract opportunities and guides buyers through the process of creating a Contract Notice.  

Contract Notices published via PCS will contain all of the mandatory information required. 

It is important that the Contract Notice provides the scope of the requirement, which could include the value, the volume of goods or the nature and extent of services. 

Framework Agreement Contract Notices must clearly identify the bodies which will be entitled to use it.

If the proposed contract is to be a reserved contract, the Contract Notice must state this.

 The Contract Notice must also state:

  • if the organisation intends to hold an electronic auction;

  • if presentation of tenders in the form of electronic catalogues is accepted or required;

  • whether or not variants will be allowed or required; and

  • information in respect of any lots.

Your Contract Notice must state how the bidders will be able to access the Procurement Documentation e.g. if PCS-Tender is used, it must provide the relevant reference numbers for the specific procurement. 

If uploading Procurement Documents to PCS (Advertising) size restrictions currently apply:

  • 10Mb per document and a maximum of 40Mb for the Procurement Officer; and

  • 10Mb per document with a maximum of 30Mb for the Supplier SPD Statements.

The Contract Notice should contain the minimum and specific requirements for your procurement exercise.  You should include statements relating to the relevant SPD.

You should include appropriate statements in the Contract Notice that are aligned to the relevant exclusion and selection questions being used in the SPD for your procurement. 

Standardised statements relating to the SPD questions have been developed.  These support you in adopting a standard approach to defining minimum requirements in your Contract Notice.  

Unlike SPD questions, you can create new or amend the existing standardised statement(s).  These will then be included in the Contract Notice. Any amended or additional statements must reflect the selection criteria and minimum standards of the procurement exercise.

Using a PIN as Advance Notice

You may give advance notice of planned procurements through the publication of a PIN. This can allow potential bidders to prepare themselves to bid in time for the planned contract(s) announced.

  • PINs should contain details of supply and services contracts for which your organisation expects to seek tenders during the next 12 months.
  • The standard PIN form should be used. 
  • The period covered by a PIN should be a maximum of 12 months from the date on which the notice is transmitted for publication.

Publication of Contract Notices

All Contract Notices must be published on Public Contracts Scotland (PCS).

PCS is the national advertising portal which provides suppliers with free access to contract opportunities. It also guides Buyers through the process of creating a Contract Notice on its website.

PCS automatically creates a Contract Notice on the UK Find a Tender Service (FTS).

Your contract notice must set out the specific requirements and minimum standards that are required in the SPD for your process.  These must be relevant and proportionate to the procurement.

If you are using the SPD capability in PCS-T or the SPD Word document you must set out the specific requirements and minimum standards required. This is not necessary if you are using the online SPD Module on PCS asthe relevant information is contained within the module already and done automatically. 

A selection of Standardised Statements has been developed (and is continually updated) to support Buyers in developing their SPD and these can be used as a guide to help you.

 

Care and Support Services

For Route 2 Care and Support Services procurements, you may decide if you wish to advertise the requirement or not. In the case of:

  • direct award without advertising the requirement you only need to publish a Contract Award Notice on PCS, but not a Social and other Specific Services Contract Notice advertising the requirement;

  • advertising the requirement you need to publish a Social and other Specific Services Contract Notice advertising the requirement and also a Contract Award Notice on PCS.

Electronic auctions cannot be used.

EU Funding

From 26 October 2023, OJEU are making changes to the TED portal (https://enotices.ted.europa.eu/contentView?page=index) which means that notifications from PCS will no longer be compatible. Therefore, from that date, notifications relating to transitional and EU funded procurements will no longer be sent to TED from PCS. Organisations still wishing to notify TED of their procurement activity are able to do so themselves. 

PCS will be updated to reflect these changes after 26 October 2023.

Arrangements Prior to 26 October 2023

Since 1 January 2021, (the end of the transition period after EU Exit) higher value notices have been published on the UK e-notification service Find a Tender Service (FTS) as well as appearing on PCS. This replaced the requirement for them to be published on the Official Journal of the European Union (via their TED) system, with two exceptions. Transitional procurements (public sector contract opportunities that were launched but not concluded before 11pm on 31 December 2020) and all notices relating to EU funded procurement exercises, have continued to be published on TED, as well as FTS and PCS. This has been managed automatically by PCS.  This arrangement will cease on 26 October 2023.

If you are in doubt whether your procurement exercise is or is not EU funded, please seek legal advice. 

Please note that the information and guidance provided in the Procurement Journey routes are not designed to cover the specifics that are often applicable to such procurement exercises and we would always advise you to seek specific legal guidance where you need further support.

Invitation to Tender

The activities at this stage must be carefully managed to support the Principles of Procurement.

As a minimum processes must be undertaken in a transparent manner,  ensuring no market place distortion.

The procurement process cannot unduly favour or disadvantage a supplier. It is your responsibility to ensure these requirements are met. 

Access to the ITT and any related documents should be non-discriminatory, generally available and free of charge.

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

Invitation to Tender Document Contents

A quickfire guide for the sections you should include in your ITT, where relevant to your procurement.

Availability of Invitation to Tender Documents

When using a two stage process, documents will only be made available to bidders who have passed the selection stage.  Invitations to submit a tender should be issued simultaneously to all bidders and in writing. 

