The most common question that we get from Tenders Direct customers is: ‘What rights do we have once we put in a bid?’
The answer to that is dependent on what stage of the process the supplier is at and the rights for both stages are listed below:
For the PQQ:
Questions should only be asked of your company and not your potential solution (It should be about selection of suppliers and not an evaluation of your product).
Buyers have a legal requirement to notify candidates eliminated at the PQQ stage “as soon as reasonably practicable”.
You don’t have to be provided with de-brief information (the information in a standstill notice at ITT stage) but buyers are encouraged to do this as a matter of best practice.
However, if you make a written request de-brief information must be provided within 15 days.
For the Bid:
Each supplier should a standstill letter which will include:
- The name of the winning bidder
- The award criteria (weightings)
- Your scores
- The characteristics and advantages of the successful bid
- A detailed scoring breakdown
- The date the standstill period is expected to end (Will be a minimum of 10 days)
- If a written request is made for additional de-brief information it must be provided within 15 days.
Suppliers also have the right to get suitable and time bound response to the Q&A logs at either stage of the procurement. There is no particular rule that dictates the response time for buyers but they are bound by Regulation 53 which states that any additional information or supporting documents must be provided to all suppliers no later than 6 days before the deadline. If they don’t follow this they have to extend the deadline and inform all suppliers. Once again the main point is if you have entered a question or asked for additional information and don’t get a timely response to follow up again with the buyer especially if it is more than a week since you asked the question.
Suppliers also have the right to transparency, fairness and equality. This is covered by Regulation 18 which states that ‘Contracting Authorities shall treat economic operators equally and without discrimination and shall act in a transparent and proportionate manner’. We have covered more specific elements of this in previous blogs regarding the new rule on the publication of contract opportunities at a national level (Publication of OJEU notices at National Level) and the blog on how do you challenge a buyer when you feel the procurement is flawed? (How do you challenge a buyer). We will also cover one of the main changes on transparency, the unrestricted and full direct access to documents from date of publication of notice, in a future blog as well.
The main point for suppliers is that if the information is not provided automatically or promptly we recommend that you approach the buyer directly and ask for it. A lot of the suppliers we deal with at Tenders Direct don’t even know that they are entitled to get feedback and think that the buyer doesn’t have to let them know how their bid was but as I have outlined above this is not the case.
If all other avenues to get feedback don’t work it might be worth getting in touch with the Mystery Shopper Service and explain the situation to them. They have a remit to look at all stages of a procurement process including the de-brief/feedback stage. (See previous blog on The Mystery Shopper Service )
What are your experiences of receiving feedback? We would be interested to hear about it good or bad and offer any advice or support you may need to get the information you need to tender more successfully!