Route 3

Route 3

Below are the key considerations for communicating the contract.  These should be considered in your communications plan.

Why?

Having completed the procurement to the point of award it is essential to communicate effectively. Contract Award communication  and of the subsequent procedures is essential to ensure compliance.  It also maximises the planned benefit(s) from the procurement exercise.

Who?

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

What?

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

When?

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

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

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

How?

You must consider how you communicate to your audience.    This can be determined by the stakeholder audience you are targeting.

You may also wish to consider (but not limited to):

  • Newsletters- stakeholder community

  • Intranet/internet article - public audience

  • e-zines – targeted group

  • e-mail - small targeted group

  • Roadshows – specific bidders or the general supplier community

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

Some activities undertaken are described more fully further along this process e.g. buyer/end user information packs, supplier buyer events.

This is intended as a guide rather than being prescriptive.


Care and Support Services - Communication and Transitional Arrangements

Communication with people who use services and their carers

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

In these communications an organisation should explain:

  • how long it will take to decide who will provide the service;
  • what will happen at different times in the process;
  • how people who use the services and their carers will be involved in the process;
  • who will make the final decisions and how these will be made;
  • (where appropriate) why there may be a change in service provider; and,
  • how service provision may change as a result of the procurement process.

An organisation should also provide contact details for further information.

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

 

Transitional arrangements

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

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

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

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

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

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


Post Award Supplier Meeting

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

The purpose of this meeting is to:

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

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

Buyer/End User Information Packs

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

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

This information pack should demonstrate how the contract delivers best value and provides information  on contract benefits e.g. savings, KPIs, improvements in quality and service, prompt payment of the full supply chain, sustainable procurement and community benefits expected etc.

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

Supplier/Buyer Events

A useful way to raise contract awareness amongst potential customers is to organise Supplier/Buyer events.  This gives both parties an opportunity to meet each other and exchange information e.g. undertaking a Supplier/Buyer Event Presentation, and/or distributing information packs / buyers’ guides.

Such events can provide useful information which can be used in the current contract (assuming it does not cause a material change) or in future contracts.

Postal Services End User Guide Example

Route 3

You can award the contract:

  • once the standstill period has elapsed with no challenge from unsuccessful tenderers
  • when you have obtained  internal approvals your Organisation's governance requires.

Before awarding the contract to the successful tenderer(s) you should check the following.

Checklist

Checklist

Pre-Contract Award Checklist

Action

Completed?

Have you received the most up-to-date supporting documents referred to in the selection stage response e.g. certificates?

 

Was the Standstill Notice sent to all bidders?

 

Were there any concerned candidates?  If so, was the Standstill Notice sent to them?

 

Has the standstill period actually passed?

 

Were any concerned candidates or bidders not notified electronically?  If so a 15 days standstill applies.

 

 

 

 

 

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

Publishing the Contract Award

The contract documentation should be collated and finalised to reflect the successful tenderer’s submission and agreed terms and conditions. This documentation must be signed in duplicate by the appropriate authority levels in both the contracting and tenderer's organisations.

You must include Fair Work practice commitments from the successful tenderer’s bid as standard Contract & Supplier Management criteria in the contract terms.  This will include any agency or sub-contractor workers.

You must include terms which will apply to new members of the workforce during the delivery of the contract.

It is also important to include terms, which will apply to any new members to the workforce during the delivery of the contract.

The documentation must be signed in duplicate by the appropriate authority levels in both the contracting and tenderer's organisations.

You must consider who you need to inform when a contract has been awarded and the information they require e.g. notify stakeholders and users of the contract award, providing them with timescales, details of the contract, any migration considerations.

If using PCS-Tender, the Contract Award must be activated on the system. This activation does not generate correspondence to the tenderers.  As a result you must issue the award on PCS.


Contract Award Notice

A Contract Award Notice is a public announcement of the public procurement exercise outcome.  This public announcement can be made in two ways: 

  • if your contract/Framework Agreement/Dynamic Purchasing System was advertised before 11 p.m. on 31 December your Contract Award Notices will be published via  the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).
  • if your contract/Framework Agreement/Dynamic Purchasing System was advertised after 11 p.m. on 31 December your Contract Award Notices will be published via the Find a Tender Service (FTS).

In both of the above scenarios PCS will automatically direct your Contract Award Notice via the correct publication system.

