Route 2

Route 2

Debriefing is a way of helping suppliers to improve their competitive performance, which in turn produces benefits to procuring organisations.

Unsuccessful tenderers have a right to know the reasons for their rejection.  Feedback should be provided in writing and it is good practice to provide face to face debriefing where possible.  If this is deemed appropriate, you need to make sure enough time and resource is given to the debriefing process.

Debriefing Objectives

  • Assist suppliers to improve their performance. A debriefing should cover the positive aspects of their bid and suggest areas for improvement for unsuccessful bids. Suppliers can then address these issues and improve their competitiveness in future bids.

  • Offer unsuccessful tenderers the opportunity to provide feedback to you on the tender process.  This will help with continuous improvement of the process.

  • Establish and maintain a reputation as a fair, honest and ethical customer. This will help to ensure that high quality suppliers will be encouraged to submit tenders.

You should chair the debriefing whilst their User Intelligence Group (UIG) members or end-users can provide guidance and/or assistance.

Where a formal debriefing meeting is deemed appropriate, this may involve representatives from both operational areas of the process and procurement professionals.  This will ensure the debriefing is carried out by experienced and fully trained personnel.  You should ensure that technical/operational representatives understand their role in the debriefing and follow these guidelines:

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

Debriefing Guidelines

  • The meeting must not be viewed as a forum for debate the validity of a tender.
  • It must be made clear to each tenderer that only their own tender will be discussed. Under no circumstances will  commercial terms or innovative ideas put forward by another tenderer be disclosed.
  • The Briefing must be accurate and factual.
  • If reasons have been given in writing previously, you should not introduce new or conflicting reasons for the decision.
  • At the end of the debriefing, tenderers should be asked for constructive comments on the Invitation to Tender (ITT) documentation and the tendering process generally.
  • A record of the debriefing meeting should be taken and placed on the appropriate registered file.

A face-to-face debriefing meeting is not essential in cases where the unsuccessful tenderer has already been provided with written feedback.  However this may help unsuccessful tenderers improve their competitive performance for the future.

The timing of a debriefing should be determined by commercial judgement and within a reasonable time of the award decision being made.

Route 2

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 for your procurement exercise.  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 important 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)

Route 2

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 money 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 an evaluation more than a “price for price” comparison.

It is important to differentiate between whole life costing, lifecycle costing and lifecycle impact mapping:

Whole Life Costing: 

Focuses solely on 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: 

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.

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 and
  • the delivery of services
  • to the re-use, recycling, remanufacture and
  • 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 costs).

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 service procurement exercises. In all cases 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 will be direct costs like scheduled maintenance and the energy used through the life of a road sweeping vehicle.  In the case of life cycle costing, this also includes less apparent external environmental costs such as the cost of emissions of greenhouse gas 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

Route 2

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 technical ability to evaluate tenders This may or may not include the Procurement Officer. 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  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 should 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 invitation to tender (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 suppliers. A full justification of scoring is important and a record should be kept to ensure fairness and transparency of the process.

Comments made must 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 for services which have a direct impact on the public, for example Care and Support Services, an organisation should consider whether it is appropriate for people who use 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.

Route 2

Receipt of Tenders

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

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

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?

Best practice suggests you should 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 would need to 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. 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  are 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 will need to 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 systems 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 dates by the bidder

 

Price schedule has been completed in accordance with the ITT instructions

 

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

 

Record any omissions in writing, and keep the registered file

 

If a tender is disqualified, inform the bidder in writing at the earlies 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.

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

Any documents you need are listed below

Tender Opening Form

(file type: docx)

Route 2

Contract Notices must be used to advertise all Route 2 procurement exercises, other than for Care and Support Services contracts between £50,000 and £589,000.

However, a Prior Information Notice (PIN) can be used by sub-central organisations (any Organisation which does not belong to Central Government or National Health Services) as a call for competition instead of a Contract Notice.

Regulation 54(1) of the new 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 Procurement Officers 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.  This can be either by volume or by value. 

