Route 3

Route 3

Once the procurement has commenced, a correspondence process must be  in place.  This will ensure all correspondence between the potential tenderers and you are carried out in a fair and transparent manner. 


For example:

it is best practice to provide details of the question submission deadline and the date by which all questions will be answered.  These dates must be prior to the closing date for expressions of interest.  These should allow sufficient time for all bidders to consider information which may be relevant to their proposals.


Timescales and Extensions

Question submitted by a potential tenderer  and the answer provided by your organisation must be anonymised.  These must also be circulated to all potential tenderers involved in the process.

You must supply responses to all tenderers not later than six days before the deadline for tender responses. This time limit changes to not later than four days for the open, restricted and competitive procedure with negotiation when the accelerated procedure is used. 

Deadlines must be extended where:

  • additional information requested by a tenderer, is not supplied at least six days before the deadline.  This information must have been requested in good time and is significant or
  •  where significant changes are made to the procurement documents. 

The time limit changes to not later than four days when the accelerated procedure is used. 

Electronic Tendering Systems

Using  an electronic tendering system, for example Public Contracts Scotland - Tender, will allow the receipt and circulation of questions and answers.

Public Contracts Scotland offers similar functionality via its bulletin board.

If you do not use an electronic system, clear instructions and contact details should be provided to all potential bidders within the ITT documentation. All communications during the procurement activity should be coordinated by you and documented.

Route 3

A Suppliers' Meeting is where all potential tenderers are invited to attend (at the same time) a venue to discuss the Invitation to Tender (ITT). This can happen before or after the ITT is issued.

The purpose of the meeting is to highlight and clarify aspects of the ITT.  Commercially sensitive information must be guarded at all times e.g. you may not wish to reveal project/budget information.

Suppliers' meetings will not always be necessary for every tender exercise.  Before your ITT is issued a decision should be made about whether or not a meeting is required.  If required, this meeting can be included into your procurement timetable.

Transparency and Fairness

You must share any relevant information, and information provided to any other potential tenderers, at the pre-tender stage.  This ensures the process is conducted fairly and transparently in accordance with Regulation 42 of The Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015.

As with all aspects of the Procurement Journey, the activities at this stage must be carried out in a carefully managed manner that supports the principles of procurement.

As a minimum the processes must be carried out:

  • in a transparent way
  • that ensures there is no misuse of the market place and that
  • the outcome cannot unduly favour or disadvantage a particular bidder.

It is your responsibility to make sure these requirements are met.

Tenderers must be allowed sufficient time to take account of suppliers' meetings information.

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

Supplier Meeting Format

Agenda and Introductions

The meeting should be opened by setting out the agenda and introducing the personnel involved.

Presentation

This should be followed by a presentation, setting out the aims of the procurement process and expected business benefits

Site Tour

If appropriate, there can then be a walk round of the facilities/site.  Where this happens and if on-the-spot inspection of documents can occur, the receipt of tenders deadline must be fixed.  This is to ensure all potential tenderers, whether at the meeting  or not, must be made aware of the information needed to produce bids.

 

Q&A

Then there should be a question and answer session.  The overriding principle here is equality of information.  Questions raised and answers provided should be confirmed in writing and sent to all tenderers,  whether present at the meeting or not. This information should be provided not later than six working days before the tender return date.   Sufficient time should be given to  bidders to be able to act upon information.

In conjunction with the information provided, potential bidders may wish to take notes of the proceedings.

Route 3

Tender documentation should provide tenderers with background information about the services required, as well as setting out the detailed requirements.

Tender documentation will typically comprise instructions to tenderers with the conditions to participate.

As with all aspects of the Procurement Journey, the activities at this stage must be carried out in a carefully managed manner that supports the Principles of Procurement. As a minimum the processes must be carried out:

  • in a transparent way
  • that ensures there is no distortion of the market place,
  • so the outcome cannot unduly favour or disadvantage a particular bidder

It is your responsibility to ensure these requirements are met. 

Electronic Tendering

Electronic tendering enables you to manage the procurement process online. It:

  • reduces the paperwork involved in tendering exercises,
  • provides an electronic audit trail and
  • allows you to provide a faster response to questions and points of clarification during the tender process.

It is best practice to use PCS-Tender, if the procurement officer has access to it as PCS-Tender manages the administrative aspects of the tendering process.

If PCS-Tender is being used, the relevant project code should be entered into the Contract Notice on Public Contracts Scotland (PCS). Alternatively, if the procurement officer does not have access to PCS-Tender, then Public Contracts Scotland – Advertising should be used throughout the process.

Publication of Documents

Invitation to Tender documents must be:

  • offered on the internet
  • unrestricted
  • with full direct access
  • non-discriminatory in manner and
  • free of charge.

  These documents must be available from the date of publication of a Contract Notice, or (if a PIN is used as a call for competition) the date on which the Invitation to Confirm Interest was sent. 

Only those tenderers who have passed the appropriate selection stage will be allowed to tender in a two-stage procedure.

For the following procedures:

An invitation to submit a tender must be issued to selected tenderers at the same time and in writing. However the open procedure allows for ITTs to be issued on request at any point prior to the date set for submission of tenders.

Timescales

Where ITT documents cannot be issued electronically for example because the contract is of a nature which requires the use of specialised tools and/or files, other transmission means can be used.  The tender time limit should be increased by five days except where permitted in a case of duly substantiated urgency.

Timescales for each procedure can be found in the relevant procurement route station.

Deadlines must be extended where:

  • additional information requested by a tenderer is not supplied at least six days before the deadline.  This information must have been requested by the tenderer in good time and is of significant importance.
  • significant changes are made to the procurement documents. This will be reduced to four days when the accelerated procedure is used.