Publication of a Contract Award Notice is mandatory for ALL Route 3 procurement exercises. 

The Contract Award Notice must be despatched no later than 30 calendar days after the contract or framework agreement award date. This also applies when a mini competition is £50k or over and has been called off from a Framework Agreement.

Contract Award Notice(s) must be published on the Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) portal. Contract Award Notices published via PCS will contain all of the mandatory information required.

Contract Award Notices for Lots

When running a procurement exercise, there may be some circumstances where you wish to award some lots and not others.

For example:

  • Delaying a contract award on a specific lot because of a delay to the standstill period but still awarding the other lots in the procurement exercise.
  • There are no compliant bids on a specific lot and an alternative exercise may be required for this lot but the bids on the other lots are compliant and can still be awarded.

To support this, in Public Contracts Scotland (PCS), from 1 October 2020, you will have the capability to award selected lots through separate award notices.

The new process in PCS will be:

  1. Select your notice and click on “award”
  2. The new page will be displayed with all lots (if any). If there are no lots, the award process stays the same
  3. You will need to deselect lots you don’t want to award and then click  “award”.

There are no changes to the award notice itself and the award process will also stay the same.

Please note, the process to create a stand-alone notice will also not be affected.

Dynamic Purchasing System Contract Award Notices

For contracts created via a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS), Contract Award Notices can either be:

  • published individually for each and every award, or
  • can be grouped together, published on a quarterly basis within 30 calendar days of the end of each quarter.

Contracts Register

The Public Contract Scotland (PCS) Contracts Register module provides buying organisations a facility to operate a private register of all contracts they have in place. This  register meets the Procurement Reform Act (Scotland) 2014 Section 35 obligations.

When you publish a PCS award notice an entry is automatically made in your contracts register. Your organisation will need to make the decision whether to make the contracts register publicly viewable or not.

The PCS contracts register will pull through the contract value from your contract award notice. You should always be as open and transparent as possible when completing this field. This field can be manually amended but all relevant amendments have to be manually duplicated in the Scottish Procurement Information Hub (there is no integration between the two systems for manual amendments).

Even if you withhold the contract value from a contract award notice, this does not provide cover from Freedom Of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA). To withhold under FOISA, the information would have to, or be likely to, cause substantial prejudice/.  Also the public interest in withholding the information would have to outweigh the public interest in its release.

Detailed contracts register user guidance can be found in PCS.

PLEASE NOTE:  if you do not use PCS for producing a contract register, you still must produce a publicly available one.

Community Benefits

The contract award notice must include a community benefits statement when:

  • the estimated value of the contract is equal to or greater than £4,000,000
  • the procurement documents stated community benefit requirements will be imposed in the contract,

If included, this statement must include the benefits you believe will derive from community benefits clause(s) through the life of the contract.

With-holding Information

You can withhold information from the contract award notice or the conclusion of the framework agreement where publication:

a) would impede law enforcement;

b) would be against the public interest;

c) would affect the commercial interests of particular tenderer(s), whether they are public or private, or

d) may impact fair competition between tenderers

So, if relying on (c) you need to demonstrate that the commercial interests of the company concerned would definitely be prejudiced by releasing the  information.


As with all stages of the Procurement Journey consideration must also be given to Planning, Sustainable Procurement and Risk Management.  For example you must be mindful that there is always a risk of supplier challenge to your procurement exercise.  You must therefore do what you can to mitigate such risks.

Route 3

When you are ready to award your contract you must send a specific notification to tenderers (the Standstill Notice), which commences a standstill period.  Using a standstill notice you must inform each tenderer as soon as possible of the contract award decision reached.

A standstill notice communicates the intent to conclude the contract.  It should be sent as soon as possible after the contract award decision has been made.

A standstill notice must also be issued providing, where applicable, the grounds for any of the following decisions:

  • Not to conclude a framework agreement for which there has been a call for competition;
  • Not to award a contract for which there has been a call for competition;
  • To recommence the procedure; or
  • Not to implement a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) for which there has been a call for competition.

A mini-competition can be issued with no standstill for Framework Agreements which are already in place. These templates may be used to notify the successful and unsuccessful tenderers in this instance.

