The 2012 Olympic Games, held in the UK, offered numerous contract opportunities; with more than 1,000 suppliers awarded contracts worth over £5 billion. However, many of the contracts were subject to the EU Procurement Directives, and the legislation under which they are implemented in the UK, which have set the law on public procurement since 2006.
The intention of the EU procurement rules is to open up the procurement market and to ensure the free movement of supplies, services and works within the EU. However, businesses can find themselves excluded from opportunities through a lack of awareness of the procurement processes.
Davies & Robson are actively involved in public procurement, in an advisory capacity to either those with contracts to tender or tenderers themselves.
Projects that receive public money must ensure that contracts are awarded to those suppliers who offer fullness of service and value for money. Davies & Robson have extensive market experience to assist those with contracts to tender or with supporting potential tenderers. For potential tenderers key points to note are:
- The importance of carefully reading the tender instructions; unlike the private sector, the tender panel has to evaluate submissions strictly against the published directions and criteria in order to prevent legal appeals from unsuccessful tenderers.
- Ensuring that the tender submission closely adheres to what is required. The tender panel can only take into account evidence that is included in the tender submission; contractors cannot rely on reputation to overcome the weaknesses of a poor response.
- Ensuring that the scoring system and weighting is clearly understood and addressed; those factors with the greatest weighted should be given the greatest priority.
- Ensuring the weighting for ‘quality’ and price are clearly understood: is the weighting 60:40 or 50:50 etc.
- Visits to reference sites can usually only be used to validated claims made in the tender submission; points may be reduced but not increased.
- Unless it is a ‘negotiated’ contract, which is unusual, recognise that you will either win or lose; there is no negotiation. Your tender response will form part of the legally binding agreement.
- In view of the need for the need to be able to justify their decisions everything must be documented; it is therefore worth ensuring that the person chosen to manage your response is able to provide clear written responses that satisfy the tender request and any subsequent clarification questions.
There are no second chances when responding to tenders subject to EU Procurement rules, the timescales are specific and requests for information must be fully satisfied in order to be scored correctly. Davies & Robson guide tenderers through the processes to ensure adherence to the rules and timely, complete submissions.