The length of extension must be proportionate to the complexity of the change and/or the additional information being provided. 

To proceed with a tender extension the necessary approval must be obtained in accordance with your internal governance and legislation. If the date is amended, the new date should be notified to all tenderers.  If any tenderer have already submitted a bid they should be given the opportunity of withdrawing their original  bid.  They can then submit a revised bid in line with the extended tender deadline.

Route 3

Contract Notices should be used to advertise all Route 3 procedures. The only exceptions to this are:

The Contract Notice must contain the minimum and specific requirements for your procurement exercise. 

Indicative Budget

You may choose to indicate:

  • the available budget for delivering the service in question,
  • specify the outcomes desired and
  • invite providers to submit proposals for achieving the outcomes within the resources available.

Stating an indicative budget ensures that bidders' tenders for delivering the service are affordable. This may be appropriate if, for example, a procurement exercise fails and the organisation moves to negotiation with suppliers. In other circumstances, stating an indicative budget may make it difficult for an organisation to assess that the service represents value for money.

Establishing a Timetable for the Procurement Process

This is particularly important if there is an expectation that suppliers will submit consortia bids to allow discussions between suppliers to take place.


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 guides you:

  • through the process of creating a Notice on its website and
  • automatically creates a notice on the Find a Tender System (FTS)

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

You will receive a PCS alert after you have submitted the Contract Notice for publication on PCS. 

You must retrospectively update your online SPD (Scotland) with your FTS reference number if using the PCS Module.

Accessing the Procurement Documents

You Contract Notice must contain details of how bidders can access your procurement your documentation.

From the date you publish your Notice you must make your Procurement Documents available:

  • on the internet
  • in unrestricted and full direct access form
  • free of charge

The Regulations define ‘procurement documents’ very widely.  This includes all documents related to the procurement i.e. including technical specifications, terms and conditions and tender documents to be used at subsequent stages

In practical terms, it is not always possible to have all documents available at the start of your procurement exercise.   Only in an Open Procedure are you required to have  the ITT available from the outset.  For all other procedures you must provide sufficiently precise information.  This will allow bidders to understand the nature and scope of your requirement and decide whether to request to participate.

PCS-T Publication Procurement documents must not be published in PCS-Tender until the FTS Publications Office confirms the FTS notice has been published.

If Using PCS-T

If you use PCS Tender you must provide:

  • the relevant reference numbers for the specific procurement and
  • set  time limits for the receipt of tenders (bearing in mind statutory minimums).

If Using PCS

If uploading Procurement Documents to PCS (Advertising) file size restrictions  apply.  These are:

  • 10Mb per document a maximum of 40Mb for the Procurement Officer; and
  • 10Mb per document with a maximum of 30Mb for the Supplier

If you are using PCS-Tender, attachments cannot be added to the Contract Notice on PCS Advertising. You must add your documents to PCS-Tender.


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 legal guidance where you need further support. 

Selection Criteria and Minimum Standards

The Contract Notice must contain the minimum and specific requirements for your procurement exercise. You should include the standardised statements relating to their relevant SPD (Scotland) questions. This is not necessary if using the online SPD (Scotland) module on PCS as the relevant information is contained within the module.

If using the SPD (Scotland) Word document, you ou can create new statements or amend  the existing statement(s) included in the Standardised Statements document.  You will then include you statements  your Contract Notice.

Additional or amended statements should only be used if no suitable standardised statements already exist. You must ensure all statements used in the procurement exercise must:

  • relate to a specific question in the SPD (Scotland).
  • reflect the selection criteria
  • must reflect the minimum requirements

It is important that the Contract Notice provides the scope of the requirement, either by volume or by value

In the case of Contract Notices for Framework Agreements it must clearly identify the bodies entitled to use the Framework Agreement.

You must include in your Contract Notice whether your proposed contract is to be a reserved contract.. It must also state if:

  • you intend to hold an electronic auction;
  • presenting  tenders in an electronic catalogues format is acceptable  or required;
  • whether or not variants are authorised or required;
  • information in respect of any lots.

Community Benefits in Contracts

If you estimate your contract value at or greater than £4,000,000 you must include a community benefit requirements summary in your Contract Notice. 

If you do not intend to include community benefits in your contract you must state the reasons why in you Contract Notice. 


Prior Information Notice (PIN)

All Organisations may give advance notice of planned procurements.  This is done through the publication of a Prior Information Notice (PIN) which is not used as a means of calling for competition. 

PIN which is Not a Call for Competition

A PIN can allow potential bidders to prepare themselves to bid in time for the contracts announced.  It can also enable reductions in timescales for competitions once the specific Contract Notice has been despatched.

  • The standard PIN form should be used.
  • The PIN must have been sent between 35 days and 12 months before the date on which the Contract Notice is sent
  • Once a PIN has been published, reductions in timescales for competitions identified in the PIN are possible.

The period covered by a PIN must be a maximum of 12 months from the date on which the notice is sent for publication. 

PINs which are a Call for Competition

Sub-central Organisations may publish the PIN used as a call for competition if it includes certain required information

The PIN must:

  • Refer specifically to the supplies or services that will be the subject of the contract to be awarded;
  • State the contract will be awarded by Restricted Procedure or Competitive Procedure with Negotiation without further publication of a call for competition
  • invite bidders to express their interest;
  • be sent for publication between 35 days and 12 months prior to the date on which the invitation to be included in the procurement was sent;

Once a PIN has been published, reductions in timescales for competitions identified in the PIN are possible.

The period covered by a PIN must be a maximum of 12 months from the date on which the notice is sent for publication.

