An Open Procedure is where the procurement exercise is open to all suppliers. This means that any interested supplier can bid, within the tender timescales, and the procurement officer cannot limit the number of bids it receives.
This is normally used by public sector procurement officers where there is likely to be limited interest in an opportunity, to ensure maximum competition (and therefore value for money for the taxpayer). This procurement procedure is a one stage process i.e. all selection and award criteria are evaluated in one stage
The main points in the Open Procedure are:
- The contract is advertised by the public body on Public Contracts Scotland (PCS). The Contract Notice will clearly state that the contract is being carried out using the Open Procedure;
- Suppliers read the Contract Notice and, if interested in bidding, should note interest in the contract to view the invitation to tender (ITT) and any associated documents in PCS i.e. the procurement documents (or PCS-Tender if the procurement officer is using this system);
- Public bodies must make available all of the tender procurement documents via the internet. This access must be unrestricted, free of charge and made available from the date of publication of Contract Notice. This is the only procurement process where the procurement officer must make the procurement documents available at the outset of the process.
How Long Do I Have to Respond?
The closing date for the receipt of open procedure bids is generally no less than 35 days from the day after the date the Contract Notice is sent to OJEU for Europe-wide publication. This timescale can be reduced if a Prior Information Notice was issued or where bids will be accepted electronically.
The procurement officer will detail all of the tender timelines in the tender documents. You should ensure you read and understand these.
If there is a justifiable reason to change the tender closing date, the new date will be notified to all bidders. If you have already submitted a tender then you should be given the opportunity to withdraw your original bid and submit a revised one.
What Do I Need to Do to Respond to an Open Procedure Tender?
- Register on Public Contracts Scotland;
- Formally note interest in the contract on PCS (and PCS-T if using);
- Access the procurement documents via PCS;
- Respond to the tender either by uploading documents via PCS or respond using PCS-T (the procurement officers instructions will tell you which system to use);
- Respond to the tender, either via PCS or PCS-T (the procurement officers instructions will tell you which system to use) ensuring you can meet the deadlines.
It is the responsibility of all suppliers to ensure that their bid is submitted in accordance with the rules of the competition and before the specified deadline. Non-conformant bids will be disqualified from the competition.