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Tendering for contracts

The following provides the overarching steps that are followed by the council to select and appoint a supplier.

1. Notify Suppliers about contract opportunity

The Council can notify suppliers of a contract opportunity in one of two ways. The Council will either:

  1. Issue a Request for Quotation notification by email by selecting appropriate suppliers to quote in accordance with table 1 in Part 5 above, or
  2. Place an advert on Sell2Wales/Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) detailing the requirement which any supplier can view. The advert will contain specific instructions to the supplier on how to obtain the procurement documents and how to submit a response.

Perspective suppliers will need to register with Sell2Wales and eTenderWales in order to access the relevent documentation and receive notifications of contract opportunities.

2. Suppliers complete tender documentation

Dependant on the value of the contract, the council will either issue a Request for Quotation (RFQ) or an Invitation to Tender (ITT). An RFQ and ITT are quite detailed but it is 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.

Broadly, the Council will ask for information about the following (however, this may be different for specific contracts):

  • Supplier acceptability: mandatory grounds for exclusion on the basis of offences such as bankruptcy, fraud, bribery, insolvency.
  • Technical capability and capacity of the organisation (e.g. relevant experience, qualifications etc.). 
  • 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). The council will use the ESPD together with questions from the Supplier Qualification Information Database (SQuID) to determine which suppliers are most suitable and qualified to be selected to submit a tender or quotation. If suppliers meet the requirements above they will progress to the evaluation and award stage of the process. Most councils and other public bodies and indeed other businesses will request similar information as part of their tender process so it is advisable to prepare the necessary documentation in advance and have it available to make it easier and quicker to complete when responding to 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 submitted (i.e. via eTenderWales)
  • instructions on whether any variants are permissible
  • 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 documentation. Supplier's completed responses must be submitted in accordance with the instructions within the RFQ or ITT and by the closing date and time specified. Suppliers must ensure that all documentation is completed and submitted as well as any
other additional information the Council has requested as part of the procurement process. No tenders or quotations received after the specified 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 evaluated in accordance with the criteria set out in the procurement documents. Tenders and quotations can be evaluated on either:

  • Price/cost (lowest price score); or
  • Quality (highest quality score); or
  • 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 notify all suppliers submitting a bid of the outcome of the procurement process, both if 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 specified 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 amendments to the contract terms and conditions, either at tender submission stage or on award of contract. Any submissions that attempt to vary the terms and conditions will be treated as non-compliant and so not considered.

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