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The tendering process

Types of Procedure

Tenders are normally invited under either a 'restricted' or an 'open' procedure.

Open Tendering Procedure

This procedure is generally used where the expected number of responses is likely to be manageable. Any organisation expressing an interest in an advertised opportunity is invited to tender and is issued with a tender pack. This must be completed fully and returned with any requested supporting information by a specified date and time. A panel of officers evaluate responses against pre-set criteria and the highest scoring tenderer is awarded the contract.

Restricted Tendering Procedure

This procedure is generally used if a high level of interest is anticipated. This procedure requires organisations who express an interest to undergo an initial pre-qualification assessment to appraise such things as their economic and financial standing, capability and capacity and compliance with Health and Safety and Equal Opportunities. Normally organisations are sent a pre-qualification questionnaire which must be completed fully and returned by a specified date and time. A panel of officers evaluate responses against pre-set criteria and the most suitable applicants are then invited to tender.

Electronic tendering (eTendering)

Electronic tendering (eTendering) uses a secure portal to conduct the entire tendering process electronically. This involves every step in the tender process from expression of interest through to contract award. This form of tendering requires organisations to register an interest online, at which point they will be able to access all tender information and questionnaire(s). Organisations are required to complete and submit their tender submission online, by a specified date and time. Evaluation will be against pre-set criteria and will either be completed automatically by the portal, or by a panel of officers where automatic scoring is not achievable e.g. for a lengthy written response.

Electronic tendering can be used when following any type of tendering procedure, and if appropriate, could also involve the use of an electronic reverse auction (eAuction).

The tender pack

If you are successful in the initial pre-qualification assessment, or are taking part in an open procedure, we will send you a tender pack. This will usually include the following:

Contents of a tender pack
Section Description
Instructions to Tender Provides important guidance for completing your tender submission and informs you of when and where tenders must be submitted
Specification Provides details of the Council's specific requirements, for example performance standards and the outcomes we require
Supplier Questionnaire The document which sets out the questions you are required to answer
Pricing Schedule The document where your prices/ rates are entered
Terms and Conditions Sets out the basis of the relationship between the Council and successful tenderers
Form of Tender Your formal offer to the Council which must be signed
Other Procurement Forms Other forms including the Non-Collusion Certificate, Freedom of Information Notice and Declaration, all of which must be signed.
Appendices Will include any supporting information such as plans, drawings, maps etc
Tender Return Label To be fixed to the envelope/ package in which you return your submission

Tender documents can be quite detailed but this should not deter you from tendering for the business. If you have any queries, there will always be an officer named in the tender pack who you can contact for advice and guidance.

Tenders will need to be completed by a given time and returned using the tender label provided. Make sure you do not mark the tender envelope with your organisations postmark or any other information that identifies you. Tender documents are all opened at the same time after the return date. If you fail to return your tender documents by the specified deadline the tender will be automatically excluded from the evaluation process.

How we evaluate responses

We generally assess tenders and quotations on a 'Most Economically Advantageous' basis. This is so that quality and other important factors can be considered in addition to cost. Such factors might include response times, delivery lead-time, implementation plans or conformity to specific quality standards.

The tender documents will always provide detailed information and guidance on how tenders will be evaluated.

Tenders are evaluated against pre-determined criteria, usually by a panel of officers representing various departments of the Council. The evaluation focuses on how tenderers propose to deliver the quality required and how this relates to the price(s) offered. Tenderers may be invited to attend an interview, submit samples and/or provide a demonstration or a presentation as part of the evaluation process.

Whether successful or not, tenderers will be contacted in writing with the outcome of the evaluation process. Within the limits of commercial confidentiality, tenderers will be provided with feedback that will provide an explanation of why their bid was unsuccessful. This feedback should help with future bids as it will provide the following information:

  • The rank order of your tender and details of your assessment score
  • Any areas where the tender did not reach required standards
  • Broad guidance on the strengths of the successful tender
  • The name of the successful tenderer

Top tips for tendering

  • Read the advertisement and the instructions within it carefully and submit a request as required by the dates shown.
  • Read all documentation carefully and direct any queries to the relevant contact officer.
  • Make sure you provide all the information requested and answer all questions accurately.
  • If you do not understand any part of the specification, contact the officer named in the tender documentation by the stipulated date and request further information.
  • Return the tender by the closing date and time and in the manner prescribed.
  • Respond promptly to any requests for further information.