If you are not using a separate selection stage, ITTs should be issued on request to any interested supplier.  This can be at any point prior to the tender submission date set.

Where ITT documents cannot be issued electronically (for example because the information is sensitive or the contract is of a nature that requires specialised tools and/or files) then you can use other means to issue the documents. If you do this, it would be good practice to increase the tender time limit by five working days to allow for this extra process.

Evaluation Criteria, including Financial Criteria

The evaluation criteria and weightings must be published within the Contract Notice. 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
  • Life-cycle costing where appropriate. 
  • Risk analysis and financial appraisal (for major contracts of strategic importance, especially those of an innovative nature).

To support this process, as you are developing the documentation you will draw information from the Develop Strategy stage of the Procurement Journey. 

It is best practice to agree the evaluation criteria with the User Intelligence Group (UIG). These criteria will identify which eligible tenderer(s) will deliver best value for money for the organisation, based on the Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT).

Life-cycle Impact Mapping

You should identify the Most Economically Advantageous Tender, assessed on the criteria linked to the contract's subject matter.  This should include price or cost evaluation using a cost effectiveness approach.  A cost effectiveness approach may include Life-cycle Impact Costing.

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

Whole Life Costing:  Focuses solely on the cost (£) of a product or service from cradle to grave. It takes into account acquisition, operation, ownership and disposal costs.  It does not take into consideration any environmental or social costs.

Lifecycle Costing:  This covers part or all of the following costs over the life cycle of a product or service:

a) costs produced by the Organisation or other users, such as:

 (i) acquisition costs

(ii) usage costs such as energy consumption and other resources;

(iii)maintenance costs;

iv)end of life costs, such as collection and recycling costs

(b) external environmental  costs linked to the product or service during its life cycle.  This is only included if the  monetary value of these costs can be calculated and verified. This may include the cost of emissions of greenhouse or other pollutants and/or other climate change mitigation costs.

Lifecycle Impact Mapping:  Focuses on social and environmental impact rather than cost.

Life-cycle impact mapping helps you identify and assess impacts. For example, you may focus attention on the disposal phase before beginning the procurement.  This then allows you  to build end-of-life management requirements into performance clauses and internal management procedures.

Please note:  Life-cycle impact mapping can be used alongside life-cycle costing as part of the procurement process.

Other considerations for ITT documentation

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

  • e-Commerce: eCapability, eProcurement Information, Auctions, etc.
  • Contract implementation/contract and supplier management information
  • Proposed implementation plan
  • Management information - requirement to provide line item detail
  • Roles & Responsibilities
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Mini-competition guidance: details of process to be followed for call offs

 

Invitation to Tender

The ITT or the Invitation to Confirm Interest should include comprehensive information for potential bidders 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 and you should select those that you need to include in the ITT pack from the list below:

  • A reference to the relevant Contract Notice, previously published
  • Instructions to bidders including the tender submission deadline;  address to which the tender submission is to be sent and the language which the tender submission must be submitted in
  • It is good practice to issue an SPD to bidders.  For more information, please refer to Selection Criteria and SPD
  • Award Criteria weightings
  • For services contracts, if deemed applicable, you should ask the bidders to indicate any share of the contract that the tenderer may subcontract and information about the subcontractors including their name and contact details.  You may request separate SPD responses from subcontractors and consortium members, when deemed appropriate, in order to safeguard the effective delivery of the contract, based on relevance and proportionality to the contract
  • For contracts which may be extended, the nature, quantity and, where possible, the estimated time for exercising options
  • For supply or service contracts, the nature, quantity and, where possible, estimated publication dates of notices of future tenders
  • 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 any information required from bidders
  • The form of the contract to be used e.g. purchase, lease, 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 which will apply to any resulting contract with the principle supplier
  • Specification and technical requirements
  • Sustainable Procurement Duty requirements e.g. economic, social and environmental considerations including community benefits and Fair Work Practices. See Sustainable Procurement Tools
  • Cyber Security Requirements (example ITT and Contract Notice wording when using the Cyber Security Procurement Support Tool)
  • Quality questionnaire

The activities at this stage must be carried out in a carefully managed manner that support the Principles of Procurement. It is the responsibility of you and your Organisation to make sure these requirements are met.

Award Criteria

The Award Stage involves examining the merits of the bids.

At the Award Stage you will identify which of the eligible tenderers will deliver best value for money for your organisation.  This is based on the Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT) depending on the criteria agreed by your User Intelligence Group (UIG).

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

Award Criteria Examples

A table listing examples and descriptions of award criteria that you could use.

The Difference Between Selection and Award Criteria

The distinction between selection and award criteria is important.

Selection criteria are focused on "the bidder" and award criteria are focused on "the bid”. You should maintain a clear distinction between both throughout the procurement process.

This means that selection criteria should be addressed at the selection stage and should not form part of the award stage.  This is the case even if the selection criteria were omitted from the selection stage in error.

However, you can apply different aspects at selection and award if relevant.  For example you can look at the bidder's general staffing in selection and the qualifications and experience of those to be assigned to the contract at award, if that is relevant.