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 

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

  • whether or not variants will be allowed or required

  • 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) ESPD (Scotland) Statements

The Contract Notice should contain the minimum and specific requirements for your procurement exercise.  You should include statements relating to the relevant SPD (Scotland) (or ESPD (Scotland), if using).

You should include appropriate statements in the Contract Notice that are aligned to the relevant exclusion and selection questions being used in the SPD (Scotland) (or ESPD (Scotland), if using) for your procurement. 

Standardised statements relating to the SPD (Scotland) (or ESPD (Scotland), if using) questions have been developed.  These support you in adopting a standard approach to defining minimum requirements in your Contract Notice.  They are available in the SPD (Scotland) station. 

Unlike SPD (Scotland) (or ESPD (Scotland), if using) 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 (when the PIN is not being used as a call for competition). This can allow potential bidders to prepare themselves to bid in time for the planned contract(s) announced.

  • The PIN should contain details of supply and services contracts for which your organisation expects to seek tenders during the forthcoming 12 months.
  • The standard PIN form should be used. 

Where a sub-central Organisation (any Organisation which does not belong to Central Government or National Health Services) uses a PIN as a call for competition, the PIN should:

  • Refer specifically to the supplies or services that will be the subject of the contract to be awarded;
  • State that the contract will be awarded without further publication of a call for competition and invite bidders to express their interest;

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 Procurement Officers through the process of creating a Contract Notice on its website.

If using PCS-T or the SPD (Scotland) (or ESPD (Scotland), if using) word document you must set out the specific requirements and minimum standards required.   This must be done in the Contract Notice (or the PIN if that is being used as a call for competition). These must be relevant and proportionate to the procurement. in This is not necessary if using the online SPD (Scotland) Module on PCS: the relevant information is contained within the module already.

It is not necessary to insert the Standardised Statements into the Contract Notice if using the online ESPD (Scotland) Module on PCS as the relevant information is contained within the module.  However the Standardised Statements can be used as a guide to help you.

More information on the SPD (or ESPD if using) and standardised statements, can be found in Route 3 of the Procurement Journey.

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

All notices relating to EU funded procurement exercises (even when the original contract notice is published after December 2020) need to be published via both the Find a Tender Service (FTS) and OJEU to ensure compliance. The publication of notices will be managed automatically by Public Contracts Scotland (PCS). 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. 

Route 2

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 outcome cannot favour or disadvantage a supplier.  It is your responsibility to ensure these requirements are met. 

Access to the ITT should be non-discriminatory 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 tenderers who have passed the selection stage.  Invitations to submit a tender should be issued simultaneously to all bidders and in writing. 

If 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 days to allow for this extra process.

Evaluation Criteria, including Financial Criteria

ITT questions must be consistent and 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 ITT 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

Your should identify the Most Economically Advantageous Tender, assessed on the criteria linked to the contract subject matter.  This should include price or cost evaluation using a cost effectiveness approach.  A cost effectiveness approach may include Life Cycle Impact Mapping.

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

Whole Life Costing:  Focuses solely on 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; and

(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 pollutant emissions, other climate change mitigation costs.

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

Life cycle impacts 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, E 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 tenderers 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 tenderers 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 ESPD (Scotland) to tenderers.  For more information, please refer to Selection Criteria and ESPD (Scotland)
  • Award Criteria weightings
  • For services contracts, if deemed applicable, you should ask the tenderers to indicate any share of the contract that the tenderer may subcontract and information about the subcontractors including their name and contact details.  You may request separate ESPD 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 tenderers
  • 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 of contract which will apply to any resulting contract with the principle supplier
  • Specification and technical requirements
  • Sustainable Procurement requirements
  • Cyber Security Requirements (example ITT and Contract Notice wording when using the Cyber Security Procurement Support Tool is available here)
  • Community Benefit requirements
  • Questions on Fair Work Practices should be considered where it has been assessed as relevant and proportionate to the subject matter of the contract
  • Quality questionnaire

