Information Pack for Tenders

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					                                Tender Information Pack for Staff

This information pack is designed to give guidance to staff on the procedures and regulations that
apply to the tendering process. This pack contains:

Front Page – Advice on procedures and timescales
Tender Information required form – Please complete and email to your contact in Purchasing
Checklist of roles and responsibilities
Specifying the requirement
Specification Template for Research Equipment

                                       Tender Thresholds
University Threshold
Any purchase over £30K (excl VAT) must be tendered by the University. Timescales are varied
dependent on the complexity of the project being tendered. The usual turnaround is from 3-4
weeks. Some funding bodies, eg Research Councils require tendering above £25K.

EU Thresholds:
From 1st January 2008 to 31st December 2009:
Goods and Services: £139,893, Works: £3,497,313 (total excluding VAT)
From 1st January 2010 to 31st December 2011:
Goods and Services: £156,442, Works: £3,927,260 (total excluding VAT)
Please refer to our guidance on valuation.

Open – An advert is placed in the OJEU (Official Journal of European Union) by Purchasing for
the project. Any supplier can apply. The time limit for the receipt of tenders, from the date when
the notice is sent for publication in the OJEU – Not less than 52 calendar days. Staff need to
consider the above time requirements in addition to the time it will take to evaluate and award
tenders. Minimum time frame typically for completion of project: 2 – 3 Months.

Restricted – An advert is placed in the OJEU by Purchasing for the project. Prospective suppliers
have 37 days to respond to the OJEU advert with expressions of interest. Pre-Qualification
questionnaires/Vendor appraisal is to be sent out when we receive an expression of interest. Once
the 37 days have passed, evaluations and selection to be carried out, resulting in a shortlist of
suppliers to invite to tender, (this will usually take a week to complete). Once suppliers have been
short listed, tender documents are then sent out and suppliers have 40 days to respond with a
detailed bid. Staff need to consider the above time requirements in addition to the time it will take
to evaluate and award tenders. Minimum time frame typically for completion of project: 3 - 6

For the EU procedures there is also a standstill period of 10 calendar days, between informing
the tenderers about the award decision and concluding the contract. – This ensures that the
unsuccessful suppliers can mount a challenge before the contract is awarded/or the order is sent.
The contract/order will not be sent until after this standstill period.

       Tender Information Required (Please complete all questions where applicable)

1. Name and Contact Details of Lead Person/Dept

   Tel:                                   Email:
2. Description of Equipment

3. Funding Body (e.g. Srif, etc)

Is RACD involved in the administration of this fund? Yes/No
4. Estimated Costs (Please complete all fields where applicable)
    1. Equipment                                 1. £
    2. Installation & Commissioning              2. £
    3. Training (if applicable)                  3. £
    4. Service Support (if applicable)           4. £
    5. Other (Please state)                      5. £

                               Total (incl. VAT) £
5. Division into lots? (i.e. is the order likely to be split between more than one supplier)

6. When does the expenditure have to be committed by (if Srif or grant award)

7. Will the purchase be Vat Zero-rated or exempt?

8. Have you received any indicative quotes for the equipment?

   Yes/No (if yes, please ensure that copies are provided to us)
9. The Purchasing Section require a specification/operational requirement to outline your
   equipment requirement – the specification must be generic enough to allow sufficient
   competition, i.e. avoid using manufacturer’s makes/model names or numbers.

   Specification Provided – Yes/No
10. What is your timetable, in terms of equipment delivery expectancy?

11. What is the lead-time of the equipment from order placement?

12. Will there be any acceptance tests i.e. demos/sampling/site visits? If so these need to
    be written into the tender document.

13. Have you devised any selection criteria for the evaluation of the tenders? This should
    be devised before the tenders are sent out (e.g. Quality and Peformance, Software,
    After sales service, price, technical back up, running costs-including whole life costing

   Selection criteria provided for inclusion in tender doc – Yes/No
14. Do you have a list of possible suppliers?

