Public procurement - our 'top-tips' for awarding bodies

We have put together our 'top-tips' for those that work for public sector organisations which are subject to the public procurement regime.

The Procurement Team has drawn on its wealth of experience in advising on public procurement matters to identify some 'top-tips' for awarding bodies when they start looking at the procurement process.

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FAQs for awarding bodies

Where one of the bidders is the incumbent

Have you taken sufficient steps to level the playing field for all other bidders?

Have you received lots of requests for clarification of a certain section of the ITT or another tender document?

If so, whilst publishing points of clarification is helpful, this may be an indication that the entire section in question is unclear and that different bidders may reach different interpretations of it.  Consider whether you are better off re-drafting and re-issuing it before bids are submitted as this may save time and money down the line.

What should you do if you realise you need to change the terms of the contract after it has been awarded?

If these changes are ‘material’, it’s likely that you will need to run a fresh tender process.  It can be tricky to identify which ‘non-material’ changes can be made without triggering this obligation: amongst other things, understanding the extent to which such a change is permitted by the tender documents will be important.

What happens if you realise during the course of the procurement process that you’ve made a mistake?

It’s important to have clarity on the steps that you are able to take to regularise the position and in respect of the message that should be given to the bidders – we recommend seeking advice on this promptly to minimise the risk of challenge down the line.

Are you aware of the new requirements for awarding bodies to evaluate social values and address climate change issues (e.g. reducing carbon footprints in procurements)?

These issues are high on the Government’s agenda and will be key areas of focus for bidders and awarding bodies alike – for more information, see our Insight on PPN 06/21.

The Green Paper Reforms

Keep an eye on this! Our recent Insight summarises where things stand now, but we understand that the Cabinet Office’s publication of feedback on the recent consultation and revised proposals is imminent. Being prepared to implement major change and having sufficient training in place for all staff involved will be key to a smooth transition to the new procedure. That said, a Bill is unlikely before the second half of 2022, and we don’t expect any new legislation to be passed before 2023.

You can get in touch with our experts on the details below If you'd like to discuss any of the above points further with us, or you need some advice on a procurement that you're involved in.