Although the selection and award criteria must  be developed and managed separately, it is possible for you to conduct these stages simultaneously or in any order where the process you are undertaking allows for this. For instance you may wish to conduct the Award Stage prior to checking minimum selection criteria are met.

Commonly Used Selection and Award Criteria

Selection Criteria

Award Criteria

Technical and professional qualifications, capability including experience  

Price

 Economic and financial standing

Quality

You must identify the Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT).  This must be assessed based on the criteria linked to the contract’s subject matter and include the price or cost using a cost effectiveness approach.  A cost effectiveness approach may include life-cycle costing.

You should work with the UIG to agree appropriate award criteria.  This will be based upon:

  • their knowledge of the goods or services to be procured and
  •  the critical aspects of the requirement as detailed in the specification.

The criteria identified should relate to the goods or services to be provided and not focus on the characteristics of the individual suppliers. Each award criterion should be clearly defined, so that there is a common understanding of what it means.

Good criteria will ensure that responses from suppliers clearly address the most critical aspects of the specification.  They will allow the evaluation panel to make a fair and equal comparison of the bids received.

Contract Performance Requirements

You can include special contract performance conditions as long as they are linked to the contract's subject matter.

Such conditions may cover economic, innovation-related, environmental, social or employment-related conditions.  If specific performance conditions are to be used they must be included in the Prior Information Notice or the Contract Notice and in the Procurement Documents.

At Award Stage bidders may be requested to supply the names and professional qualifications of the staff involved in the performance of the contract.

A clearly documented process must be followed.  This will ensure there are satisfactory responses from bidders and no procurement process inconsistencies. Any failure in this respect will leave the procurement open to audit scrutiny and legal challenge.

Addressing Fair Work Practices

Please note: the content of this page is currently undergoing a review. For further information on the real Living Wage please see the What is the real Living Wage information sheet, the Scottish Government's Fair Work and Procurement webpage or alternatively please email scottishprocurement@gov.scot

Please note that information on Fair Work First, which includes payment of the real Living Wage, can be found in SPPN 06/2021. 

You must consider the relevance and proportionality of Fair Work practices for its inclusion in the award criteria. 

Please refer to the Fair Work First in Procurement guidance to determine relevance and proportionality. Example Invitation to Tender questions can also be found in the guidance.

Further information to consider can be found in Fair Work Practices Considerations.

At the contract award stage you should ensure that the contract complies with the conditions, requirements and criteria set out in the Procurement Documents.

In addition, you may decide not to award a contract to the winning tenderer, if its bid does not comply with social, environmental and employment law.

Fair and Ethically Traded Goods

Award criteria can also relate to the supply or use of ethically or fairly traded products.

In all cases award criteria must be proportionate and should relate to the work, supply or service being procured, and not to the general capacities or qualities of the bidder. A general corporate social responsibility policy is unlikely to demonstrate suitability to deliver a contract. For further guidance please refer to the Sustainable Procurement Tools. 

Equality Legislation

Equality legislation places duties on all public bodies. In exercising their functions they must have due regard to the need to:

  • eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other prohibited conduct 
  • advance equality of opportunity - between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not-
  • foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not

You should ask bidders to self-certify that they comply with all relevant equality legislation.

Where evidence is provided of equality legislation breaches, you must consider any remedial action the bidder has taken to address these.

For organisations working outside the UK, equality questions relate to the equivalent legislation in the country where the bidder is located / breach occurred.

Effective contract management and monitoring should be undertaken to ensure that the equality assessment continues to be applied throughout the contract duration.

Minimum Standards

Where you have determined that minimum standards are applicable (either within selection or award criteria) they must relate to and be proportionate to the subject matter of the requirement.  This must be clearly detailed in the appropriate documentation.

When you wish to apply minimum standards to limit the number of potential suppliers to be invited to tender, minimum standards or objective criteria must be specified or referred to in the Contract Notice. This must be detailed in the procurement documentation to allow the rejection of potential suppliers.

Similarly if a pass mark can only be obtained by a response that meets the minimum requirement, this must be clearly stated within the scoring guidance provided to suppliers. 

Variants

You may consider variants as long as:

  • it has been specified in the Contract Notice and the Procurement Documents. 
  • All variants meet the specified minimum requirements
  • You specify how variants  will be evaluated. All variant bids should be evaluated using the same criteria as the standard bids and compared on a like-for-like basis.

Variants cannot be considered unless the above are met. You should consider whether to allow bidders to propose different TUPE scenarios within their bids. If so, it should provide clear directions to tenderers to ensure that bids can be compared on a like-for-like basis.

Scoring Methodologies

You should ensure that a robust scoring methodology is developed. 

The technical scoring criteria used by an Organisation can be general or amended to be specific to certain criteria. Whichever approach is adopted, the scoring methodology must have been communicated in the procurement documents as part of the tender process and should enable the evaluation panel, following individual bid evaluation, to score responses based on the relative advantages and disadvantages of the bid. 

If PCS-Tender is being used, you should input the criteria weightings into PCS-Tender. 

Please note: all sections should add up to 100 and all questions within each section should also add up to 100.