    Yes/No – (If yes, please provide contact details)
15. Does the equipment have any specific installation requirements i.e.
    electricity/cabling/extraction/air conditioning/water supply that are not already in situ?

    Yes/No/Not Applicable
16. Have Estates been informed of the installation requirements (if applicable) and have
    installation costs been identified and accounted for?

     Yes/No/Not Applicable
Checklist of Roles and Responsibilities

To be read in conjunction with grant application forms

Principal Investigator (PI) (or as clearly delegated)

   To arrange for preparation of a clear and accurate specification in line with the bid.
   To agree with the Purchasing Office a statement of the criteria to be advertised in the OJEU
    Notice and subsequently used to assess tender responses.
   To provide timing required for the purchase of the equipment.
   To provide the Purchasing Office with full details of any suppliers from whom the PI wishes to
    receive bids.
   To provide an assessment of the tender responses consistent with the criteria advertised in the
    OJEU Notice.
   To manage the budget within institution policy framework and in accordance with rules of the
   To ensure there is no specification drift beyond that included in the bid to the funding body.
    However if the Institute wishes to request permission to increase the specification a written case
    would need to be submitted to the Purchasing Office and/or the funding body.
   Ensure that any contact with the supplier post bid is confined to seeking written clarification and
    market information. Avoid discussion of prices and divulging of budgets.
   To initiate the ordering process post award.

Procurement Office

   To create and circulate a project plan and ensure that the timings are adhered to. If any slippage
    does occur to inform all parties and issue an amended plan.
   To ensure that the specification is clear and unbiased and that the PI has signed off the final
   To create the tender document and include the signed off specification.
   To ensure that all parts of the tender process conform to EU Regulations if appropriate, and the
    Institution's Purchasing Policy and terms and conditions.
   To place a Contract Notice and Contract Award Notice at the appropriate times in The Official
    Journal of the European Union (OJEU).
   To keep a file of all internal and external correspondence regarding the purchase.
   To coordinate responses to supplier queries (technical and commercial) to ensure all suppliers
    have the same information.
   To arrange appropriate meetings and make notes to be kept on file of each meeting.
   To obtain Funding Council approval to award contract.
Specifying the Requirement
Not all the points in this guidance will be relevant to every project. This is very wide ranging and
intended to cover many requirements.

What is a specification?

The purpose of the specification is to provide prospective suppliers with a clear, accurate and full
description of the University‟s requirements, so that they can propose a solution to meet those
requirements. The specification may also contain background information, for example information
on the Department‟s work and how the requirement fits into the framework. This may assist
potential suppliers in understanding the requirement.

Who should provide the specification, or be involved in its development?

Specifications are normally supplied by the users of contracts, rather than by staff within the
Purchasing Section, as users have more expertise in their specific area. However, a member of staff
within the purchasing section will be available to offer support and advice as required; and we may
be able to obtain draft specifications from other sources that can be used as a starting point.

What steps should be taken before preparing the specification?

      Identify the needs of the user(s) of the goods or services, as this will form the basis of the
       specification. If the requirements are very complex, it may be worth engaging an external
       consultant with suitable technical expertise to help define them – but ensure that actual or
       potential conflicts of interest are declared and avoided.

      Check whether a similar requirement has been specified on a previous occasion – it may be
       possible to modify an existing specification.

      Determine whether there is a requirement for the solution to be interchangeable, or
       compatible, with existing systems. Beware of specifying this unless it is absolutely
       necessary, as it may deter competition and result in a sole supplier naming their price!

      Find out whether other University departments (or Universities) have similar requirements,
       as collaboration/bulk buying will save duplication of effort and can lead to preferential
       pricing. The Purchasing Section can progress this if sufficient notice of the requirement is

      Carry out market research by approaching potential suppliers, speaking to other users. This
       will help determine what types of solutions are available, the potential costs and lead times
       etc. It is quite acceptable to discuss the draft specification with potential suppliers before the
       requirement is finalised, provided that all suppliers are provided with the same information,
       including those invited to bid at a later stage. Discuss the results of market research with
       users, to assess the capability of available solutions to meet their requirements.