 


Route 3

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

Invitation to Tender Quickfire Guide

You must offer unrestricted and full direct access to the Procurement Documents on the internet.   This must:

  • include the Invitation to Tender (ITT) documents

  • be available from the date of publication of a Contract Notice

  • If a PIN is used as a call for competition this is the date on which the Invitation to Confirm Interest was sent.  If this was not possible the documents must be made available electronically from the time at which they are sent to participants in the process.

  • This access must be non-discriminatory and free of any charge.

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

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

For the following procedures:

an invitation to submit bids to selected tenderers must be issued simultaneously and in writing. 

For the Open Procedure, ITTs must be issued on request to any bidder at any point prior to the date set for submission of tenders.

The ITT (or the Invitation to Confirm Interest where a PIN is being used as a call for competition) should include comprehensive information for potential suppliers about the requirement being tendered.

Checklist

Checklist

Information to Include in your Tender

There will be some generic information/documents that require insertion into all tender packs e.g. a reference to the relevant Contract Notice or Award Criteria weightings.  However some content is contract specific e.g. to Invitations to Confirm Interest. You should select those applicable to include in your invitation pack. This checklist gives example information/criteria that could be included in your invitation.

Evaluation Criteria

The questions within the ITT must be consistent with the evaluation criteria and weightings published within the Contract Notice and procurement documents.

You should also draft a timetable for the process which must comply with applicable minimum timescales detailed in Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015.  For more information refer to Selection, Award & Exclusion.

Price/financial evaluation criteria should include:

  • Whole Life Cost comparisons

  • quantifiable financial benefits arising from the technical evaluation (e.g. speed, fuel or electricity consumption, coverage, shelf life, etc.)

  • fixed or variable pricing

  • cost of components, spare parts, consumables and servicing

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

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

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

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

Further Inclusions for ITT Documentation

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

  • E-Commerce (Found Below): eCapability ITT section  /  ITT - Appendix X - eProcurement Information / E Auctions 
  • contract implementation/contract and supplier management information
  • proposed implementation plan
  • management information
  • roles & responsibilities
  • key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • mini-competition guidance: details of process to be followed for call offs

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

ePS_Servicedesk@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

 

Invitation to Tender

  • For contracts which may be extended (i.e. that are not retendered), the nature, quantity and, where possible, the estimated time for exercising options
  • The nature, quantity and, where possible, estimated publication dates of notices of future tenders
  • The type of procedure e.g. a Restricted Procedure or Competitive Procedure with Negotiation procedure, etc.
  • If applicable to the contract, the delivery of supplies, commencement or termination date(s)
  • The address of the Organisation who will award the contract
  • Economic and technical conditions, financial guarantees and information required from tenderers
  • The form of the contract to be used e.g. purchase, lease, hire,  hire-purchase, or a combination
  • If electronic access to the relevant Procurement Documents cannot be offered the address and deadline date for requesting procurement documents and the language(s) to be used
  • Background and overview of the tendering and evaluation process including details of presentations and site visits, if applicable
  • Terms and Conditions of contract which will apply to any resulting contract with the principal supplier
  • Specification and technical requirements
  • Sustainable Procurement Duty requirements
  • Cyber Security Requirements (refer to the Guidance Note on Supplier Cyber Security) If using the Cyber Security Procurement Support Tool (CSPST), example wording for ITTs and Contract Notices can be found here
  • Community Benefit requirements (consideration of which is compulsory in contracts valued equal or greater to £4M, although inclusion in all contracts/frameworks recommended)

The activities at this stage must be carried out in a carefully managed manner that support the Principles of Procurement. As a minimum, the processes must be carried out in a transparent way that ensures  no distortion of the market.  The outcome cannot be a procurement that unduly favours or disadvantages a particular supplier. It is the responsibility of you and your Organisation to make sure these requirements are met.

Route 3

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.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Award Stage involves examination of the merits of the bids.

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

In accordance with regulation 76(10) of The Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations, contracts must be awarded on the basis of both quality and price. Your Organisation must not therefore use price only or cost only as the sole award criteria. Instead, your Organisation must identify the Most Economically Advantageous Tender on the basis of the Best Price Quality Ratio, which must be assessed on the basis of criteria linked to the subject matter of the contract and must include the price or cost using a cost effectiveness approach. 

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

Price/Quality Ratios

You may find it useful to refer back to the Strategic Positioning Action Plans to help decide the appropriate price/quality ratio to apply.

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

General Principles

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 their bid does not comply with the applicable obligation in the fields of social, environmental and labour law, established, national law and collective agreements.

Award criteria must be considered and linked to the subject-matter of the contract where they relate to the goods or supplies to be provided under the contract in any respect and at any stage including factors which do not form part of their material substance. A cost effectiveness approach may include life cycle costing.

The Procurement Officer should work with the UIG to agree appropriate award criteria, based upon their knowledge of the goods or services to be procured and the critical aspects of the requirement as identified in the Specification.

The criteria identified must relate directly 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 and allow the evaluation panel to make a fair and equal comparison of the bids received.  Award criteria must ensure the possibility of effective competition and be accompanied by specifications that allow the information provided by bidders to be verified during their award criteria assessment. Some examples of award criteria are given below:

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

Award Criteria Examples

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


Scoring Methodology for Award Stage Evaluation

The Procurement Officer should ensure that a robust methodology is developed to assist with the evaluation process.

The technical scoring criteria used by a public body 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, the Procurement Officer should input the weightings in relation to the specified criteria. Please note that all sections should add up to 100 and all questions within each section should also add up to 100.

An example of scoring methodology is provided below and should be used when utilising PCS-Tender:

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.