The ITT or the Invitation to Confirm Interest should include comprehensive information for potential tenderers 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 tenderers 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 ESPD (Scotland) to tenderers.  For more information, please refer to Selection Criteria and ESPD (Scotland)
  • Award Criteria weightings
  • For services contracts, if deemed applicable, you should ask the tenderers to indicate any share of the contract that the tenderer may subcontract and information about the subcontractors including their name and contact details.  You may request separate ESPD 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 tenderers
  • 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 of contract which will apply to any resulting contract with the principle supplier
  • Specification and technical requirements
  • Sustainable Procurement requirements
  • Cyber Security Requirements (example ITT and Contract Notice wording when using the Cyber Security Procurement Support Tool)
  • Community Benefit requirements
  • Questions on Fair Work Practices should be considered where it has been assessed as relevant and proportionate to the subject matter of the contract
  • Quality questionnaire

 

Route 2

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 and vice versa.

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 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.  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 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, which could ultimately result in a legal challenge. Any failure in this respect will leave the procurement suspect to audit scrutiny and legal challenge

Fair Work Practices

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

Fair work practices will be particularly relevant to consider where the quality of the services or goods delivered are affected by the quality of the workforce engaged. 

When deciding whether or not fair work practices are relevant  you should consider all relevant factors and be able to justify their inclusion.  You should consider whether:

  • There is any previous experience of poor quality practices, including pay and conditions, impacting on the quality of service to be delivered.  There is any history of low pay or unequal pay in that sector;
  • There is a risk that staff working on the contract might be subject to exploitative practices e.g. through the inappropriate use of zero hours contracts, through unnecessary distancing of the employer-worker relationship: by use of any “umbrella company” and through pay and hours arrangements that deny workers stability of employment or hours of work, by failing to pay wages for travel time within the working day,
  • There is evidence that working conditions are making recruitment and retention problematic;
  • Contractors are seeking to cut their costs through driving down staff terms and conditions, including pay;
  • Workers will be required to interact directly with the organisation’s employees and/or members of the public.  Also whether they will spend any time on the organisation’s premises

In any of these circumstances, fair work practices are likely to be a relevant consideration.  However this is not an exhaustive list and other factors may be relevant, depending on the specifics of an individual contract.

An example of a fair work practices Invitation to Tender question can be found in Annex A  of the Addressing Fair Work Practices including the Living Wage, in Procurement Statutory 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 the social, environmental and labour law.

Fair and Ethically Traded Goods

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

Criteria and conditions can refer to the product concerned being of fair trade origin.  This could include requirements to pay a minimum price and price premium to producers.

Environmental considerations can include the delivery, packaging and disposal of products.  For services, this can refer to waste minimisation or resource efficiency. 

Note: this excludes criteria and conditions relating to a bidder’s general corporate social responsibility policy.

 

Equality Legislation

Equality legislation places duties on certain public bodies[NP(8] .  In exercising their functions they must have regard to advance equality of opportunity. 

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 (or Prior Information Notice if used as a ‘call for competition’ by a sub-central organisation).  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. 

A sub-central Organisation is any Organisation which does not belong to Central Government or National Health Services.

Variants

You may consider variants as long as:

  • it has been specified in 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 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.  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 (or Prior Information Notice if used as a ‘call for competition’ if a sub-central organisation) 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.


Route 2

All SPD questions are consistent whether you are using:

However please note:

If you are using the SPD module in PCS: you will add your qualifying information e.g. standardised statements, into the specific SPD question in the PCS SPD module.

If you are using the word version of the SPD or the SPD within PCS-Tender: you will add your qualifying information e.g. standardised statements, in the PCS Contract Notice.

What is the SPD?

The SPD (Scotland) 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 their organisation meet the requirements of the procurement exercise. The form is a self-declaration forms and suppliers do not need to provide any evidence upfront unless their are clear reasons for doing so.

When should I use it?

Buyers must issue an SPD 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. 

In this instance it is recommended that the bidders’ SPD responses should be assessed on a pass/fail basis, as there is no requirement to shortlist.

Multi Stage

In a two stage process 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 all of the selection questions will be assessed on a pass/fail basis, with the exception the technical and professional ability section is most commonly assessed by scoring responses. 

