Tendered Business are in line with EU legislation, all contracts from the public sector, which are valued above a certain threshold, must be published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU, formally the OJEC).
The legislation covers organisations and projects, which receive public money. Local authorities, NHS trusts, Central Government Departments etc… are all covered by the legislation and must advertise in OJEU if their contract is covered.
Around 2500 new notices are advertised every week – invitations to tender, pre-information notices, qualification systems and contract award notices from over 80 countries world-wide. Around 10% – 15% of these are from the UK and Northern Ireland.
What Tender Procedure is used?
The public authority can elect, subject to the regulations, to follow one of three procedures when issuing a notice. These procedures are:
Open – Any company may submit a tender in response to the notice.
Restricted – Each company must prove suitability to the contracting authority before being invited to submit a tender. This is generally carried out by the use of a pre-qualification document to shortlist suitable companies to go through to the full tender stage.
Negotiated – The authority negotiates the terms of the contract with one or several companies. This procedure can only be used in certain circumstances.
The timescale from publishing a notice to deadline for tenders can be relatively short – for an open procedure, the authority must allow at least 52 days between sending the contract to OJEU and deadline for tenders. However it can take up to 12 days before the notice appears in OJEU, leaving the supplier only 40 days to respond.
Restricted and negotiated procedures have shorter deadlines, which can be reduced further if the contract is urgent.
What Criteria is used to Evaluate Tenders?
Information used to appraise suppliers includes:
- Financial (accounts, prices, etc.)
- Quality systems (ISO 9000 etc)
- Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policies
- Environmental Policy (becoming a major pre-requisite for many authorities)
- References and testimonials
- Site visits may sometimes be used.
How do we make Contact?
Many local authorities use approved or preferred supplier lists for their smaller contracts and requests for quotes. Suppliers have to qualify to be on these lists. Being on a list does not guarantee you will be awarded a contract, but this will put you in a better position than someone not on the list – the buyer already knows you.
Many local authorities have Centralised Purchasing Units. While the unit may not be responsible for all contracts, they will be able to put you in touch with the right person in the organisation for you to talk to.
Local Authority and Council websites will usually have a procurement section, or section headed “Doing business with the Authority”.
Is my Company fit to tender?
Before responding to an OJEU notice – quickly complete the following checklist, Answering a pre-qualification questionnaire can be very time consuming, if you don’t qualify you won’t even get to the full tender stage.
Who is the client? Have you had any experience with them, good or bad?
What is the size of the project? Is it within your capabilities?
Time scale for the project: Can you do it in the time allowed?
Geography of the project and the client: Is it feasible?
Previous successes: Can you provide references from similar projects you have been involved in?
The competition: Who are your competitors and what are your chances against them?
What information will I be required to produce?
Standard documents required for most bids
- Certificate of incorporation/VAT certificate
- 3 years audited accounts
- Quality policy/certification
- Environmental/sustainability policy
- Organisation/group company chart
- Health & safety policy
- Equal opportunities policy
- Equality and diversity policy
- Certification to governing bodies within industry
- Client testimonials/references
- Insurance certificates, employers liability min 5M, public liability min 5M
- Relevant industry awards