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 in order to ensure there are satisfactory responses from suppliers and no inconsistencies in the procurement process, which could ultimately result in a legal challenge. Any failure in this respect will leave the procurement suspect to audit scrutiny and legal challenge.

Scoring Methodology for 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.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

When evaluating a bidder’s response against a Fair Work criterion, it is best practice to use a scoring methodology rather than a pass / fail approach. A pass / fail approach would not be consistent with the fundamental Principles of Procurement which require a public body to objectively evaluate different bidder responses proportionately and without discrimination. 


The Difference Between Selection and Award Criteria

The distinction between selection and award criteria is crucially important. Selection criteria are focused on "the bidder" and award criteria are focused on "the bid”. The Procurement Officer must maintain a clear distinction between both throughout the procurement process. This means that issues/questions which are appropriate to the selection criteria must be addressed at the selection stage and cannot form part of the award stage (even if they were omitted from the selection stage in error) and vice versa.  However, you can apply different aspects at selection and award if relevant i.e. 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 quite separately, it is possible for Procurement Officers to conduct these stages simultaneously or in any order where the procedure allows.  For instance, when using an Open Procedure it may be desirable to assess the tenders (award stage) prior to checking minimum criteria are met when only a small number of bids have been received.  Where this is done you must still ensure that you verify the absence of grounds for exclusion and of fulfilment of the selection criteria.  This needs to be carried out in an impartial and transparent manner so that no contract is awarded to a bidder that should have been excluded or does not meet the selection criteria.

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

Commonly Used Selection and Award Criteria

Selection Criteria

Award Criteria

Technical and professional qualifications, capability including experience  

Price

 Economic and financial standing

Quality

Contract Performance Requirements

Organisations are required by law to include such conditions relating to the performance of the contract as are reasonably necessary to ensure that the bidder which is awarded the contract complies with environmental, social and employment law in performing the contract, providing that these are linked to the subject matter of the contract, and are indicated in the call for competition or the procurement documents.  To help meet this requirement, organisations should consider the Scottish Procurement Policy Note 09/2016 which includes guidance and contract conditions an organisation can adapt for use in its contracts.  If specific performance conditions are to be used they must be included in the Prior Information Notice (where it is the call for competition) or the Contract Notice and in the Procurement Documents.

Bidders may be requested to state, in their tender or request to participate, the names and professional qualifications of the staff involved in the performance of the contract.

A clearly documented process must be followed throughout the award stage, as for the whole of the procurement process, in order to ensure there are no inconsistencies in the procurement process, which could ultimately result in a legal challenge.

Variants

You may consider variants on the requirements as long as it has been specified in the Procurement Documents, together with the minimum requirements and how the variant will be evaluated. Variants cannot be considered unless this has been done and they meet the minimum requirements. All variant bids should be evaluated using the same criteria as the standard bids and compared on a like-for-like basis.

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

As with all aspects of the procurement process, such decisions and actions must be made in line with your own organisation’s governance procedures and in any event, be in line with any stated intentions that were advertised in the relevant Procurement Documents.

Publication of Criteria

Organisations are required by law to publish details of the criteria to be used to identify the supplier to whom the contract will be awarded. The Contract Notice (or the Prior Information Notice when it is used as a means of calling for competition, in so far as already known) must provide a brief description of criteria to be used for award of the contract. 

An Organisation must also specify in the relevant Procurement Documents the relative weighting which it will give to each of the criteria chosen to determine the most economically advantageous tender.  The weighting and score given to an award criterion should be considered on a case-by-case basis taking into account the other relevant criteria and the relative impact that each will have on the quality of the service delivery, works performed or goods supplied.  Weighting must ensure the appropriate balance between the quality and cost / price of the contract and be proportionate to the contract, taking care not to negatively affect the quality of the contract to be performed. It is best practice that respective weightings 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. 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. A sub-central Organisation is any Organisation which does not belong to Central Government or National Health Services.

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

Prompt Payment

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

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

Prompt Payment Award Statement

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

If a bidder is unable to confirm acceptance of the award statement, they should not be awarded the contract unless there are extenuating circumstances.

 

 

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.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Fair Work practices can have a positive impact on the way the contract is performed and the weighting given to a Fair Work criterion will affect a supplier’s overall bid.

A question on Fair Work practices, including the real Living Wage, should be adapted on a case-by-case basis to be relevant to and reflect the nature of the contract and will invite suppliers to describe the fair Work practices, including the real Living Wage they propose to adopt to engage their workers in order to have a positive impact on the quality of the service delivery, works performed or goods supplied. 

The Practical Tool – Developing a Fair Work criterion and the Example – Fair Work invitation to tender criterion – home support services, will help a Procurement Officer to target Fair Work practices, and adapt and appropriately weight a Fair Work award criterion which takes account of all five dimensions of the Fair Work Framework.

A Fair Work award criterion should not be a list or checklist as this would not be consistent with the Principles of Procurement.  It is also important not to limit responses from bidders, which will vary dependant on different Fair Work practices they adopt and because of the size or status of bidders.

The weighting of a Fair Work criterion may be higher in a contract where the way workers are engaged will have a direct impact on how the contract is performed or where there is a strong service or works element to the contract. Higher weightings may also be relevant, for example: where low pay and poor conditions of employment exist or can have an impact on the quality of the contract, such as the use of umbrella companies to exploit workers’ security of employment; where the availability or continuity of staff will impact on a services; where there is limited, or no access to trade unions; or, where a limited employee voice is having an impact on how health and safety matters are handled or how working time regulations are applied.