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

Example Scoring Methodologies

An example of a scoring methodology that should be used in PCS-Tender is shown below:

 
 0 
Unacceptable
Nil or inadequate response. Fails to demonstrate an ability to meet the requirement.
25
Poor
Response is partially relevant and poor. The response addresses some elements of the requirement but contains insufficient/limited detail or explanation to demonstrate how the requirement will be fulfilled.
50
Acceptable
Response is relevant and acceptable. The response addresses a broad understanding of the requirement but may lack details on how the requirement will be fulfilled in certain areas.
75
Good
Response is relevant and good. The response is sufficiently detailed to demonstrate a good understanding and provides details on how the requirements will be fulfilled.
100
Excellent
Response is completely relevant and excellent overall. The response is comprehensive, unambiguous and demonstrates a thorough understanding of the requirement and provides details of how the requirement will be met in full.
 
 
If you are not using PCS-Tender, below is an example scoring methodology which should be used in conjunction with the Evaluation Matrix.  This can be tailored to suit the specific requirements of your procurement exercise:
 
Unacceptable
Nil or inadequate response. Fails to demonstrate an ability to meet the requirement.
1
Poor
Response is partially relevant and poor. The response addresses some elements of the requirement but contains insufficient/limited detail or explanation to demonstrate how the requirement will be fulfilled.
2
Acceptable
Response is relevant and acceptable. The response addresses a broad understanding of the requirement but may lack details on how the requirement will be fulfilled in certain areas.
3
Good
Response is relevant and good. The response is sufficiently detailed to demonstrate a good understanding and provides details on how the requirements will be fulfilled.
4
Excellent
Response is completely relevant and excellent overall. The response is comprehensive, unambiguous and demonstrates a thorough understanding of the requirement and provides details of how the requirement will be met in full.

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

Price/Quality Ratios

The table below provides some suggested criteria and ratios depending on the nature of the commodity/service being procured:

Commodity Type

Description

Suggested Price/Quality Ratio

Routine

  • Low Value/High Volume
  • Many Existing Alternatives

80:20

Leverage

  • High spend area
  • Many Sources of Supply
  • Commercial involvement can influence price

60:40

Strategic

  • Strategic to Operations
  • Few Sources of Supply
  • Large Spend Area
  • Specification may be complex

60:40, 50:50, 40:60

Bottleneck

  • Few Sources of Supply and alternatives available
  • Complex specifications
  • If supply fails, impact on organisation could be significant

40:60, 10:90

Publication of Criteria

To meet procurement policy and transparency obligations, organisations must publish details of their evaluation criteria to be used to either:
  • select the suppliers to be invited to bid for the contract or
  • to identify the supplier to whom the contract will be awarded.  
It is best practice that your evaluation criteria and respective weightings (for both selection and award stages) are agreed by the UIG before the Contract Notice is published and any documentation issued.
 
The evaluation criteria will comprise of:
  • the selection or award criteria (depending upon the stage of the competition)
  • sub-criteria, weightings
  • minimum standards
  • pass marks (if any) etc.

If there is any doubt as to the level of detail that must be disclosed/published, you should seek specialist professional procurement or legal advice and guidance.

The agreed and advertised award criteria and weightings must not be changed once they have been notified to the tenderers.

Care and Support Services

Additional Care and Support Services guidance on award criteria can be found in Care and Support Services.

For Care and Support Services, it is best practice for an organisation to also take account of some other issues when procuring these 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.


As with all aspects of the procurement process such decisions and actions about your Award Criteria must be made in line with:

  • your own organisation’s governance procedures.
  • any stated intentions that were advertised in the relevant Procurement Documents.

All award criteria must be relevant and proportionate to the subject matter of the contract.

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


Single Procurement Document (SPD)

What is the SPD?

The SPD is a standard questionnaire that allows buyers to identify suitably qualified and experienced bidders. It contains questions on both exclusion and selection criteria.

Bidders will use their SPD response to indicate whether they can meet the requirements of the procurement exercise. The response is a self-declaration form and suppliers do not need to provide any evidence upfront unless there are clear reasons for doing so.

When should I use it?

Buyers must issue an SPD request for procurement exercises over the threshold (Route 3) and it is recommended that it is also used for all Route 2 procurements.

The SPD can be used as part of either a single stage or multi-stage procedure. 

Single Stage

A single stage procedure asks bidders to submit all relevant information at the same time.  This will usually take the form of a completed SPD document, alongside the bidders response to the rest of the procurement documents e.g. Invitation to Tender (ITT).

In this instance the bidders’ SPD responses should be assessed on a pass/fail basis, and none of the questions should be scored and weighted, as there is no requirement to shortlist.

Multi-Stage

In a two-stage procedure, bidders will provide the information in two distinct stages.  Firstly the bidder will submit the SPD for evaluation by the buyer.  All of the exclusion questions and most of the selection questions will be assessed on a pass/fail basis. 

The technical and professional ability section of the SPD also includes the ability to score and weight questions.  This allows the buyer to rank responses and shortlist a number of bidders to invite to tender.

The scoring and weighting methodology must be fair, transparent and clearly explained to all bidders upfront.

Buyers should detail the scoring and weighting process that will be used in the Contract Notice or within the SPD module on Public Contracts Scotland.