      Consider how proposals will be evaluated (evaluation criteria) and what information will be
       required of potential suppliers in order to assist in the evaluation of offers. This is essential
       when carrying out an EU tender. If possible, rank the evaluation criteria in order of
       importance. This is particularly important in EU tenders, as from January 2006 the
       evaluation criteria will have to be provided to tenderers and not changed at a later date.

How should the purchaser go about drawing up a specification?

The user or purchaser should seek to draft a specification that is expressed in “generic” terms rather
than in terms of what a particular supplier can offer. A good specification will not “over-specify”
the requirements or contain features that discriminate against, or in favour of, particular suppliers,
products, processes or sources. The specification may be short, comprising just a few paragraphs, or
quite lengthy, depending on the complexity of the requirements. Make sure that all potential
suppliers have an equal opportunity to offer a product or service that can satisfy the University‟s

Following the guidelines below will help the purchaser to draft a good specification:

      Consider whether any background information should be provided, as this may assist
       potential tenderers in understanding the requirement within the context of the department‟s
       overall requirements.

      Define the requirement completely and clearly within a logical structure. Avoid any
       ambiguities, as they are likely to lead to queries. If the specification is poor, hard to read or
       understand, the offers made by suppliers may not meet the requirement.

      Focus on outputs, or user requirements, and not how they are to be met. Requirements may
       be mandatory (essential) or desirable (bring additional benefits but not essential), so make
       sure these are differentiated. Ensure that potential suppliers know the quantity and quality
       and the timescale of the requirement(s). Refer to any functional requirements, preferably
       focusing on what is to be achieved (outputs) rather than how they are to be achieved.

      In some cases it may be necessary to provide details of the technical characteristics required,
       particularly in relation to mandatory requirements – but this should be done cautiously so as
       not to constrain or deter potential suppliers. Where it is necessary to describe technical
       characteristics, be careful not to “over-specify” as this could increase the cost of meeting the
       requirements. There may be a requirement for improvements in technology, systems,
       techniques etc., to be included in the contract, e.g. for future upgrades to be carried out at a
       discounted price.

      Provide details of any performance requirements, such as quality, service delivery,
       throughput, accuracy and availability. This may include minimum and maximum
       performance criteria. It is important to set performance measures at the right level, as if they
       are set to high, the cost of meeting it may exceed the budget or outweigh the benefits of
       meeting them. Alternatively, if they are set too low, there is a danger that the user‟s
       minimum requirements will not be met. It is also important to set out how performance will
       be measured and the frequency of performance reviews. Avoid describing the methods to be
       used to achieve the required performance, as potential suppliers should be given the
    opportunity to propose methods and detail the associated costs.

   If any requirements might constrain the solutions offered by potential suppliers, such as
    when the contract/work must start/end, the need to interface with other
    departments/organisations or systems (e.g. IT), make sure that this is made clear within the

   Provide details of any security/confidentiality required, or other requirements such as
    documentation, installation, commissioning, acceptance testing, etc. If there is a need to
    interface with electricity and other services, make potential suppliers aware of their
    availability. In some cases it will be necessary to include site plans within the tender and/or
    offer site visits prior to the date of tender return. If site visits are necessary, make sure that
    the tender timetable includes sufficient time.

   If possible, encourage potential suppliers to bring forward solutions that are energy efficient
    and environmentally friendly. Provide details of any environmental requirements, such as
    the recovery and recycling of packaging/goods once their purpose has been fulfilled.
    Determine what information can be sought to evaluate how environmentally friendly their
    products/solutions are.

   Specify the training required, where applicable. This should include the level or training,
    number of training sessions and of staff to attend and where training is to be provided.
    Beware, as many suppliers provide off-site training and require the University to meet
    associated travel and accommodation costs. Try to get suppliers to meet the total cost of
    training, including off-site expenses. Ask tenderers to provide details of the proposed
    training providers‟ experience, accreditation, etc.