Responses to a Written Request

In addition to the standstill notice you must respond within 15 days to a tenderer’s written request to:

  • advise an unsuccessful tenderer of the reasons for rejection of its request to participate;
  • inform an unsuccessful tenderer of the reasons for the rejection of its tender. This includes any decision that the goods or services do not meet the performance or functional requirements;
  • for an unsuccessful tenderer, which has not been informed by a standstill notice, confirm the characteristics and relative advantages of the successful tender.  This includes the name of the successful tenderer;
  • if it was the successful tenderer, a description of any improvements the Organisation considers the tenderer could have made to its tender.

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

With-holding Information

Your Organisation may withhold certain information, regarding the contract award, where the release of such information would:

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

As with all aspects of the Procurement Journey, the activities at this stage must be carried out in a carefully managed way that supports the Principles of Procurement. As a minimum the processes must be carried out in a transparent manner that ensures there is no distortion of the market place, the outcome cannot be a procurement that unduly favours or disadvantages a particular bidder and it is the responsibility of the Organisation to make sure that these requirements are met.

Pecos Content Management System (PCM)

Please note,  if the commodity/service was deemed to be suitable for cataloguing, the Procurement Officer should set up the successful tenderer on the Pecos Content Management System (PCM) to ensure that he/she can prepare the catalogues where it has not already been done.

PCM is not appropriate for Care and Support Services 

Route 3

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

Unsuccessful suppliers and tenderers have a right to know the reasons for their rejection. Any tenderer may request additional information regarding the tendering process. You need to make sure enough time and resource is given to the debriefing process.

Debriefing will also be necessary for unsuccessful candidates at the Selection Stage.

Care should be taken that debriefing information is consistent with that provided with the Standstill Notice.

Debriefing Objectives

Supplier Performance

To assist suppliers to improve their performance. A debriefing should cover the positive aspects and suggest areas for improvement of the unsuccessful bid.  Suppliers will then have the opportunity to address these issues and improve their competitiveness in any future bids.

Bidder Feedback

To offer unsuccessful tenderers the opportunity to provide feedback to the Organisation on the tender process.  This will help with continuous process improvement .

Reputation

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

 

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

Debriefing Timescales

Candidates eliminated at the Selection Stage:

  • it is a legal requirement to notify candidates eliminated at this stage "as soon as reasonably practicable" (based on commercial judgement);
  • provision of de-brief information is not required, but should be done as a matter of best practice;
  • if candidates make a written request, de-brief information must be provided within 15 days.

Unsuccessful tenderers:

  • all tenderers must receive a standstill notice with the required information as soon as possible after the contract award decision has been made.  This includes a summary of the reasons why they were unsuccessful and the characteristics and relative advantages of the successful tenderer(s)
  • if tenderers make a written request, additional de-brief information must be provided within 15 days.

Debriefing Meeting

A Procurement Officer should chair the debriefing meeting. Other User Intelligence Group (UIG) members or end-users can still provide guidance and/or assistance.

Where a formal debriefing meeting is required, this may involve representatives from both operational areas and procurement professionals.  This will ensure the debriefing is undertaken by experienced and fully trained personnel.

You should ensure that technical/operational representatives understand their role in the debriefing.

Fair Work Practices Feedback

When providing feedback on Fair Work practices, you should take care to ensure feedback does not suggest one Fair Work practices element is a tender requirement.  Example of feedback to bidders on Fair Work will help you consider the information you provide.

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

Debriefing - Points to Remember

  • Tenderers are entitled to a written explanation of why their tender was unsuccessful.

  • Debriefing should be undertaken in line with Notification of Contract Award Decision station. Care must be taken to ensure all information provided  can be justified.

  • When debriefing it must be made clear to each tenderer that only their tender will be discussed.

  1. Under no circumstances will such things as commercial terms, innovative ideas from another tenderer, be disclosed.

  2. The Briefing must be accurate, factual and consistent with information provided in the notices associated with the standstill period. You should not introduce new or conflicting reasons for the decision.

  • Debriefing meetings must be carefully planned and only executed by experienced personnel.

  • At the end of the debriefing meeting, tenderers should be asked if they have any comments/feedback on the Procurement Documents and the Procurement Exercise.

  • A record of the debriefing meeting must be made and placed on the appropriate registered file.

Any Documents you need are Listed Below

Route 3

The standstill period is a defined period of time between the notice of the contract award decision and the award of the contract.