The weighting of a Fair Work criterion in a goods contract is likely to be lower, as the quality of the goods is more likely to be affected by a range of factors other than how the workforce are engaged. This is not to say that a Fair Work criterion is never relevant in a goods contract. It will be relevant where the goods to be supplied are created by manual labour or where an element of the workforce delivers the goods and / or ancillary services, such as customer service or installation / delivery services.

Fair and Ethically Traded Goods

Award criteria can also relate to the supply or use of ethically or fairly traded products. Criteria and conditions relating to trading and its conditions can refer to the fact that the product concerned is of fair trade origin, including requirements to pay a minimum price and price premium to producers. Furthermore, environmental considerations can include the delivery, packaging and disposal of products and when looking at contracts with a service element, this can refer to waste minimisation or resource efficiency.  It is important to note however, that this excludes criteria and conditions relating to a bidder’s general corporate social responsibility policy.

Care and Support Services

Additional guidance on award criteria can be found in C&SS Award Criteria Guidance document.

In accordance with regulation 76(9) of The Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015, an organisation may now 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.

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

Any documents you need are listed below

Route 3

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 organisations meet the requirements to participate in 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 responses to the rest of the procurement documents. 

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

Multi-Stage

A two stage process will split the submission and evaluation up in to 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 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 on 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 from 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 3 exclusion criteria questions which must be included in the SPD request in all route 3 procurement exercises. 

These are:

  • Criminal Offences
  • Blacklisting
  • Tax and Social Security breaches by binding decision (judicial or administrative)

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, please review the exclusion criteria station.

  • Discretionary exclusions: these 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 includes all exclusion criteria questions in thier SPD request.

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 provided 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 entering 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 selection criteria.
 

Where do I specify my minimum requirements?

The 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.

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

What are Standardised 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) and you should choose the ones relevant to your procurement exercise. In some instances, you are able to adapt them to your specific procurement exercise. 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 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 a Call 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 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 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, 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 page.

Multiple Use of the SPD (Scotland)

Bidders may reuse the information that has been provided in an SPD (Scotland) which has already been used in a previous procurement procedure, as long as the information remains correct and continues to be pertinent.

The online SPD (Scotland) module on PCS supports this by allowing bidders to save a supplier profile which enables them to recall their SPD responses when completing future SPD requests.

Will Brexit impact the SPD?

The UK has left the EU and the Transition Period ends at 11 p.m. 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 11 p.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 guidance, documents and FAQs for further information.

The pre-EU Exit ESPD FAQs, guidance & documents, should continue to be utilised in procurement exercises that commenced prior to 11pm on 31st December 2020.

For further information on Changes to Procurement legislation at the end of the EU Exit Transition Period, please refer to SPPN 11/20

Make sure you are signed up to the PJ notification service to receive information on future changes to both the PSD and the wider PJ.

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 questions on selection criteria, that 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.

Reduction of the number of qualified candidates

You may use Part V of the SPD (Scotland) when using PCS-T or the Word version of the SPD (Scotland) to reduce the number of already qualified candidates who met 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 by an Organisation to a restricted procedure 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 genuine competition (note if the number of bidders meeting the selection criteria is fewer than five the procurement can still proceed).

Care and Support Services

The mandatory exclusion grounds (regulations 58(1) to (3) of Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015) must be applied to all procurements, and an organisation can choose to apply the discretionary exclusion grounds and selection criteria and@ to use the ESPD (Scotland) for this purpose without amending the questions. It is a matter of best practice to do so.

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.

A summary of the SPD process is shown below:

Any documents you need are listed below

Route 3
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 this baseline 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 a burden on bidders by setting criteria that are unnecessary or excessive compared to the value and risk of the contract.
 
It's important to understand that when setting selection criteria it is very different from award criteria. For example, you must avoid asking open questions of the bidder - in this case you would be making a statement about what is required and looking for bidder confirmation that they can meet this.  

 

What Can be Used as Selection Criteria?

Buyers should only set selection criteria that are both relevant and proportionate to the contract. The Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015 sets out a 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 is 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 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 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.


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. 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, you may require bidders to be enrolled in certain professional or trade registers.  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.  You may also require bidders to prove they hold certain authorisation or memberships.  You should state these requirements upfront either in the Contract Notice or the SPD PCS module.  

Economic and Financial Standing

You 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 too high 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; payment is only to be made after the work completed) you should consider whether it is necessary to set any selection criteria relating to economic and financial standing

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 may only exclude bidders on the basis of ratios identified in the Contract Notice so you should ensure that they are accurate and relevant.

You should also consider that not all bidders have an audited set of accounts.  As a result you must determine, 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.

The bidder is not required to have the relevant insurance in place at the time of bidding.  They only need to confirm that they would be willing to obtain the required insurance 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.

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

 

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  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 parities 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 they comply with certain quality management standards or hold specific certificates.

You should ensure that any minimum standards are proportionate to the contract and are not set too high. 

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, not set too high 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.  Here the bidder either meets or does not meet the required minimum standard. You 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 refer to Award Criteria.

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.

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 bid can be found in the Evaluation Matrix section.

 

Can I Add Selection Criteria to the SPD?

The SPD contains generic questions on selection criteria 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.


Publication of Scoring Criteria

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 and respective weightings for both selection and award stages are agreed 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 SPD (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 SPD (Scotland) Module, as an absolute minimum, you must state them in the Procurement Documents.

Prompt Payment

You must consider if bidders may use a supply chain to deliver the requirements, and if so, the Single Procurement Document (SPD) question 4C.4 and its standardised statement should be included in your the selection criteria.

Adding 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 award criteria.  This will encourage bidders to explain how  existing  or new Fair Work practices  will positively impact on the way the contract your 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.

