Frameworks are the most widely used procurement mechanism used in the Public Sector for buying services and products. They provide a safe and legal route that compliles with the EU Procurement Directive.
There are five basic award routes for procurement under the EU Directive (2014)
- the open procedure, under which all those interested may respond to the advertisement in the OJEU by submitting a tender for the contract;
- the restricted procedure, under which a selection is made of those who respond to the advertisement and only they are invited to submit a tender for the contract.
- the competitive dialogue procedure, under which a selection is made of those who respond to the advertisement and the contracting authority enters into dialogue with potential bidders, to develop one or more suitable solutions for its requirements and on which chosen bidders will be invited to tender. The new Public Contracts Directive provides greater freedom to use this procedure than do the existing rules (see below);
- the competitive procedure with negotiation under which a selection is made of those who respond to the advertisement and only they are invited to submit an initial tender for the contract. The contracting authority may then open negotiations with the tenderers to seek improved offers. The new Public Contracts Directive provides greater freedom to use this procedure than the existing rules.
- the innovation partnership procedure, under which a selection is made of those who respond to the advertisement and the contracting authority uses a negotiated approach to invite suppliers to submit ideas to develop innovative works, supplies or services aimed at meeting a need for which there is no suitable existing ‘product’ on the market. The contracting authority is allowed to award partnerships to more than one supplier.
In certain narrowly defined circumstances the contracting authority may also award a contract using the ‘negotiated procedure without prior publication’. Here the contracting authority would approach one or more suppliers seeking to negotiate the terms of the contract. One of the permitted circumstances is where, for technical or artistic reasons or because of the protection of exclusive rights, the contract can only be carried out by a particular supplier.
Stages in the procurement process
This is how the requirements must be described, avoiding brand names and other references which would have the effect of favouring or eliminating particular providers, products or services and the requirement to accept equivalence.
The use of performance specifications is encouraged.
The new Public Contracts Directive also makes clear that there is some scope for building into the specification equality issues (e.g. access issues for the disabled) and social/environmental issues (e.g. a requirement to conform to social or environmental labels).
Regarding social/environmental issues, contracting authorities also may specify production processes and methods as long as they are linked to the subject.
At this stage, there are a number of grounds for the exclusion of suppliers based on evidence of unsuitability, some of which are mandatory.
- criminal conviction for certain offences (mandatory),
- failure to pay taxes (mandatory),
- previous poor performance which has led to early termination, damages or other comparable sanctions (discretionary).
Some of the grounds for mandatory exclusion are subject to account being taken of remedial action by the supplier, e.g. organisational changes.
There are statutory limits to the duration of any exclusion period.
Economic & Financial Standing
Those suppliers not excluded can then be assessed on the basis of their economic and financial standing, e.g. whether they meet proportionate levels of financial soundness.
The Public Contracts Directive requires that where this is judged on the basis of turnover this should not normally exceed twice the value of the contract.
Technical Capacity & Ability
The award of contract must be based on the tender most ‘economically advantageous’ to the authority (MEAT).
This can however include assessment on the basis of price/cost only as well as other methods including the best price/quality ratio’ (equivalent to value for money), which can include social and environmental requirements provided they relate to the contract.
Support to Public Sector
Innopsis offer support to the Crown Commercial Service, Public Sector Procurement and Suppliers to enable a single view. without bias, to ensure that Framework design and procurements can offer the best solutions from the widest number of suppliers at the best prices by reducing complexity, minimising commercial constraints and adhering to Industry standards. Thereby, ensuring that no potential supplier is disadvantaged.