Last edited 14 Mar 2018

Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT)

The Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT) is a method of assessment that can be used as the selection procedure for publicly-procured contracts, 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 establish 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 are listed in the legislation as including:

  • Quality.
  • Price or cost using a cost-effectiveness approach.
  • Technical merit.
  • Aesthetic and functional characteristics.
  • Accessibility.
  • Social characteristics.
  • Environmental characteristics.
  • Innovative characteristics.
  • After-sales service and technical assistance.
  • Delivery conditions such as date, process and period.

Each criterion used must be given a relative weighting, which must be set out in the tender documents. Alternatively, they can be listed in descending order of importance.

The rules stipulate that the contract notice must make clear to tenderers that the MEAT criterion will be used to judge their submission. The criteria cannot then be changed.

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.

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