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Last edited 21 Sep 2021
Competitive procedure with negotiation
According to the STAR Procurement Glossary of Terms, a competitive procedure with negotiation may take place, “following the receipt of initial tender responses, [after which] the tenderer could choose to negotiate with more than one [provider] before a final contract award is made. This might be beneficial where the requirement is complex or requires innovative solutions.”
- The needs of the contract cannot be met without adaptation of readily available solutions.
- The supplies or services required include design or innovative solutions.
- The technical specifications of the goods or services required cannot be established precisely by the procurement officer.
- The public body has already tried to procure the goods or services using the open or restricted procedure but only received irregular or unacceptable tenders.
Guidance issued by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) stated that this method should only be used under ‘...very exceptional circumstances’ (ref OGC: Guidance on the competitive dialogue procedure in the new procurement regulations, 2006).
The Single Procurement Document (Scotland) - also referred to as SPD (Scotland) - is a document that contains questions used at the selection stage for post-Brexit procurement exercises in Scotland to identify suitably qualified and experienced bidders. The Supplier Journey portion of the Scottish Government’s procurement guidance website offers an overview of the competitive procedure with negotiation:
- The contract notice clearly states that this method is being used and will request the completion of an SPD (Scotland).
- Any supplier may make a request to participate.
- The supplier must submit a completed SPD within the timelines set out by the procurement officer.
- Once SPDs have been submitted and assessed, the procurement officer will prepare a shortlist of suppliers who have met the selection criteria and invite them to the initial tender phase.
- The minimum number of suppliers who can be shortlisted is three (if three meet the selection criteria requirements).
- The preparation stage can be followed by several rounds of negotiation in order for the public body to seek approved offers.
- Negotiations may result in a new or revised tender being issued.
Interested parties participating in competitive procedure with negotiation arrangements are given, on average, at least 30 days to submit selection stage documents. This timeline starts from the day the contract notice is sent for publication.
For the award stage, possible participants are also typically given a minimum of 30 days to respond. This timescale can be amended depending on whether a Prior Information Notice was issued (and how it has been used) or in instances where bids will be accepted electronically.
Details of all of the tender timelines should be provided in the tender documents. If there is a justifiable reason to change the tender closing date, the new date should be communicated to all bidders. If a tender has already been submitted, the bidder should be given the opportunity to withdraw the original bid and submit a revised one.
To respond, suppliers should:
- Register on Public Contracts Scotland (PCS).
- Formally note interest in the contract.
- Access the procurement documents available via PCS.
- Respond to the selection stage of the process.
- If successful, participate in the negotiations held.
- Access the tender documents via PCS.
- Respond to the tender, either via PCS or PCS-Tender (the procurement officers instructions will explain which system to use) to verify that the deadline can be met.
 Related articles
- Competitive dialogue procedure for construction contracts.
- Contract conditions.
- Negotiated contract.
- Negotiated Procedure without Prior Publication NPwPP.
- OJEU procurement procedures.
- Procurement route.
- Selection criteria.
- Single Procurement Document (Scotland).
- Typical tender process for construction projects.
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