Care and Support Services

You may choose to use the SPD (Scotland) for selection without amending the questions, and it is a matter of best practice to do so.

The evaluation criteria should be published under II.2.14 (Additional Information) of the Social and other Specific Services Contract Notice (if you decide to advertise your C&SS requirements) to allow bidders to clearly see how their responses will be evaluated. 

Limiting the Number of Tenders/Shortlisting

For the Restricted Procedure, the Competitive Procedure with Negotiation, Competitive Dialogue Procedure and Innovation Partnerships you may limit the number of candidates invited to participate at the tender stage, or to engage in dialogue with. This can only be done if the Contract Notice (or the invitation to confirm interest where the call for competition is by means of a Prior Information Notice) and relevant Procurement Documents specify:

  • your intent to limit the number of bidders and the minimum number and (if applicable) the maximum number of bidders you intend to invite to the tender stage; and
  • the objective and non-discriminatory criteria or rules to be used.

The Organisation should invite a sufficient number of bidders to generate competition.  In limiting the number of bidders who will proceed through to the tender stage, the minimum number of qualified bidders should be as follows:

  • Restricted Procedure – where an above threshold advert is required, the minimum number of tenderers should be five.  In other cases three or 4 may be regarded as sufficient;
  • Competitive Procedure with Negotiation, Competitive Dialogue Procedure and Innovation Partnership procedure – the minimum number of tenderers should be three.

These must be bidders who requested to participate and meet the minimum requirements set out in the Selection Criteria. However, where the number of bidders who meet the selection criteria is less than the minimum number listed above, the Organisation may continue the procedure with the lesser number or discontinue the procedure.

PINs and Sub-Central Organisations

Where an above threshold advertisment is required (this will be for all procedures other than negotiated procedure without prior publication), Contract Notices should be used to advertise all procurement procedures. 

There is  one exception. Sub-central organisations are allowed to use a Prior Information Notice (PIN) as a means to call for competition to advertise the Restricted Procedure or Competitive Procedure with Negotiation.  A sub-central organisation is any organisation which does not belong to Central Government or National Health Services.  

A PIN by any organisation which is not a call for competition can also be used to stimulate market interest.  The PIN is published before the  start of the procurement process.  The PIN allows potential bidders to prepare themselves to bid in time for the contracts announced. It can also be used by any buying organisation to reduce procurement timescales(if certain criteria can be met).

It is best practice that evaluation criteria for both selection and award stages are agreed, along with respective weightings, 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.

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

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

Any documents you need are listed below

Route 3

What are Exclusion, Selection and Award Criteria?

There are clear stages in the procurement process:

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

Exclusion, Selection & Award Overview

Exclusion gounds

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

All exclusion criteria must be relevant and proportionate to the subject matter of the contract.  You must set out the:

  • specific requirements
  • the relevant exclusion grounds and the
  • minimum selection criteria that are relevant for the procurement exercise

in the Contract Notice or the online SPD (Scotland) Module in Public Contracts Scotland if used. 

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

More information can be found in the Exclusion Criteria station.

Selection criteria

These are different criteria  used to select bidders in terms of their capability and capacity to perform the contract.  These are referred to as selection criteria. 

These criteria consider a bidder’s suitability:

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

Selection criteria must be related and proportionate to the subject matter of the contract.

Selection criteria do not focus on how a bidder proposes to perform the contract (the bid): this is assessed at the award stage.

Award criteria

Are used to determine which bidder is best placed to deliver, and which should be awarded, the contract.  You must base the award on the most economically advantageous tender.    

You have the discretion to determine what award criteria to apply in relation to your specific procurement exercise.  However you may not use price only or cost only as the sole award criteria but instead on the basis of the best price-quality ratio. 

In all cases award criteria must be proportionate, relate directly to the goods or services to be provided and include the price or cost. 

The award criteria must ensure the possibility of effective competition.  They must be accompanied by specifications which allow bidder information provided to be effectively verified in order to assess how bids meet the award criteria.

Information on how to address Fair Work practices can be found in the Award Criteria station.

What is the Difference Between Selection and Award?

The distinction between selection and award criteria is crucially important:

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

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

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

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

Selection and Award Examples

Example areas that are commonly known as selection and award criteria are listed below:

Selection Criteria

Award Criteria

Technical and professional qualifications, capability including experience

Price

Economic and financial standing

Quality

When Do the Selection, Exclusion and Award Stages Occur?

The selection and award criteria must be developed and managed separately.  It is possible to conduct these stages simultaneously or in any order where the procedure allows.  For instance, when using an Open Procedure if you have a small number of bids you may want  to assess these bids prior to checking minimum exclusion and selection criteria are met..  Where this is done you must still ensure you verify there are no  of grounds for exclusion and  selection criteria are met.  This must be carried out in an impartial and transparent manner so that no contract is awarded to a bidder that should have been excluded or does not meet the selection criteria.

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

Publication of Criteria

Exclusion grounds, selection and award criteria must be clearly defined:

  • in the Contract Notice
  • and the call for competition when used as a Contract Notice

to ensure a common understanding of the requirements by all bidders.

These criteria must not be changed or waived during the procurement process e.g. the Contract Notice and the call for competition must contain a list and brief description of criteria.  This must include the  situations where bidders may be excluded and detail the, minimum and specific requirements.

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

Reserved Contracts

A supported business:

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

You can “reserve” your competition to supported businesses where it is assessed as appropriate.  This is referred to as a Reserved Contract.

It is also possible for your Organisation to provide for a contract to be performed in the context of an employment programme operated by a supported business.   This is a way Procurement Officers can  encourage involvement of disabled and disadvantaged persons.

The Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 requires an organisation to:

  •  before starting their procurement, to consider how, it may involve Supported Businesses.  This can be facilitated by how the procurement process is conducted.and
  • (assuming the involvement of Supported Businesses occurs) then to act in a way to best bring that about.

SPPN 4/2017 provides further information and guidance on Reserving Contracts For Supported Businesses, including:

  • Determining whether an organisation meets the definition of a supported business (for the purposes of public procurement legislation)
  • Identifying supported businesses
  • Monitoring and reporting.

Group Bids

Groups of suppliers can bid and must not be required to take a specific legal form to do so. 

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

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

Your Organisation may require the group to take a legal form but only if they are awarded the contract..  For example appoint a lead contractor and accept joint and several liability if required for the performance of the contract

Any documents you need are listed below

Route 3

When developing your specification it is important to engage as early as possible with the supply base. This is important in terms of:

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

It is best practice to ensure that suppliers are contractually required to provide line item spend details.

The specification must:

  • Be set out in the relevant Procurement Documents
  • clearly describe what is required
  • detail the characteristics required
  • not refer to the following:
    • brands or trade names
    • any particular process that is specific to a supplier in the market place
    • trademarks, patents, types, or a specific origin or production.  (unless it is justified by the subject-matter of the contract).  Alternatively on an exceptional basis where a sufficiently precise description of the contract subject-matter is not possible.  In such cases you must add “or equivalent” to the reference.
  • provide equal access to bidders.  Do not write the specification in a way that distorts market competition, creates obstacles or limits entry for bidders
  • take account of relevant policies e.g. are  community benefits relevant?  For procurements whose estimated contract value  is equal to or greater than £4,000,000, you must consider whether to include a community benefit requirement as part of your procurement
  • consider opportunities for sustainable procurement.  Organisations must comply with the Sustainable Procurement Duty set out in the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014.
  • take into account accessibility criteria for persons with disabilities.  Or you may design your specification for all users, except in justified cases, including a conformity assessment e.g. ensuring a web site meets accessibility standards through specifying appropriate font sizes.
  • Consider any cyber risks, with reference to the Scottish public sector Guidance Note on Supplier Cyber Security and (if appropriate) using the Cyber Security Procurement Support Tool.

Possible Issues from a Flawed Specification

If the specification is wrong or not detailed enough it may result in:

  • A breach of procurement rules
  • Failure by the Organisation to meet its objectives
  • Wasted money
  • Unsuitable tenderers
  • Unsuitable bids
  • Mis-interpretation of requirements
  • Major difficulties in evaluating the bids
  • Wrong or unsuitable products/services supplied
  • Claims of unfair treatment being made by tenderers
  • Difficult contract/project management
  • Inability to resolve contract disputes

The award criteria must be clear and linked to the specification. The award criteria must be relevant to the subject matter of the contract and not discriminatory.


Types of Specification

Technical Specifications and Standards

Within a technical specification you must avoid a reference which has the effect of favouring or eliminating particular suppliers.  For example by asking for a specific make or source, or to a particular process, or trademark, patent, type, origin or means of production e.g. do not specify "Hoover" when we mean a vacuum cleaner or "Intel" when we mean a Central Processing Unit of a PC.

Such reference may only be justified if either:

  • the subject of the contract makes using this kind of reference unavoidable or
  • in exceptional circumstances where the subject of the contract cannot  be described in a way which is precise and understood by all bidders.

In either of the above circumstance, such must be accompanied by the words "or equivalent".

The Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015 set extensive rules on how organisations may define and incorporate technical specifications and standards.

Output/Performance Specification

The specification should be written in "performance" terms, which focuses on the product function or service output required. This means building the specification around a description of what is to be achieved rather than a fixed description of exactly how it should be done.  This encourages marketplace innovation, allowing and encouraging suppliers to propose modern (including environmentally preferable) solutions.

Design Specification

In very exceptional circumstances and for a very limited number of products or services, a "design" specification may be unavoidable because of the nature of the requirement.

This kind of specification starts with exact details of the physical dimensions, the materials used, power input and output, the manufacturing processes required, and so on.

However, this should always be tested and guidance sought, as a design specification can greatly restrict competition.

Who Provides the Specification?

The User Intelligence Group (UIG) is responsible for developing the specification.

Given that the structure and membership of any UIG varies significantly from exercise to exercise, you should ensure that other end-users, stakeholders and technical specialists are consulted where appropriate. Part of the role of the UIG is to challenge accepted thinking. At the specification stage the UIG should explore opportunities to include economic development and sustainability considerations.

A good specification is created through the planning and research undertaken before writing begins and it is essential that you allow sufficient time to create the specification.

It is useful to discuss the specification with a range of potential tenderers during its development. This must be done in a fair and transparent manner to avoid distorting competition and/or giving any potential tenderer an advantage. Care must be taken to avoid unfairness, but also the impression of unfairness to some tenderers. Under no circumstances should any commitments be made during this process.

Following marketplace discussions, be careful that a supplier’s innovative ideas and approaches are not disclosed during the specification development.  Such innovations may provide a supplier with a competitive edge e.g. proprietary methods or Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

You should  consider how you can encourage the production of innovative goods and services, which will assist the Organisation deliver evolving policies and strategies e.g. sustainable low carbon products.

As with all aspects of the Procurement Journey, the activities at this stage must be carried out in a carefully managed manner that supports the Principles of Procurement

Suppliers should not experience unnecessary costs through casual bid enquiries. You are responsible for ensuring that best Value For Money is achieved through the procurement process.