SPD

Stage 1

The Contract Notice on PCS or the online SPD Module on PCS OR on PCS-Tender will contain information on any minimum standards or selection criteria set by the buyer

Stage 2

The SPD is where the bidder will confirm (self-declare) that:

  • none of the exclusion criteria apply
  • they meet any minimum standards/selection criteria set by the buyer
Stage 3

Only those bidders shortlisted or selected as the preferred bidder will be required to provide certificates/evidence that they meet the criteria

 

 

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

How can I create an SPD request?

There are two ways to issue an SPD request:

PCS-Tender

If you are currently a PCS-Tender user you will be able to use the online SPD template in PCS-Tender.

SPD Module

The SPD has been built into Public Contracts Scotland as an online module that is available to all users.

What is Self-Cleansing?

Bidders 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 must 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.

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 insufficient 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 practical to allow the bidder to understand why the self-cleansing measures taken are insufficient.

What Types of Questions can I ask?

Exclusion Criteria Questions

The exclusion criteria questions are split into two types:

  • Mandatory exclusions: there are 2 exclusion criteria questions which must be included in all Route 2 procurement exercises. These are Criminal Offences and Blacklisting.

The bidder must be excluded from the procurement process if either of these two offences have been committed and they have not taken sufficient self-cleansing actions. For further information, please review the Exclusion Criteria page.

  • Discretionary exclusions: Apart from the Criminal Offences and Blacklisting questions, all other questions questions within the SPD in Route 2 are questions which should be included in the SPD request but are not mandatory to include.  he bidder may be excluded from the procurement process if they have taken part in certain activities and they have not taken sufficient self-cleansing actions.  These activities and any self-cleansing actions should be considered on a case-by-case basis by the buying organisation.

Further information can be found on the Exclusion Criteria page.

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

Selection Criteria Questions

Buyers must only include the selection questions that are both relevant and proportionate to their procurement exercise and delete the ones that are not. It's highly unlikely that you’ll ever need to use all of the available selection criteria in a single exercise. You must only use criteria that are relevant to your contract

Questions in the SPD are generic. In some cases you (as the buyer) must supplement the standard SPD selection questions with specific minimum requirements relating to your procurement exercise. 
 
Buyers must ensure that any such requirements are proportionate to the value and risk of the procurement exercise.
 
Please note: no extra questions can be added to the SPD.
 
For more detailed information refer to Exclusion, Selection and Award.
 

Where do I specify my minimum requirements?

This will vary depending on the format used to issue your SPD request.

If using PCS-Tender, you should set out your specific requirements in the Contract Notice. 

If using the online SPD module on PCS, you should include your specific requirements within the corresponding SPD question(s).

A set of standardised statements may help you to explain these requirements in a consistent format.

What are standardised statements?

Standardised statements have been developed to support you in explaining your selection criteria to bidders. 

Each standardised statement is aligned to a selection question in the SPD. You should select the statements that are relevant to your procurement exercise.  In some instances, you are able to adapt them.

The full list of statements can found in the standardised statement document, at the bottom of this page and an example is included below:

SPD Question Standardised Statement tailored to procurement exercise
The bidder should provide its (“general”) yearly turnover for the number of financial years specified in the relevant Contract Notice Bidders will be required to have a minimum “general” yearly turnover of £2m GBP for the last 2 years

Some of the standardised statements, for example those relating to Environmental Management Legislation and Quality Management Procedures, are very lengthy. Therefore you should review these carefully and ensure that you only select only those parts of the standardised statements that allow you to specify your minimum requirements. You should be careful to ensure that the criteria included is proportionate..

This process will enable you to adopt a standard approach to defining the selection criteria in Contract Notices.

If using the online SPD module on PCS there is no need to add the statements to the Contract Notice, it should be added directly beside the question in the module.

More information on where to state information in the Contract Notice can be found on the Contract Notice and Advertising station.

Do bidders need to provide evidence upfront?

As the SPD is designed to be a self-declaration form, bidders are not required to produce supporting documentary evidence upfront.  Evidence maybe requested from the successful bidder (s) at the end of the first stage of a two stage procedure, and are required prior to awarding the contract.

If the bidder is unable to provide this evidence, upon request and without delay, they should not be taken forward to tender stage or be awarded the contract.

Exceptionally, where there is a genuine concern and a risk to the effective conduct of the procurement exercise, you may request, at any time, all or part of the supporting documents. Such requests can be made to the bidder or; any subcontractors, consortia members or other bodies whose capability and capacity will be relied on to perform the contract.

Further information can be found in the SPD FAQ page

 SPD Do's and Don'ts

Do's

Don'ts
Select only the questions that are relevant and proportionate to the procurement exercise Add any questions to the SPD
Set your minimum standards and requirements upfront Set minimum standard too high
Inform bidders of the scoring and weighting in the Contract Notice and/or procurement documents Use award criteria in the SPD

 


What do I need to do if the bidder is relying on other parties or is using a sub-contractor?

Where the bidder is relying on other parties to meet the selection criteria for example as part of a consortium or is using a sub-contractor, you should request a separate SPD response from each party being relied on.

