Tendering for contracts
The council goes through a number of steps when choosing and appointing a supplier.
1. Tell suppliers about a contract opportunity
The council can tell suppliers about a contract opportunity in one of two ways:
- email a quotation notification to suitable suppliers asking for a quote
- put an advert on Sell2Wales or the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) detailing the requirements. The advert will contain specific instructions to the supplier on how to get the procurement documents and how to send a response.
Prospective suppliers will need to register with Sell2Wales and eTenderWales in order to access the relevent documents and receive notifications of contract opportunities.
2. Suppliers fill in tender documents
Depending on the value of the contract, the council will either issue a request for quotation (RFQ) or an invitation to tender (ITT). Both are detailed but are not intended to discourage potential suppliers from tendering for the council's business. Rather, it is designed to help the council to make formal checks of the business to assess its suitability, experience and expertise, and financial stability as a potential supplier to the council.
The council will ask for information about the following, although this may be different for specific contracts:
- supplier acceptability: mandatory grounds for exclusion on the basis of offences like bankruptcy, fraud, bribery or insolvency
- technical capability and capacity of the organisation (for example relevant experience, qualifications)
- economic and financial standing
- insurances: evidence of minimum levels of Employer Liability, Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance
- other aspects including Welsh language, safeguarding, sustainability, health and safety, equal opportunities and management.
This is normally referred to in Swansea as the Supplier Suitability. The council has adopted the European Single Procurement Document (ESPD). We use this together with questions from the Supplier Qualification Information Database (SQuID) to decide which suppliers are most suitable and qualified to be chosen to submit a tender or quotation. If suppliers meet the requirements they will move on to the evaluation and award stage of the process. Other councils, public bodies and businesses will ask for similar information as part of their tender process. It is advisable to prepare the necessary documents beforehand and have it available to make it easier and quicker to fill in an invitation to tender or request for quotation.
The RFQ and ITT will include details of the council's requirements for the particular contract including:
- a description of the services, supplies or works being procured (specification of the requirements)
- the procurement timetable including the tender return date and time
- details on how the tender is to be sent (for example via eTenderWales)
- instructions on whether any variants are allowed
- terms and conditions of contract
- form of tender
- evaluation criteria or award criteria (price/ quality)
- pricing mechanism
- method statement questions (asking about how the requirements will be delivered)
- whether TUPE is likely to apply
- any further information which may assist suppliers in preparing submissions.
3. Submission of response and evaluation
The instructions for submitting tenders and quotations will be included within the documents. Supplier's completed responses must be submitted in line with the instructions within the RFQ or ITT and by the closing date and time. Suppliers must make sure that all documentation is completed and submitted as well as any
other extra information the council has asked for as part of the procurement process. No tenders or quotations received after the closing date and time will be considered. A nominated officer of the council will open all tenders and quotations after the closing date and time.
All tenders and quotations shall be checked against the criteria set out in the procurement documents. Tenders and quotations can be evaluated on either:
- price/cost (lowest price score)
- quality (highest quality score)
- price/cost and quality
Price and quality is used for the majority of contracts and this is known as the most economically advantageous tender (MEAT) with weightings assigned to price and quality and the two elements are evaluated separately. Each element will be given a maximum percentage score, which is weighted according to the relative importance placed upon it. There is no fixed balance between the two; it varies between each procurement exercise and depends upon the type of good or service being sought.
The evaluation of the method statement questions is based on the supplier's response to how the requirement will be delivered as opposed to the ESPD which is evaluating the suppliers capability and capacity derived from past experience.
4. Contract award
The council shall tell all suppliers of a bid of the outcome of the procurement process, whether you have been successful or unsuccessful. If the procurement process is an OJEU tender the council is legally required to observe a 10 day standstill period.
Will unsuccessful suppliers receive feedback?
Unsuccessful suppliers are entitled to receive feedback on the outcome of the procurement process and contract award including how their submission was scored in comparison with the successful supplier. Please note the
council will not disclose any commercially sensitive information in relation to the successful supplier's tender.
Successful suppliers will be invited to enter into a contract on the terms and conditions set in the procurement documents. This will be either in the form of a standard form contract or the council's standard conditions of contract. Generally, the council will not consider any changes to the contract terms and conditions, either at tender submission stage or on award of contract. Any submissions that try to vary the terms and conditions will be treated as non-compliant and so not considered.