Renfrewshire Council

Tendering process

Public sector procurement is often seen as complex. The information below answers some of the common questions and queries.

How do I find out about supplier opportunities?
All current tenders for goods, services and works are advertised on the Public Contracts Scotland website. 

Is the council looking for the cheapest tender?
The council does not evaluate a tender purely on price. The council is looking for the best balance of quality and price, not just the lowest price.

Tenderers and their tenders will be evaluated on a whole variety of factors, including:

  • financial viability
  • quality
  • competence
  • experience
  • technical merit and backup
  • after sales service
  • delivery date
  • adherence to council policies and protocols
  • corporate social responsibility (social, economic and environmental factors)
  • integrity
  • innovation
  • communication

What happens if I can't get my tender in on time?
Tenders must be returned the by the date advertised. Any received after the deadline will not be considered. All tender
documents (paper or electronic) are opened at the same time to ensure a fair process.

How are tenders evaluated?
Renfrewshire Council has an obligation to offer the best value for money services to its taxpayers and requires an exceptional standard of performance from its contractors and suppliers. Therefore, when selecting a supplier, the council must ensure that the supplier will provide value for money, and that services will be delivered effectively.

In the list of evaluation criteria, cost and quality are usually the most important criteria. The council however, is looking for the best balance of quality and price, not just the lowest price.

Details of the specific evaluation criteria and the relative weighting of the criteria are included in the tender documents that suppliers receive with the invitation to tender (ITT).

At any time during the tender process suppliers may be invited to give a presentation/product demonstration or attend a meeting/interview to aid the evaluation process. The council may also conduct site visits to see first-hand how potential suppliers organise their work.

Why is the tender process so formal?
This is to make sure honesty and integrity are maintained throughout the process and that they are handled in a consistently fair and competitive manner.

We are always happy to answer questions specifically about a tender and specification if you have any. We will ensure consistency in the information provided to contractors and in the way in which we communicate with them.

Can procurement time scales be shortened where notices and contract documentation are transmitted electronically? 
Where notices are compiled and transmitted electronically, time scales for the open procedure receipt of bids and the restricted, competitive dialogue and negotiated (with a contract notice) procedures request to participate may be shortened by 7 days.

A reduction of 5 days to the time limit for receipt of bids in the open and restricted procedures can also be made where unrestricted electronic access to all contract documentation is provided and access details have been provided in the contract notice.

In all cases, the main requirement is to make sure time scales are reasonable bearing in mind the complexity of the contract.

How much information do I need to provide on contract award criteria? 
The contract notice will state whether the award is to be based on the lowest price or most economically advantageous bid. In the latter case, the contract notice or the contract documents or, in the case of the competitive dialogue the descriptive document accompanying the contract notice, will state the relative weightings given to each of the award criteria.

The weightings can be expressed as a single figure or as an appropriate range. Where the purchaser believes it is not possible to give weightings for demonstrable reasons, award criteria will be stated in descending order of importance.

Is it now possible to specify a particular brand of product? 
The rules on specification of brands have not changed. Brands can only be specified, exceptionally, when it is not feasible to specify the requirement in technical or performance terms. Reference to the brand will be accompanied by the words 'or equivalent'.

I understand there is greater scope for negotiation under the new Public Sector Directive. Is this true? 
The principles governing use of the negotiated procedure have not changed and the scope for clarification of bids under the open and restricted procedures remains. However, the competitive dialogue procedure enables dialogue with selected bidders for the purpose of refining the specification and contractual terms and conditions.

It is intended to be used for complex contracts such as PFI where it is not feasible to optimise the specification or define contract terms and conditions without feedback from potential bidders. The dialogue can embrace all aspects of the specification, including technical issues, and financial and legal structure.

Are there any circumstances in which bidders must be excluded? 
Bidders convicted by final judgement of money laundering, fraud, corruption or participation in a criminal organisation must be excluded. OGC are working with the Home Office to clarify how purchasers will obtain information on relevant criminal convictions.