When public bodies make high value or complex purchases (typically of or over £50,000 excluding VAT for goods and services) strict procedures and rules apply.
The following substations in this section contain further information on the procurement procedures and processes that procurement officers use and the key elements for you to consider when bidding for a tender.
Further details of how procurement officers approach procurement procedures is available from the Procurement Journey.
A tender will be advertised through Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) if the contract value is over £50k excluding VAT in value for goods and services contracts (although many procurement officers use PCS for lower value tenders).
The procurement officer can publish the tender information and documents either through Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) or PCS-Tender (PCS-T) (on-line procurement tools). More information on these tools is provided in the Public Contracts Scotland and the PCS-T stations.
Procurement officers will state in their Contract Notice whether bidders have to respond to the tender via PCS or PCS-T, or by other means, and how to access the invitation to tender documents. You should follow the instructions provided in the Contract Notice to find out more about the tender opportunity and to gain access to all of the tender documents.
If you are interested in the tender opportunity then you need to complete the required details and submit your tender bid using the secure electronic post-box in either PCS or PCS-T. There is a full electronic audit trail.
Your tender bid will be assessed against a number of set criteria. These criteria will be given to you in the tender documents so that you can see clearly what the procurement officer is looking for and how your bid will be scored. These criteria cannot be changed or waived throughout the procurement process by the procurement officer.
Procurement officers will always be looking for the most economically advantageous bid, which is a combination of price and quality/technical criteria.
The criteria used by the procurement officer will be Selection and Award Criteria.
Procurement officers must ensure that the Selection Criteria and Award criteria used are relevant and proportionate to the subject matter of the contract
Sometimes there are grounds when a bidder must be excluded from the procurement process i.e. a Mandatory Exclusion Ground, and sometimes there are grounds which the procurement officer can consider on a case by case basis whether the bidder can be included i.e. a Discretionary Exclusion Ground. In all cases the bidder can provide evidence to prove they have undertaken appropriate remedial action.
Mandatory Exclusion Grounds for above higher value regulated procurement thresholds include some criminal convictions and blacklisting.
The Single Procurement Document (SPD) is used to ask for Selection Criteria and Exclusion Ground questions from bidders.
Selection Criteria are used to confirm if you are capable and suitable to perform the contract.
Selection Criteria focus on the bidder and asks for past or existing bidder information. Some examples of the information that could be asked for are:
Award Criteria are focussed on “the bid” for the specific contract. Here you will be asked questions on how you will provide the particular contract, including price or costs, and you will be scored based on the responses given.
Some examples of the information that could be asked for are:
In the Contract Notice the procurement officer will specify whether the procurement process is a one stage process or a two stage process i.e. all selection and award criteria are evaluated in one stage or there is a selection stage first which determines how suitable the bidder is. For a two stage process only those bidders deemed suitable will then move on to be included in the tender stage (award) of the procurement exercise.
Whether the tender is a one stage or two stage process will affect the tender documents you see and when i.e.:
The procurement officer should clearly set out the timescales for tenders. The deadline for responses will depend on how complex the tender and the procurement procedure being used are: but it should allow you to make a considered response. In exceptional circumstances the procurement officer may choose to extend the deadline. If this happens, the procurement officer will communicate this to all suppliers invited to quote.
It is your responsibility to ensure that your bid is submitted on time.
Your bid will be assessed against a number of set criteria. These criteria will be given to you in the tender documents so that you can clearly see what the procurement officer is looking for. Procurement officers will always be looking for the most economically advantageous tender which is a combination of price and quality/technical criteria.
You should ensure that you read the invitation to tender documents in detail to ensure that you understand the information that is being asked of you. For example:
You should therefore make sure that your tender response demonstrates this as clearly as possible.
Yes! You may ask the procurement officer questions about their tender. This can be done by using the on-line post-box facility in either PCS or PCS-T (whichever on-line system the procurement officer is using for the tender).
Please note that normally, when responding to the question raised by a bidder, the procurement officer will send their response to all bidders: this is to ensure that all bidders have access to the same information and that the tender process is fair and transparent. As a result you should avoid including any commercially sensitive or specific information regarding your organisation in your question.
Yes. Once you have submitted your bid, if there is anything in your bid that the procurement officer is unsure about then they can ask you a question (also known as a Tender Clarification) in writing asking for confirmation. The procurement officer will include timescales by which you must respond to the clarification(s) sent: you must ensure that you respond in writing by the deadline provided.
You cannot change your original bid details, you can only clarify the question(s) being asked. If you have made an error in your pricing the pricing cannot be changed: you must either agree to stand by your original price quotation or withdraw your bid.