The technical and professional ability section of the SPD can include a scoring a weighting methodology which 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 bidders in the procurement documents.

Buyers should define the scoring and weighting, along with any thresholds in the contract notice.

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

How can I create an SPD request?

PCS-Tender

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

SPD (Scotland) Module

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

SPD (Scotland) Word Document

Please ensure you always use the document included here in the Procurement Journey to ensure you always use the most up to date version.

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 the SPD request in all route 2 procurement exercises. These are Criminal Offences and Blacklisting.

The bidder must be excluded from the procurement process if the specified offences have been committed and they have not taken sufficient self-cleansing actions. For further information, pleaser review the exclusion criteria station.

  • Discretionary exclusions: are questions which may be included in the SPD request.  The 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. The activites and any self-cleansing actions should be considered on a case by case basis by the buying organisation.

Whilst there are only two mandatory exclusion criteria questions in the SPD for route 2 procurement exercises, it is recommended that buyers include all exclusion criteria questions in their SPD request.

Further information can be found on the Exclusion Criteria Page.

What is Self-Cleansing?

In most cases 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.

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.

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 biding agreed 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 relevant and proportionate to their procurement exercise and delete the ones that are not. Therefore, it is unlikely that you will need to ask all of the standard SPD questions within your SPD request.
 
Questions in the SPD are generic. Therefore,the buyer must supplement the standard SPD questions with specific criteria or minimum requirements relating to the contract. 
Please note: that no extra questions should be added to the SPD form.
 
For more detailed information refer to Exclusion, Selection and Award.
 

Where do I specify my minimum requirements?

Depending on what format you issue your SPD request in will influence the way in which you specify the criteria and minimum requirements.

If using PCS-Tender or the SPD (Scotland) Word Document, you should set out your specific requirements and minimum standards  in the Contract Notice (or the PIN if that is being used as a Call for Competition). 

If using the online SPD (Scotland) module within PCS, you should include your specific requirements and minimum standards with the corresponding SPD question(s).

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

What are standarised statements?

This set of standardised statements has been developed to support you in explaining your selection criteria to bidders. 

Each standardised statement is aligned to a selection question in the SPD (Scotland). Buyers should select thse statements that are relevant to their procurement exercise and in some instances, you are able to adapt them. The full list of statements can found in the standarised statement document and an example is included below:

SPD Question Standard 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 and not overly onerous on the bidder.

This process will enable you to adopt a standard approach to defining the selection criteria in Contract Notices (and in PINs being used as Calls for Competition).
If using the online SPD (Scotland) module on PCS there is no need to add the statements in the contract notice, it should be added directly to 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 an initial 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 or prior to awarding the contract.

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

Exceptionally, where you have a genuine concern and there is 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.  

 SPD Do's and Don'ts

Do's

Don'ts
Select only the questions that are relevant 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?

Where the bidder is relying on other parties to meet the selection criteria, you should request a separate SPD (Scotland) 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.

This should be evaluated alongside the main bidders SPD.

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

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

How Do I Shortlist Using the SPD?

Shortlisting in the SPD allows a buyer to rank responses and this is mainly done within the Technical and Professional Ability section.  This will allow buyers to determine who should be shortlisted and who should be taken forward into the next stage of the procurement exercise.
 
How you will ‘shortlist’ bidders must be detailed in the Contract Notice or Prior Information Notice (PIN) (if that is used as a Call for Competition).  This should include weights and scoring, where applied, with an explanation of the scoring methodology.  These criteria must be objective and non-discriminatory.
 
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 selection 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 and can also choose to use the SPD (Scotland) for this purpose without amending the questions, and it is a matter of best practice to do so.

Will Brexit Impact the SPD?

The UK has left the EU and the Transition Period ends on 31 December 2020.  As a result there will be some minor changes to the ESPD which take effect from that date.  

Very little is changing is practical terms, however, there are some things that you should be aware of for procurement exercises commencing after the end of the  transition period. From 11p.m. on 31 December 2020:

 1) The title of the ESPD (Scotland) will be changing to SPD (Scotland). 

