United Kingdom, a glossary for government procurement

Below we outline some of the most commonly used terms for procurement in the United Kingdom. #

Procedures #

  • Open Tender: A procurement procedure where any interested supplier may submit a tender. This process is fully open to all potential suppliers and is designed to encourage wide competition.
  • Restricted Procedure: A two-stage process. In the first stage, suppliers express their interest by providing information demonstrating their capabilities. In the second stage, selected suppliers are invited to submit their tenders.
  • Competitive Dialogue: A procedure used for more complex contracts where the contracting authority discusses all aspects of the contract with suppliers before final tenders are submitted.
  • Negotiated Procedure: Used in special circumstances, this procedure involves direct negotiation with one or more suppliers without an open competition.
  • Framework Agreement: An agreement with suppliers that sets out terms and conditions under which specific purchases (call-offs) can be made throughout the term of the agreement. Frameworks do not guarantee any volume of orders.
  • Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS): An electronic procurement process for commonly used goods, works, or services. It is open throughout its duration for the admission of new suppliers meeting the specified criteria.

Key Documents #

  • Tender Notice: A public announcement inviting suppliers to bid for a contract. It provides details of the procurement, including scope, eligibility criteria, deadlines, and submission procedures.
  • Contract Notice: Similar to a Tender Notice, it informs the market about a new opportunity and provides essential information about the contract to be awarded.
  • Contract Award Notice: A public announcement informing stakeholders of the successful supplier(s) chosen following a procurement process, along with the key details of the awarded contract.
  • Invitation to Tender (ITT): A document issued to shortlisted suppliers inviting them to submit detailed proposals or bids for a specific contract.
  • Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ): A document used to shortlist suppliers based on their capacity, financial standing, and experience before inviting them to tender.
  • Request for Proposal (RFP): A document asking suppliers to propose solutions and prices for specific goods or services, typically used in negotiated procedures or competitive dialogues.

Key Roles #

  • Buyer: The contracting authority or entity responsible for procuring goods, services, or works. This term can refer to individuals or departments within public sector organizations.
  • Supplier: Any individual or organization that provides goods, services, or works in response to procurement opportunities.
  • Contracting Authority: Any public sector organization that has the legal authority to enter into contracts for goods, services, or works.
  • Procurement Officer: An individual responsible for managing the procurement process, from planning and sourcing to contract management.
  • Evaluation Panel: A group of individuals responsible for assessing and scoring tender submissions against the evaluation criteria set out in the ITT.

Evaluation Procedures #

  • MEAT (Most Economically Advantageous Tender): An evaluation method used to determine the best value for money by considering various criteria such as price, quality, technical merit, and sustainability.
  • MAT (Most Advantageous Tender): Similar to MEAT, this term emphasizes the overall benefit of a tender submission, considering both qualitative and quantitative factors.
  • Award Criteria: The specific factors and metrics against which tender submissions are assessed. These can include price, quality, delivery time, and after-sales service.
  • Evaluation Matrix: A tool used to systematically score and compare tender submissions against the award criteria.
  • Scoring Methodology: The approach and numerical system used to assign scores to tender submissions based on how well they meet the evaluation criteria.
  • Clarification Questions: Questions posed by the procurement team to suppliers during the evaluation process to clarify aspects of their tender submissions.
  • Standstill Period: A mandatory pause period between the notification of the contract award decision and the signing of the contract, allowing unsuccessful suppliers to challenge the decision if necessary.

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