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Last edited 07 Jan 2022
Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT)
The Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT) is a method of assessment that can be used as the selection procedure, allowing the contracting party to award the contract based on aspects of the tender submission other than just price.
MEAT was introduced by the European Parliament in January 2014. The European Union Procurement Directives established public procurement rules that apply to any public purchases above defined thresholds, and these are enacted in the UK by The Public Contracts Regulations.
The ‘alternative’ criteria which can be used in a MEAT assessment include:
- Price or cost using a cost-effectiveness approach.
- Technical merit.
- Aesthetic and functional characteristics.
- Social characteristics.
- Environmental characteristics.
- Innovative characteristics.
- After-sales service and technical assistance.
- Delivery conditions such as date, process and period.
A two-stage process of tender evaluation can then be used. The first stage is a technical evaluation which uses individual weighted criteria to assess the technical merit of the tenders. The second stage is a financial evaluation which calculates the relative cost of each tender compared to the lowest price offered. Finally, the tenders are ranked based on the aggregate score of both stages.
On 15 December 2020, the Green Paper Transforming Public Procurement was presented to Parliament by the Cabinet Office and Lord Agnew, the Minister of State for Efficiency and Transformation. The paper proposed several changes to procurement policy in the UK to reflect the country’s post-Brexit status.
During the UK’s membership of the EU, MEAT public procurement rules applied to any public purchases above defined thresholds and were overseen in the UK by the Public Contracts Regulations (PCR). Post-Brexit recommendations in the Transforming Public Procurement green paper proposed the replacement of MEAT procurement rules with MAT, essentially removing the ‘economic’ component from the method of assessment.
The thought process behind this modification was the idea that ‘economic’ could sometimes be interpreted simply as lowest price. Under MEAT, evaluating certain economic factors (such as quality) was seen as complex and potentially restrictive.
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