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Tendering process for consultancy support

The tender process involves the invitation by the Department to tenderers to submit their price in respect of the proposed commission. All public procurement of goods and services is to be based on value for money, having due regard to propriety and regularity.

Where the recommended consultant procurement procedures are being followed, then the quality assessment will already have been carried out. If this is the case, then during the tender period the consultant will have only to review the level of resources required and submit the price. However, the price itself may have implications regarding resourcing. Since resourcing is a quality issue this aspect in particular may necessitate a re-appraisal of the quality score arrived at after completion of pre-tender interview.

Fitness for purpose checklist:

  • quality of supplies, materials and results;
  • the value of the finished product to the business;
  • life-cycle costs not just initial costs; and,
  • appointing, retaining and improving the best team to manage and deliver a project  

Suggested content:

  • Determine sufficient time for tender period
  • Issue tender invitation and tender documents to tenderers enclosing
  • label and specific date time and address for return
  • Deal with tenderers queries promptly - and advise all other
  • tenderers of information given
  • Place all tenders received in the tender box
  • Sort tenderers by name or preferably by price and assign a unique
  • tender number to each
  • List tenders received, not received, on tender summary sheet
  • Prepare clear, consistent and comprehensive tender documents
  • Facilitate any site visits required by tenderers
  • List tender number, opening date, name and price in tender record book. 

Source information:

  • Programme Plan  

In all dealings with suppliers and potential suppliers, departments should do their best to preserve the highest standards of honesty, integrity, impartiality and objectivity. In particular, departments should do their best:

  • a. to be fair, efficient, firm and courteous;
  • b. to achieve the highest professional standards in the award of contracts;
  • c. to publicise procurement contact points and make available as much information as suppliers need to respond to the bidding process;
  • d. to notify the outcome of bids promptly and, within the bounds of commercial confidentiality, to debrief winners and losers on request on the outcome of the bidding process to facilitate better performance on future occasions;
  • e. to achieve the highest professional standards in the management of contracts; and
  • f. to respond promptly, courteously and efficiently to suggestions, enquiries and complaints.

Selection of bidders. In contract award procedures which involve the selection of suppliers to be invited to tender or negotiate, the selection should be made on the basis of objective criteria, taking account of the evidence permitted under the EC rules where they apply. Purchasers should ensure that, consistent with their legal obligations, any minimum standards of financial or economic standing and technical capacity, are proportionate to the contract(s) in question and that in selecting participants undue emphasis is not placed on size.

The EC thresholds and the rules that a contracting authority must follow in deciding whether a particular contract exceeds the appropriate advertising threshold are set out in regulation 7 of each of the Supplies, Works and Services Regulations.

Further information:

See Achieving Excellence Guides; see also PFI Technical Note How to Appoint and manage advisers to PFI projects.

For detailed advice, see Guide to Appointment of Consultants and Contractors.

See also NAO guidance on the purchasing of professional services.

See also OGC Consultancy Division