These parties should complete the exclusion criteria section of the SPD and whichever selection questions, the main bidder is relying on them for.

If the bidder is using a sub-contractor but not relying on them to meet the selection criteria, each sub-contractor should complete an SPD response.  In this instance, they will only need to complete the exclusion criteria.

The responses should be evaluated alongside the main bidders SPD response.

Where a party meets the mandatory grounds for exclusion you must require that the main bidder to replaces them.

Where there are discretionary grounds for exclusion you may require the bidder(s) to be replaced.  This should be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the various circumstances of the procurement exercise.

Where a bidder relies upon the capacities of other entities with regard to criteria relating to economic and financial standing you may require the bidder and those entities to be jointly liable for the performance of the contract.

In the case of supply or service contracts your organisation may require certain critical tasks to be performed directly by the bidder itself or, where the tender is submitted by a group of bidders, by a participant in that group.

You can find more information on the SPD for a works contract by emailing: PropertyandConstruction@gov.scot

How Do I Shortlist Using the SPD?

Shortlisting in the SPD allows a buyer to rank responses. This should be done within the Technical and Professional Ability section  Ranking responses will allow you to determine who should be shortlisted and taken forward to the next stage of the procurement exercise.
 
For more information, go to the Selection Criteria station.

SPD and Care and Support Services

In the case of Care and Support Services, the mandatory exclusion grounds (regulation 8 of Procurement (Scotland) Regulations 2016) must be applied to all procurements. An organisation can also choose to apply the discretionary exclusion grounds and selection criteria.  It is best practice to use the SPD for this purpose.

Global Question for all Selection Criteria

Buyers may consider allowing the bidders to answer the global question to confirm they meet ALL selection criteria as specified in the Contract Notice. 

If the buyer chooses to include this global question, they should be confident that by NOT answering any other question on selection criteria there is no risk to the procurement process or the supply of goods or services as a result of the bidders response.

If you choose to include this question, then you can also use the questions in Part V, which ask bidders to describe how they meet the shortlisting criteria you have set out in the Contract Notice.

How do I use Part V of the SPD?

You may use Part V of the SPD when using PCS-Tender to reduce the number of already qualified candidates who meet all the exclusion and selection criteria in the SPD.

The minimum number of bidders that may be invited to a Restricted Procedure by an Organisation is five. In any event, the number of candidates invited must be sufficient to ensure genuine competition (note: if the number of bidders meeting the selection criteria is fewer than five the procurement can still proceed). In a competitive dialogue, competitive procedure with negotiation and innovation partnership the minimum number of candidates taken forward by the Organisation is three. In any event the number of candidates invited must be sufficient to ensure genuine competition (note: if the number of bidders meeting the selection criteria is fewer than five the procurement can still proceed).

How Do I Use Financial Ratios?

If you are using PCS-Tender financial ratios these should be included in the Contract Notice or procurement documents.

If you are using the online SPD module on PCS, there is a drop-down menu of ratios to choose from. These use standard terminology from the Scottish Government Accountancy Services.  Your organisation may use different terminology than these.  If this is the case, or you want to add other ratios not listed, you can use the other financial requirements question to specify your ratio.

Any documents you need are listed below

SPD Financial Ratios

(file type: docx)

Selection Criteria

Selection criteria are the minimum requirements or standards that bidders must meet in order to progress further in the procurement exercise. Bidders that cannot demonstrate that they meet these minimum requirements must be excluded from the competition. This applies to both single stage and multi-stage procurement exercises.
 
The selection criteria used must be relevant and proportionate to the procurement exercise being carried out. It’s important not to place an unnecessary burden on bidders by setting criteria that are overly onerous or excessive in comparison to the value and risk of the contract.
 
It is important to understand that when setting selection criteria the buyer is not asking open questions of the bidder, in the way they might when setting award criteria -  they are making a statement about what is required.
 

What Can be Used as Selection Criteria?

Buyers must only set selection criteria that are both relevant and proportionate to the contract. The Procurement (Scotland) Regulations 2016 set out a finite list of things that can be taken into account during the selection process.

These fall into three broad categories:

  • suitability to pursue a professional activity;
  • economic and financial standing;
  • technical and professional ability.
It’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever need to use all of the available selection criteria in a single procurement exercise. You must only use criteria that are relevant to the contract.  
 

What is the Difference Between Selection and Award Criteria?

Selection criteria are focused on "the bidder" and award criteria are focused on "the bid”. Selection criteria assess things like the bidders economic standing or technical qualifications whereas as award criteria are concerned with how they will deliver the contract

You should maintain a clear distinction between both throughout the procurement process and you should note that you cannot use the same criteria at both selection and award stage

Publication of Scoring Criteria

As a matter of procurement policy, and in order to meet obligations of transparency,

Organisations must publish details of the evaluation criteria to be used to either:

  • select the bidders to be invited to bid for the contract or
  • identify the supplier to whom the contract will be awarded.

It is best practice that evaluation criteria for both selection and award stages are agreed, along with respective weightings by the User Intelligence Group (UIG) before the Contract Notice is published and any documentation issued.

The evaluation criteria will comprise of (depending upon the stage of the competition):

  • the selection or award criteria
  • sub-criteria,
  • weightings,
  • minimum standards,
  • pass marks (if any) etc.