2) The exclusion criterion concerning fraud relating to European Communities’ funds will no longer be a valid ground for excluding bidders. This criterion must not be used in any procurement exercises that commence after the end of the transition period.

This exclusion criterion will be removed from the SPD (Scotland) templates available in the Procurement Journey and PCS-Tender. However, it will still be visible in the SPD module within PCS, defaulted to ‘not selected’, pending it’s removal when the next upgrade is carried out. It must not be selected, or used to evaluate any SPD

responses for procurement exercises commencing after the end of the transition period.

3) There will be minor updates to the wording of standard SPD questions containing references to EU ‘Member States’. This will not change the meaning of the questions.

Please refer to the SPD guidancedocuments and FAQs for further information.

Please make sure you are signed up to the Procurement Journey  "Notify Me of Changes" service on the homepage to receive information on future changes to both the SPD and the wider guidance.

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, the supply of goods, services or works 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 ESPD?

You may use Part V of the SPD (Scotland) when using PCS-Tender or the Word version of the SPD (Scotland) to reduce the number of already qualified candidates who meet all the exclusion and selection criteria of the SPD (Scotland).

  • Part V of the SPD (Scotland) can only be used for restricted procedures, competitive procedures with  negotiation, competitive dialogue procedures and innovation partnerships. It cannot be used in case of open procedures and competitive procedures without negotiation. Part V may be used if it is proportionate and relevant to the contract and it is specified in the Contract Notice.
  • If you decide to use Part V of the SPD (Scotland), you need to specify the objective and non-discriminatory criteria or rules to be applied in order to limits the number of candidates that will be invited to tender or to conduct a dialogue. This information, which can be accompanied by requirements concerning the (types of) certificates or forms of documentary evidence, if any, to be produced, is set out in the relevant Contract Notice.
  • 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 and negotiated procedure without publication 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 the genuine competition (note if the number of bidders meeting the selection criteria is fewer than five the procurement can still proceed).
     

SPD Financial Ratios

If you are using the online SPD (Scotland) module on Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) and want to include a financial ratio as part of the SPD, you will be required to choose from a standard list of available ratios, There are also other financial measurements included in the SPD module on PCS, such as turnover, that organisations are also able to take into account.

Some users have commented that the standard list of ratios does not include some they are familiar with, such as Acid Test Ratio, Gearing and Net Profit Margin. In most part the differences arise from different terminology/methodology to that known by our users. 

The Scottish Government Accountancy Services consider that the current list of financial ratios is valid, and that using a combination of these ratios can provide the same result as using the alternatives suggested by users.

The SPD Financial Ratio document below provides guidance on how to utilise the ratios in the SPD module on PCS to get the required result.

Please note that the Microsoft Word version and PCS-Tender versions of the SPD are unaffected by this as organisations can manually enter their required ratios rather than selecting from a drop-down list of pre-populated ratios, as is the case on PCS.

Any documents you need are listed below

SPD Financial Ratios

(file type: docx)

Route 2
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 should 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 cateogories:

  • 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, so you’ll need to make sure you only use criteria that are relevant to the contract.  
 

What is the Difference Between Selection and Award Criteria?

Selection criteria is focused on "the bidder" and award criteria is focused on "the bid”. Selection criteria assess things like the bidders economic standing or technical qualifications whereas as award criteria is 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 ask 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
  • the evaluation criteria to be used to 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 (or Prior Information Notice if used as a ‘call for competition’ if a sub-central organisation) 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 ESPD (Scotland) 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 ESPD (Scotland) Module, as an absolute minimum, you must state them in the Procurement Documents.

Care and Support Services

What types of selection criteria I can 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. Therefore buyers should 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 SPD PCS 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 to remove obstacles to SME involvement in public procurement, you must not ask bidders to have a minimum turnover which exceeds twice the estimated contract value.
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 should keep in mind that you may 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 an appropriate 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 Critieria?

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 containing the award criteria can then be scored.  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.

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 ESPD 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, 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.

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