General Procurement

Don’t Judge a Tender by its Title

Is it your job to find that golden opportunity hidden amongst hundreds of vaguely related tender notices?  How many tenders do you dismiss on title alone?  Well, you might just be missing some valuable business opportunities.

Some examples:

A tender with the title ‘catering equipment’ published by Curraheen Hospital Ltd was also inviting suppliers of x-ray equipment, office equipment, and horticulture and gardening equipment (339803-2009).

Whiteinch and Scotstoun Housing Association Limited put out a notice with the title ‘installation of fitted kitchens’, however this tender also covers “a variety of supply and installation works” including window replacement, door entry systems and electric heating replacement (87761-2010).

A recent PIN (Prior-Information Notice) published by Scotland Excel with the title ‘hygiene services’ is also for suppliers of prepared frozen meals, butchermeat and water coolers (101874-2010).

Hertfordshire County Council recently published a tender with the title ‘health and social work services’, yet when you read the body of the notice it is actually for “home improvement solutions…” (103926-2010).

Even if these titles are not an adequate description of the full requirement, at least they describe something; there are some titles that are so vague that they are essentially meaningless.  The most ambiguous include ‘various services’, ‘miscellaneous services’ and ‘other services’.

The titles of OJEU tenders are taken from the first CPV code allocated to the notice by the awarding authority.  As we can see from the above examples, the first CPV code is not necessarily the only or the most relevant description of the requirement.  Often the authority provides a more helpful title within the body of the notice (section II.1), but don’t count on it!  The authority’s title for the first example above was ‘Curraheen Hospital – equipment’.  The titles of low value tenders are not dictated by CPV codes and yet they can still be obscure.  For example Southampton Solent University advertised a tender with the title ‘SSU TFT Tender’ (GB0030M64481).

The point is, to really know if a tender notice is relevant or not, you need to read it.  We have a team of reviewers who read the body of all the tender notices in order to categorise them, so believe us we know what an arduous job reading tenders can be, but as you can see it is a necessary task in order to ensure you don’t miss any relevant opportunities.

2 replies »

  1. Is there a time limit from when an OJEU is published to when a contract must be awarded / signed. or is it a case of ” as long as it takes “

    • There is a time limit from when an OJEU is published to the deadline date for responses (which ranges from 52 days down to 10 days, but is normally about 30 days). There is also a time limit for publishing contract award notices after the contract has been awarded, which is 48 days. But the time taken for evaluating bids is not subject to any time restrictions, so it is as long as it takes I’m afraid.

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