This section provides you with guidance to conduct Post Tender Clarifications and Negotiation where appropriate.
It is important that any discussions at this stage are fully documented.
For complex regulated procurements, you may find some of the guidance and tools in Route 3 to be of benefit.
The objective at the clarification stage is to clarify the tenders as submitted i.e. it is contact between you and the bidder(s) purely to clarify aspects of the tender which are unclear or abnormal.
Tender, or bid clarifications, may be required during the evaluation of tenders. This may be the case where aspects of the bid:
In seeking clarification, all communications with tenderers must be properly recorded so that an audit trail is maintained. If PCS-Tender is being utilised, this can be recorded on the system in the messaging area.
A checklist of points to consider once you have received all bids.
All tenderers who meet the tender requirements should be given the same opportunity to engage in tender/bid clarification.
Extreme caution and care must be used to avoid either unfairness to potential tenderers or the impression of unfairness to some tenderers.
Post Tender Negotiation (PTN) should not be confused with 'tender' or 'bid clarification'.
Tender Clarification is contact between you and bidder(s) purely to clarify aspects of the tender which are unclear or abnormal whereas Post Tender Negotiation is contact between you and the leading tenderer (possibly multiple leading tenderers) to improve or enhance Value for Money (VFM).
Post Tender Negotation:
This list is not meant to be exhaustive. Any negotiation process requires you to define the points most relevant to the procurement exercise and the specific bid under negotiation.
PTN should be a controlled and documented process. It should not be used automatically on all procurements.
Before engaging in PTN, the following criteria should be met:
A clear "audit trail" should be available to illustrate the process was conducted fairly and transparently. The PTN record should show:
When carried out with openness and mutual trust negotiations can strengthen relationships with bidders.
The potential areas for negotiation will differ for every contract. Typical topics might be the:
Negotiations in relation to price or other areas where bid improvements may be possible should not take place.
Where tenders appear abnormally low in relation to the supplies and services being offered, organisations should clarify the price or costs proposed in the tender.
If it is found that the tender is abnormally low due to a breach of environmental, social or employment law obligations it is best practice to reject the tender. This includes collective agreements and certain international law measures.
Before awarding the contract you should ensure you receive the most up-to-date supporting documents e.g. certificates. These documents should be requested in the selection stage of the tender. For Framework Agreements this should be done prior to a contract based on the Framework being awarded.