If there is any doubt as to the level of detail that must be disclosed/published, you should seek specialist professional procurement or legal advice and guidance.

The agreed and advertised selection and award criteria and weightings must not be changed once they have been notified to the tenderers.

Evaluation criteria should be published under II.2.9 (Information about the limits on the number of candidates to be invited) of the Contract Notice or II.2.14 (Additional Information). of the Social and other Specific Services Contract Notice (if you decide to advertise your C&SS requirements)  This allows bidders to see how their responses will be evaluated.  

If the online PCS SPD Module is used, the scoring methodology needs to be detailed in the module, this does not need to be included in the Contract Notice.

If you are unable to publish these criteria in the Contract Notice or within the SPD Module, as an absolute minimum, you must state them in the published Procurement Documents.

Care and Support Services

What types of selection criteria can I use?

Further information on the various elements of selection criteria can be found below. It’s extremely unlikely that all of the available selection criteria will be required in any given procurement exercise. Buyers must only include those relevant to their needs. 

Suitability to Pursue Professional Activity

In order to check the bidder’s capability of delivering the contract, the buyer may require bidders to be enrolled in certain professional or trade registers. 

They may also require bidders to prove that they hold certain authorisation or memberships. Buyers should state these requirements upfront either in the contract notice or the PCS SPD module

For example: If the contract relates to the installation of gas boilers, the buyer may specify that the bidders need to be on the Gas Safe Register.

Economic and Financial Standing

Buyers should assess the financial standing of bidders to ensure that they are financially stable enough to carry out the contract. In order to assess this you may ask for information such as financial ratios or turnover information from the bidders. 

In all cases, care should be taken not to set minimum standards that are disproportionate and/or which might exclude capable suppliers, especially SMEs and newly formed companies. 

For lower-risk procurement exercises – for example, where there are numerous suppliers capable of carrying out the contract, no time constraints, and payment is only to be made after the work completed – you should consider whether it is necessary (i.e. relevant and proportionate) to set any selection criteria relating to economic and financial standing.

Turnover 

The Procurement (Scotland) Regulations 2016 state that you must not ask bidders to have a minimum turnover which exceeds twice the estimated contract value. This helps to remove obstacles to SME involvement in public procurement. 
However, you can ask in certain duly justified circumstances for a higher turnover such as high risk contracts  or where the timely and correct performance of the contract is crucial. 

Accounts

You may require bidders to provide annual account information for example showing the ratio between assets and liabilities. (The PCS SPD module includes a list of commonly used financial ratios for you to pick from). You can only exclude bidders on the basis of ratios identified in the Contract Notice so you should be sure that they are accurate and relevant.

You should also take into consideration that not all bidders have an audited set of accounts. As a result ,you must consider, on a case-by-case basis, what is essential information. This should be specified in the Contract Notice.

Insurance Levels

It might be appropriate for bidders to have a certain level of insurance in place to carry out the contract. This must be relevant and proportionate to the value of the contract and the level of risk. You should consider what is required on a case-by-case basis. You must specify what insurance level(s) are required in the contract notice or in the SPD PCS module.
 
Note - It is a legal requirement that all companies (excluding sole traders) hold Employer’s (Compulsory) Liability Insurance of £5M as a minimum.
The bidder is not required to have the relevant insurance in place at the time of bidding, and only needs to confirm that they would be willing to obtain the required level(s) if successful in winning the contract.  You must check that any such commitment has been put in place at the contract award stage.

Technical and Professional Ability

To assess the bidders capability you can ask them to provide relevant examples of previous work to demonstrate that they have sufficient  experience to deliver the contract. For goods and services, the examples provided by bidders must only be from the previous three years.

The examples requested should be relevant and proportionate to the procurement exercise.

You should be careful when creating the technical and professional ability minimum requirements to not exclude bidders who can demonstrate  that they have the capacity and capability to deliver the contract, but may not have delivered exactly the same goods or services previously. This will ensure opportunities are provided to bidders to access new markets or provide innovative solutions, no matter their size or status.

Remember that bidders do not need to submit examples from their existing organisation to meet the selection criteria.  They can submit relevant examples which they worked on in previous employment to demonstrate their previous experience.  This is particularly helpful to new businesses.  It is also acceptable for bidders to rely on other parties for certain parts of the selection criteria, for example, they may rely on a sub-contractor for experience in a certain area.

Qualifications

Depending the on the requirement, it can be more appropriate to evaluate qualifications as part of the award criteria.
If you do decide to evaluate qualifications as part of the selection stage, you should ensure the required qualifications are set upfront and clearly stated in the contract notice (or PCS SPD Module)

Use of References 

Buyers may request references from bidders in order to review previous experience. If the bidder is unable to provide the reference required it may provide other evidence which you consider appropriate. 

Quality Management Procedures

Depending on the nature of the contract, you may require the bidder to confirm that they comply with certain quality management standards or hold certain certificates.
You should ensure that any minimum standards are proportionate to the contract and are not overly onerous. 

