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The Post Tender Clarification Process

This guidance is based on information provided by the Scottish Government and the Office of Government Commerce. What is Post Tender Clarification? Post Tender Clarification is a documented exchange with suppliers to clarify aspects of PQQs / tenders and correct apparent errors so that a full evaluation can take place. It helps ensure that all outstanding risks are addressed and that est overall value for money is achieved in terms of !uality and cost. When can Clarification take place? "id Clarifications may ecome necessary during the evaluation of Pre# Qualification Questionnaires $PQQs% and tenders where there are aspects of the ids that are unclear or contain errors. It may e that there has een a misunderstanding of the specification on the part of the tenderer& that there are outright errors in technical data& or that the style of presentation is such as to leave dou t as to the precise meaning of the tenderer. Procuring 'fficers should consider whether& where a certain aspect of the id seems irregular& it might e sensi le to re!uest a clarification. (or example& if a id appears especially low& or especially high on price& it may e that an arithmetical error has een made. Clarification may also e sought from tenderers on matters of !uality performance or particular terms and conditions of contracts. Clarification should only take place where appropriate e.g. If clarification is eing undertaken with one tenderer it does not necessarily need to take place with all tenderers& and the same points or clarification do not need to e raised with all tenderers if it is not appropriate to do so. What constitutes Clarification and is it allo ed? The )uide to the Community *ules on Pu lic Procurement of +ervices , -irective .//01/22C states that3 http3// licprocurement/docs/guidelines/servic es4en.pdf "in open and restricted procedures, all negotiation with candidates or tenderers on fundamental aspects of contracts, variations in which are likely to distort competition, and in particular on prices, shall be ruled out; however, discussions with candidates or tenderers may be held but only for the purpose of clarifying or supplementing the content of their tenders or the requirements of the contracting authorities and provided that this does not involve discrimination." !ake Tenderers a are that Clarification may take place

It is recommended that a clause relating to the possibility of clarification taking place is included in the tender documentation. Suggested wording is as follows: ife !ouncil reserves the right to require the "enderer to clarify its "ender in writing and#or provide additional information. $equests for clarification will be issued via %insert: the selected electronic application or email address&. "enderers are required to respond to requests for clarification within %insert: number and hours # day&. 'f in the opinion of ife !ouncil the "enderer fails to provide an adequate response to one or more points of clarification, the "enderer %insert: will # may& be e(cluded from progressing further in the process) The Post Tender Clarification Process 5here clarification takes place the Procuring 'fficer must e very careful a out how they conduct and document the process. 5hen conducting clarification& as throughout the procurement process& the Procuring 'fficer must ear in mind the rules and principles of the 26 *egulations i.e. transparency& e!ual treatment and non#discrimination. Proceedings must e conducted in a manner which is not only fair& ut which is seen to e fair y the relevant parties. It must not put other tenderers at a disadvantage& or adversely affect their trust or confidence in the competitive tendering process as this could increase the risk of a decision ecoming su 7ect to a legal challenge. Clarifications hich result in changes to the prices submitted by tenderers" even if they appear insignificant" must be treated ith the utmost caution. Procuring Officers should double check the effect of such clarifications against the rules and principles of #$ %egulations and advise their line manager ho ill seek further advice from &egal Services as necessary. It is vitally important that all post#tender communication is meticulously recorded& particularly where the process has an impact on the score awarded. Clarification may have een sought ecause the 2valuation Team felt further information was re!uired efore a score could e awarded / finalised. It is therefore accepta le to insert / amend a score as a result of the clarification process ut full 7ustification should e provided for the audit trail. 8 reasona le time limit should e set for the su mission of clarification information. The same time limit should e applied to all those from whom clarification is eing sought. Information a out any clarification process undertaken should e included in the Contract *eport. If no clarification was necessary& a statement to this effect should e included in the contract report. If the clarification process results in significant changes to the re!uirement or individual ids& to the extent that there is a su stantial change to the nature of 2

the usiness to e awarded& the Procuring 'fficer should consider whether it is appropriate to re#tender the re!uirement. The key point to e remem ered when undertaking clarification is not to act in a manner that is likely to distort competition. Clarification !eetings If it is your intention to undertake clarification meetings3 +ummarise the purpose in the tender documentation i.e. 9 't is the intention of ife !ouncil to undertake !larification *eetings where appropriate. "hese will serve as an opportunity for the "ender +valuation "eam to obtain a clearer and deeper understanding of the "enderer,s $esponse.) 2nsure details of if and how the clarification meetings will e evaluated are included within the information a out the evaluation methodology. Clarification meetings may or may not e used to ad7ust tenderers initial !ualitative scores. Tenderers should e made aware of the methodology to e used. 8 record of the clarification meetings should e made and saved on file. It is prefera le to have a person not on the evaluation panel take the notes so that the panel can focus their attention on the meeting rather than on writing the record.

:ohn Cosgrove Procurement ; +upplies <anager =>th :une /1=1