Review and sign-off

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


Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

Specification Contents

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

Specification Changes

Once a contract is awarded the scope to make changes to the specification is very limited.  For example asking the contractor to deliver more or less than was specified at the time of tendering.

Any such changes may be challenged in the Courts. If the supplier cannot deliver in line with the requirements in the original contract (perhaps due to specification omissions or errors), the contract may have to be terminated and a new procurement undertaken.

Variants

You may authorise or require variants on the contract requirements as long as it has been specified:

  • in the Contract Notice or,
  • where a PIN is used as a means of calling for competition, in the invitation to confirm interest.  

The Procurement Documents must set out the minimum requirements and how any variant will be evaluated. Variants cannot be considered unless this has been done, they are linked to the subject matter and they meet the minimum requirements.

Where it is relevant, you should also consider whether to allow bidders to set out different TUPE scenarios within their bids. If you elect to include this in your tender, you should provide clear directions to tenderers to ensure that bids can be compared on a like-for-like basis.

All variant bids should be evaluated using the same criteria as the standard bids and compared on a like-for-like basis.

Early Market Engagement

You can conduct market consultation.  This will help you prepare both the procurement itself and the market for the coming process. 

To undertake market consultation you can speak with independent experts, regulatory authorities or suppliers to the market. You can then use any advice received in the planning and execution of your procurement process.

You must make sure there is no distortion of competition and no negative effect on the principles of non-discrimination and transparency. 

All suppliers / bidders who join the process at a later date must be provided with the same information as those who engaged prior to the tender.  This will  ensure a fair process.

Equality Duty

The public sector equality duty requires organisations to assess new or revised policies and practices to evaluate how they will impact people with different protected characteristics. 

You must take into account the three needs of the public sector equality duty:

  • to eliminate discrimination;
  • advance equality of opportunity; and
  • foster good relations between people with different protected characteristics.

The protected characteristics are:

age

disability

gender reassignment

Marriage and civil partnership

pregnancy and maternity

race

religion or belief

sex

sexual orientation

 

You should also integrate human rights into your impact assessments to help suppliers meet their obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998. Further information  on how to conduct equality impact assessments is available on the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) website.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

The technical specification can specify whether the transfer of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) will be required.

This is important as suppliers are likely to find the contract much less attractive if  any intellectual property  they create would be the property of the buying organisation. This may be an unnecessary barrier to competition to some suppliers who supply similar goods or services to other customers.   The Organisation, however, may legitimately ask for access to intellectual property which they require.

Life Cycle Costing

You can apply a number of different costing models such as life cycle costing or whole life costing as part of the specification and subsequent evaluation. 

 

Whole Life Costing

Focuses solely on cost(£) of a product or service from cradle to grave. It takes into account purchase, operation, ownership and disposal costs..

Environmental or social costs are not included.

 

Lifecycle Costing 

This covers part or all of the following product or service costs :

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

 (i) purchase costs;

(ii)usage costs e.g. energy consumption  and other resources;

(iii)maintenance costs;

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

(b) product or service life cycle environmental costs  To include such values you must be able to calculate and verify them This may include the cost of  greenhouse gas emissions, other pollutant emissions and other climate change avoidance costs.

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

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

 Attributable costs can only be assessed when:

  • based on criteria that don’t favour or disadvantage any potential bidders and which are not established for repeated or continuous application;
  • the assessment method is accessible to all interested parties;
  • the data required can be provided with reasonable effort from all interested parties. An example is the World Trade Organisation Government Procurement Agreement (e.g. USA).

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

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

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

 

Lifecycle Impact Mapping

Focuses on social and environmental impact rather than cost. It helps 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 you to build end-of-life management requirements into  successful contractor performance clauses and your own internal management procedures.

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

Labels

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

. To use this approach it is necessary to meet the following criteria:

  • The labels can only concern criteria that are linked to the subject matter of the contract.  These must be appropriate to define characteristics of the supplies or services
  • They have to be based on objective and non-discriminatory criteria
  • The label itself is established in an open and transparent procedure. It can be accessible to all interested parties
  • The label requirements are set by a third party over which no potential bidder has decisive influence

It is more proportionate for you to specify which label requirements bidders need to meet for your  requirements rather than using a broad “all applies” basis.  This approach will reduce the burden on bidders and could also expand the number of capable bidders for your process.

Equivalent labels must be accepted if the bidder can show  it has not been possible to obtain either the label or other equivalents, through no fault of its own.  You must accept other appropriate means of proof.

Using Samples, Patterns, etc., in Specifications

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

In this case, a "sealed sample" must be kept for later comparison with the products supplied. Samples, patterns and drawings may also form part of a design specification.

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

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

Simplification and Variety Reduction

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

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

At its simplest this might be seen as the:

  • reduction in the number of item colours  purchased,
  •  sizes of envelopes  purchased and kept in stock and

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

Contract Implementation/Contract and Supplier Management

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

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

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

Demand Management

Demand should be regularly assessed.  In some business areas internal customers or budget holders may under or over specify e.g   for consultancy services, specifying a Partner when an Associate could deliver the brief: they are  suitable and can deliver at less than half the day rate.  It could be more cost effective to have a fixed term appointment than having an interim who stays in place for much longer than the initial contracted period.

In order to avoid scope creep, it is essential to ensure that a robust scoping process is undertaken at the earliest opportunity.  Otherwise a supplier may offer additional services which are not  required. Supplier led scope creep can occur and should be demand managed. An example  is an IT project aimed at buying a records management system which links, shares and  allows the  updating of records. If a project like this is not fully scoped and requirements understood early on suppliers may exploit planning gaps.   The supplier may add additional products or services as a problem “resolution tool”.  This would increase the scope, cost and timescales of the initial project. 

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