The purpose of the standstill period is to:

  • ·allow unsuccessful tenderers to consider the feedback on their submissions
  • ·give them an opportunity to ask for further information or call for a review of the decision.

These templates can be used to notify the successful and unsuccessful tenderer(s) at the start of the standstill period.

Standstill Timescales

There are defined timelines for Standstill that must be followed before your organisation can enter into a contract.

These does not apply where

The standstill period is 10 days where the standstill notice is sent to all tenderers by facsimile or electronic means.  This 10 days ends at midnight at the end of the 10th day after that on which the last notice is sent.

Where the notice is sent to any tenderers only by other means, e.g. by post, the standstill period is 15 days ending at midnight at the end of the 15th day after that on which the last notice is sent.

Unsuccessful Tenderer Concerns

If unsuccessful tenderers have any concerns about the process, and/or its outcome, they should be raised during the standstill period.

Before approaching the court seeking any legal remedies, a tenderer must inform the Organisation and explain the basis for its court application. The Organisation will usually be aware of any legal challenge prior to the end of the mandatory standstill period.

When court action has commenced your Organisation cannot award the contract unless the court permits this.  This is usually after your Organisation has successfully applied to the court.

Even after contract award a supplier can approach the court seeking damages (see remedies section).standstill notice communicates the intent to conclude the contract and should be sent as soon as possible after the contract award decision has been made.

A standstill notice must also be issued providing, where applicable, the grounds for any decision:

  • Not to conclude a framework agreement for which there has been a call for competition;
  • Not to award a contract for which there has been a call for competition;
  • To recommence the procedure; or
  • Not to implement a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) for which there has been a call for competition.
  • Standard template notices can be found at: Standard Forms and Documentation.

Your Organisation can withhold certain information about regarding the contract award, where its release would prevent the enforcement of the law or be contrary to the public interest, would affect the commercial interests of particular tenderer(s)(public or private) or may impact fair competition between tenderers.  

As with all aspects of the Procurement Journey, the activities at this stage must be carried out in a carefully managed way that supports the Principles of Procurement. As a minimum the processes must be carried out in a transparent manner that ensures there is no distortion of the market place, the outcome cannot be a procurement that unduly favours or disadvantages a particular bidder and it is the responsibility of the Organisation to make sure that these requirements are met.

In addition to this notice the Organisation must respond within 15 days to a written request from a tenderer to:

  • advise an unsuccessful tenderer of the reasons for the rejection of its request to participate
  • inform an unsuccessful tenderer of the reasons for the rejection of its tender, including any decision that the goods or services do not meet the performance or functional requirements
  • in the case of an unsuccessful tenderer which has not been informed by a standstill notice, confirm the characteristics and relative advantages of the successful tender, including the name of the successful tenderer
  • if it was the successful tenderer, a description of any improvements the Organisation considers the tenderer could have made to its tender.

Please note,  if the commodity was deemed to be catalogueable, the Procurement Officer should set up the successful tenderer on the Pecos Content Management system to ensure that he/she can prepare the catalogues where it has not already been done.

Challenges During Standstill

If court proceedings are served on an Organisation during the standstill period then the Organisation cannot enter into the contract.

Organisations must ensure a process is in place to inform all relevant staff when proceedings are served. This process should also ensure that appropriate action is taken.

Route 3

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

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

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

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

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

Points to note

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

Any documents you need are listed below

Evaluation Matrix

(file type: xlsx)

Route 3

The price/commercial evaluation of tenders should be completed by the procurement officer.

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

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

You may consider including a 'whole-life costing' approach.  This would account of all aspects of cost from cradle to grave (acquisition, operation, ownership and disposal).

Higher value or complex procurements may require the use of investment appraisal techniques (such as discounted cash flow calculations). In all cases the data to be provided by tenderers and the method for price evaluation should be defined within the Invitation to Tender (ITT) documentation.

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

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

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

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

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

Any documents you need are listed below

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.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Before starting this stage you will already have assessed and determined the successful tenderers at the Selection Stage, if one is being used.

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

  • The Contract Award decision is objective and uses the disclosed criteria
  • The decision making process is fair, transparent and auditable
  • Your organisation can demonstrate best value in the tender process.