For example if you require BS EN ISO 9001 you should accept any accredited independent third party certificate of compliance in accordance with the relevant requirements.  You should also accept other examples of equivalent measures provided that the bidder proves that the proposed measures comply with the required standards e.g. documented quality management policies and procedures.

Health and Safety Legislation


The degree to which health and safety requirements are required will vary according to the procurement exercise.  Any measure you take must be relevant, proportionate and should not be overly burdensome and be stated in the contract notice.

You must not select any bidders if they do not meet the stated health and safety legislation minimum requirements.

You should put in place on going monitoring procedures throughout the duration of the contracts to ensure compliance with health and safety requirements.  Within the SPD, this should be specified as part of the quality management section.

Further help in setting these standards can be found in the standardised statements.

Environmental Management Legislation

Depending on the nature of the contract, you may require the bidder to confirm that they comply with certain environmental management legislation.

You should ensure that any minimum standards are proportionate to the contract and are not overly onerous.

For example if you require BS EN ISO 14001 you should accept any accredited independent third party certificate of compliance in accordance with the relevant requirements.  You should also accept other examples of equivalent measures provided that the bidder proves that the proposed measures comply with the required standards e.g. documented environmental management policies and procedures.

Further help in setting these standards can be found in the standardised statements.

Can I Score and Weight the Selection Criteria?

For single stage procurement exercises, it is recommended that selection criteria are assessed on a pass/fail basis – either a bidder meets a required minimum standard, or they don’t. Buyers must make it clear to bidders in the procurement documents that this is the case.

The rest of the bid can then be scored according to the award criteria. For more information on award criteria, click here.

For multi-stage procurement exercises, some selection criteria can be assessed using a combination of pass/fail, and scoring and weighting. This approach can be useful when buyers wish to shortlist those who pass all of the pass/fail criteria with the highest scores. This approach must also be described clearly to bidders in the contract notice. 

It is recommended that in this instance it is only the technical and professional ability section that is scored and weighted with all other sections being pass/ fail. 

In order to assess the suitability of the bidder, it’s recommended that the selection criteria should be assessed using the SPD form, as it contains standard questions relating to all of the selection criteria permissible under The Procurement Scotland Regulations 2016.

An example of scoring methodology is provided below:

Score

Description

0 - Unacceptable

Nil or inadequate response. Fails to demonstrate previous experience/capacity/capability relevant to this criterion.

1 - Poor

Response is partially relevant but generally poor. The response shows some elements of relevance to the criterion but contains insufficient/limited detail or explanation to demonstrate previous relevant experience/ capacity/capability.

2 - Acceptable

Response is relevant and acceptable.  The response demonstrates broad previous experience, knowledge and skills/capacity/capability but may lack in some aspects of similarity e.g. previous experience, knowledge or skills may not be of a similar nature.

3 - Good

Response is relevant and good. The response is sufficiently detailed to demonstrate a good amount of experience, knowledge or skills/capacity/capability relevant to providing similar services to similar clients.

4 - Excellent

Response is completely relevant and excellent overall. The response is comprehensive, unambiguous and demonstrates thorough experience, knowledge or skills/capacity/capability relevant to providing similar services to similar clients.

 

Further information and an evaluation matrix to help you evaluate bids can be found in the Evaluation Tools station.

Can I add selection criteria to the SPD?

The SPD contains generic questions on selection critiera and you can add specific criteria to the contract notice.  Further information on how to use the SPD can be found in the SPD section.

Prompt Payment

You must consider if bidders may use a supply chain to deliver the requirements, and if so, SPD question 4C.4 and its standardised statement should be included in the selection criteria. This will require bidders to provide evidence of their standard payment terms, their payment performance in line with those terms and if necessary, an improvement plan detailing timely remedies to achieve good payment performance.

For examples of payment performance evidence and improvement plan guidance please reference the prompt payment page.

Fair Work Practices

You must consider whether Fair Work practices are relevant and proportionate to include in your selection criteria. 

It may be more appropriate to include Fair Work practices in the award criteria. This will encourage bidders to explain how existing or new Fair Work practices will positively impact on the way the contract is performed. 

The practical tool Developing a Fair Work practices criterion will help you consider how to structure and adapt Fair Work practices criterion to the needs of the contract. 

Exclusion Criteria

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: you 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 exclusions: you may ask questions concerning discretionary exclusions where they are relevant and proportionate to the contract. You should determine whether a bidder should be excluded based on the bidder's response and any evidence provided of self-cleansing measures (if required) which are sufficient to demonstrate reliability. These should be considered on a case by case basis by you and your organisation.

It is considered best practice to ask bidders both types of questions in regulated procurement 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.  It is best practice, and will help promote consistency, to use the SPD 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 (Additional 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 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.

Deficiency in Performance

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

Further information can be found in 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 they are found to have:

  • seriously misrepresented the supply of information or have withheld information (when this information would be used to confirm there are no grounds for their exclusion from the procurement exercise, and therefore the bidder meets the selection criteria) OR

the bidder has:

  • unduly influenced the decision making process
  • obtained confidential information which may give them undue advantages in the procurement procedure
  • negligently provided misleading information that may have a material influence on decisions

Further information can be found in The Procurement (Scotland) Regulations 2016

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 Regulation 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 GPA Procurement 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.