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Restricted Procedure

The Restricted Procedure is used where there are likely to be many suppliers interested in the opportunity. This is because procurement officers using the Restricted Procedure can limit the number of bidders to invite to tender to those with the best capacity and capability to meet the contract requirements, meaning bidders not meeting this criteria do not waste time and resources completing a full tender response.

This procedure has two distinct stages:

Selection Stage

The first stage is where interested suppliers need to complete a European Single Procurement Document (ESPD).  The procurement officer will publish a Contract Notice which will include details of how to access the ESPD (Scotland) i.e. via a Word document, the online ESPD (Scotland) Module in Public Contracts Scotland or via PCS-Tender.  Interested bidders will then have a minimum of 30 days to respond.

The ESPD is a list of relevant questions that suppliers need to answer about their past situation e.g. their capability and experience.  Examples of the questions asked include:

  • Are you bidding on your own or with any other suppliers?
  • Have you been subject to criminal convictions in the last five years?
  • Do you hold membership and/or qualifications of a specific body (as defined by the procurement officer)
  • Do you hold insurance certificates (for values as defined by the procurement officer).

Completing the ESPD allows bidders to confirm (or self-declare) that they meet the relevant selection and exclusion criteria to the procurement officer i.e.  that the responses given meet the procurement officers requirements and there is no reason for you to be excluded from the pocurement exercise.

The procurement officer will then shortlist the bidders who meet the criteria to proceed onto the next stage.

Suppliers who are shortlisted may be asked to provide evidence and supporting documents that they meet the relevant exclusion and selection criteria as declared in their ESPD response.  This will normally be done when the procurement officer has selected their preferred supplier and is about to award the contract, but could be asked for earlier in the process.

NOTE: The Selection Stage does not ask how you would plan to deliver the specific contract.

Award Stage

Suppliers shortlisted at the selection stage will all be issued with the procurement documents.

There will be a minimum of 5 companies invited to tender (where there are at least 5 suitably qualified or experienced companies).

Bidders should follow the instructions included in the tender documents, and prepare and submit their bid as they would with an Open Procedure

It is during this Award Stage that you will be asked questions about how you will meet the award criteria for a specific tender i.e. the future.  Examples of questions are:

  • Please provide a project plan regarding how you will mobilise and implement this contract.
  • Please detail the resources you will put in place to supply and support this contract.

Bidders will normally be given a minimum of 30 days to submit their bid (or 25 days if the procurement officer will accept electronic bids).  These timings can also be reduced further due to other factors e.g. extreme urgency, but the procurement officer will specify the timings involved in their tender documents.

How Long Do I Have to Respond?

For Stage 1 Selection, you will be given a minimum of 30 days to respond from the day the Contract Notice is sent for publication.

For Stage 2 Award,  you will be given a minimum of 30 days to respond to the tender. 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 a Restricted Procedure tender?

  • register on Public Contracts Scotland;
  • formally note interest in the contract;
  • access the procurement documents available via PCS;
  • access  the tender documents either by uploading documents via PCS;
  • 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.

Some General Points:

  • Due to the Restricted Procedure including two stages the process will normally take longer than an Open Procedure;
  • As the procurement officer can shortlist the number of bidders at the first stage, during the second stage you are competing against fewer bidders;
  • The procurement officer does not need to provide all procurement documents at the beginning of the exercise: only the ESPD and enough information to let you decide whether you wish to bid or not;
  • Documents must be provided by the procurement officer via the internet.  Normally procurement officers will use either PCS or PCS-Tender.


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