The panel members should read and score the quality/technical aspects of the tenders independently.  They should use the pre-defined evaluation criteria and scoring system already communicated as part of the tender process.  For example, this could include an agreed approach on how to handle responses from different sizes or types of bidders.  This is to ensure a consistent, non-discriminatory evaluation in line with the fundamental principles of procurement.

Tender Evaluation Timescales

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

The tender evaluation timescales may reduce if PCS-Tender evaluation is being used.  This is because  the comments and scores from all evaluators can be collated automatically. This information can also be used as the basis of the de-briefing report.

Evaluation Panel

Evaluation must always make sure equal treatment is undertaken in a proportionate, objective, transparent and non-discriminatory manner. 

An evaluation panel of at least two people should be established.  The panel should consist of individuals familiar with the organisation’s priorities and goals, who demonstrable technical ability to evaluate tenders.

An organisation may also consider including panel members with relevant knowledge or experience across particular aspects of the technical and quality evaluation.For example a human resources or trade union representative to help evaluate bidders’ responses to a Fair Work practice criterion . 

Ideally the panel membership is consistent throughout the entire process from pre-qualification to presentations and site visits.

The evaluation panel should be able to withstand any scrutiny. and It is the responsibility of the organisation to ensure no member has a conflict of interest which would prevent them from making a fair and objective tender assessment.

Moderation Meeting

A moderation meeting will be held after you have collated the scores given.  At the moderation meeting the evaluators come together to discuss and agree their final scores.

The process to agree the final scores must be fully transparent and documented.

Evaluation Responsibilities

The Procurement Officer should evaluate the commercial aspects of the tenders separately, including the price evaluation

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

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

The role of the procurement officer in the evaluation panel is to ensure an impartial and objective approach is taken to the evaluation of tenders. Some suggested 'dos and don’ts':

Do

Don't

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

'Read between the lines' or make assumptions

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

Collude with other panel members to agree scoring collectively

Score tenders independently and discuss any irregularities at a Moderation Meeting

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

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

 

The tender evaluation stage may be accompanied by presentations/site visits.

Evaluating 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.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

During evaluation, the complete package of Fair Work practices a bidder offers must be considered.  This includes taking particular consideration of the impact those practices can have on the way the contract is performed. 

A bidder’s package of Fair work practices would normally be expected to include fair pay and equal pay, including the real living wage. Individual elements of a package of Fair Work practices must not be scored separately. 

Best practice guidance and tools have been developed to help with the evaluation of a Fair Work criterion.  This includes additional guidance on evaluating responses from bidders from other countries.

Specific tools include:

Information sheets are also available to help evaluators become familiar with the subject matter.

 

Unsuccessful bids

You must ensure the evaluation panel provides justification for their scoring.  This will help when preparing standstill notices and debriefing suppliers.

A full justification of scoring is especially important where a bid has failed to meet the 'acceptable' expectation set out in the evaluation criteria. A record should be kept to ensure fairness and transparency of the process.

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

Presentation/Site Visits

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

The purpose and anticipated outcomes of the presentations and site visits must be made clear in the Invitation to Tender (ITT) documentation.  This should include details of how the visits will count towards the overall evaluation of tender submissions.

Cyber Security

Evaluating Cyber Security Requirements using the Cyber Security Procurement Support Tool

Buyers using the Cyber Security Procurement Support Tool will be presented with standardised Supplier Assurance Questionnaire reports and (in some circumstances) Cyber Implementation Plans (CIPS) from suppliers, detailing how minimum cyber security requirements will be met, Guidance on how to evalute SAQs and CIPs can be found in the CSPST Guidance for Buyers document, available here.

Route 3

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

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

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

  • opening,
  • checking, and
  • recording

the details of the returned tender submissions on the tender opening form.

Checklist

Checklist

Tender Opening Board Responsibilities

The Board must check and note the following:

Action

Completed?

Tender has been signed and dated by the tenderer

 

Price schedule has been completed in accordance with the ITT instructions

 

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

 

Any omissions must be recorded in writing and kept for the registered file.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

The completed Tender Opening Form must be retained and filed as part of the tender audit trail.

Any documents you need are listed below

Tender Opening Form

(file type: docx)

Route 3

It is best practice to use PCS-Tender to receipt tenders - if you have access. Alternatively, Public Contracts Scotland advertising can be used.

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

It is best practice for the Procurement Officer to notify the tenderers if the late tender has been accepted or rejected.The Freedom of Information Act (Scotland) 2002 has led to a notable increase in the amount of documentation relating to the evaluation of tenders and contract awards being released into the public domain and it is your duty to ensure that any procurement process can withstand such scrutiny.

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 evaluation must be carried out in a transparent way that ensures there is no distortion of the market place, the outcome cannot be a procurement that unduly favours or disadvantages a particular bidder and it is the responsibility of the Organisation to make sure that these requirements are met.

It is important that the evaluation of tenders use the criteria disclosed to tenderers. The assessment must be clear and robust in order to provide a full justification and audit trail for the resultant award decision.

Limiting the Number of Candidates

The Organisation should invite enough tenderers to generate competition.

Organisations may limit the number of candidates meeting the selection criteria  invited to tender or to conduct a dialogue. The minimum number of qualified tenderers that may be indicated by an organisation are:

  • Restricted Procedure: the minimum number of tenderers is five.
  • Competitive Procedure with Negotiation, Competitive Dialogue Procedure and Innovation Partnership procedure: the minimum number of candidates is three.

Late Bids

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

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

If there is any doubt about whether to allow a late tender into the competition, advice from your Procurement Department and/or legal advice should be sought. There will need to be a clear audit trail of the handling of late tenders and any decision taken.

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

What if you Haven’t Received Enough Responses?

You may continue with the procedure if the number of candidates meeting the selection criteria and minimum requirements is below the minimum number set.  However to do so you  must invite all candidates with the required capabilities.

Where tenderers issued with a copy of the ITT do not submit a response, you should ask for reasons why.  These reasons should be recorded and filed to aid future strategy development.

If the only tenders which are received for an Open or Restricted Procedure are irregular or unacceptable (including tenders above the established budget), then you may apply:

  • a competitive procedure with negotiation or
  • a competitive dialogue.

In these cases you do not need to publish a Contract Notice when the procedure includes all of, and only, the tenderers meeting the selection and exclusion criteria (who submitted tenders as part of the original procedure).

If only one tender response is received you should consider why this is.  For example has the market been restricted in some way or has the opportunity been unattractive?. In such cases you should consider restarting the process.

If you are satisfied that there are no particular reasons for the submission of only one tender response you can continue with the procedure.  This can only happen is the one bid is compliant with all requirements.

The above should be conducted in accordance with your internal governance procedures.

Non-Competitive Action

You may consider the use of a Non Competitive Action (NCA) in cases of exceptional circumstances.  You must receive approval from the appropriate person in your Organisation e.g. Head of Procurement, before proceeding.

Please note, there is no single checklist of situations or factors to be considered. The decision whether to approve a NCA request will need to be made on a case by case basis. 

Some situations may include:  

Extreme urgency - competition is not required when a contract needs to be put in place urgently to respond to a circumstance which is nforeseeable' by, and outwith the control of your organisation (e.g. severe and unprecedented weather conditions, emergency pandemic conditions). Any contract awarded through the NCA process must only cover the urgent (immediate) need.

Only one possible supplier - you will need to provide objective evidence that will withstand scrutiny and audit to support the decision that there is not an alternative or equivalent product or service available in the market which will meet your needs.

The Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015 (Reg 33) provides further guidance on when youi may award a public contract following the negotiated procedure without prior publication of a contract notice or prior information notice.

For example, only to be used when:

  1. no tenders, no suitable tenders, no requests to participate or no suitable requests to participate have been submitted in response to an open procedure or a restricted procedure.  This is provided that the initial conditions of the contract are not substantially altered, and that a report is sent to the Commission if requested
  2. where the supplies or services can be supplied by a particular supplier for any of the following reasons: 

    (i) the procurement aim is the creation or purchase of a unique work of art or artisitc performance

    (ii) there can be no competition for technical reasons (where no reasonable alternative or substitute exists and the lack of competition is not due to artifically narrowing the scope of the procurement)

    (iii) to protect exclusive rights, including intellectual property rights (where no reasonable alternative or substitute exists and the lack of comppetition is not due to artifically narrowing the scope of the procurement)

  3. where (but only if strictly necessary) due to extreme urgency as a result of events unforeseeable by your organisation, the time limits for the open procedure, restricted procedure or competitive procedure with negotiation cannot be complied with.

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

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