   Define any standards that must be met, such as Health & Safety (including compliance with
    the University‟s procedures when carrying out work on-site), electrical standards, etc. For
    example, there may be a requirement for PAT testing of equipment provided and used by the
    supplier in relation to the Contract. Refer to European standards, where relevant, or state
    that “equivalents” may be accepted (particularly when tendering in compliance with the EU

   Provide sufficient information for potential suppliers to accurately price the goods or
    services. The Invitation to Tender/Quote should also make clear what information is needed
    from potential suppliers to facilitate a full evaluation of the offers.

   Where applicable, include details of how the contract will be managed, including the timing
    and content of management information and reviews.

   If relevant to the contract, provide details on the sale/transfer of assets or equipment and/or
    transfer of personnel and the transfer process (for the beginning and end of the contract).
    This may include reference to the transfer of third party contracts (e.g. licensing agreements)
    and full details of employees to be transferred. If such transfers are likely to apply, please
    contact the Purchasing Section for more detailed advice on how to include such details in
    the specification.

   Ensure that potential suppliers know if you are willing to consider alternatives to purchase,
    such as leasing, or whether you are prepared to consider purchasing used/refurbished
    equipment (particularly if the budget is constrained). If you wish to trade-in existing
         equipment as part of the deal, provide details within the specification.

        Invite potential suppliers to provide details of service contracts etc., particularly if
         purchasing equipment that has to be re-calibrated or receive preventative maintenance
         periodically. For a contract with a significant service element, or when appointing
         consultants, potential suppliers may be required to submit a summary of their experience,
         including CVs of staff likely to be involved in providing the service(s).

        Make sure that the supplier knows what information is required within the response– set this
         out in detail for the avoidance of doubt, particularly for more complex requirements.

You may find the checklists provided by the OGC useful when drafting and reviewing a

Evaluating bids against the specification

The consideration given to how offers can be evaluated before and during the specification process
should pay off at this stage. It should be possible to apply the evaluation criteria to all the offers and
determine which offer best meets the requirement and offers the best value for money. The
evaluation process may include demonstrations/presentations etc. See our guidance on evaluating
tenders and conduction demonstrations etc.

Any offers that fail to meet mandatory requirements may not be considered, unless they have
demonstrated an alternative method of providing the required outcome.

Additional sources of guidance:

If the requirement is for software development, consult our guidance on selecting or developing
software: This
guidance may also be useful if a software licence is associated with the requirement, as it covers
minimising the costs of software and “right to use” licences.

The following resources have been used to compile this advice:

Guide to Preparing Specifications – Powerpoint presentation by Jim Tillman, CPPO, CPM

OGC Successful Delivery Toolkit “Specification Writing”


ITEM   DESCRIPTION                                                                                                          QTY

A1     Insert a generic specification here – a simple description such as “NMR Spectrometer” is sufficient                  1

       Instrument Specifications – general points

       A generic specification statement can be inserted here or a more detailed specification ideally in bullet point
       format. Ensure there is sufficient detail. If there are any specific requirements criteria that can or need to be
       prioritised in a sequence of importance then this should be identified. Similarly if elements are essential and
       other elements are highly desirable/desirable or for information only these should be identified using a standard
       key of “E”; “HD”; “D”; “I”.

       [Essential features are those that are ‘must have’ if the equipment is to be capable of meeting your needs. It
       follows that if the tenderer cannot match or better these minimum requirements, his equipment will not be
       considered in the evaluation process. These must be generic features and should not be based on the features of a
       specific manufacturer‟s equipment.]

       [Desirable features are those that are on your wish list as „nice to have‟. If the tenderer cannot match or better
       these requirements, his equipment will still be considered in the evaluation process. A tenderer whose equipment
       meets all the desirable features would normally receive a better score than one who just managed to meet the
       essential requirements.]

       However, this type of detail is not absolutely necessary in every case.

       Please note that proprietary specifications and standards must not be used unless they are qualified, and
       performance/output specifications should be used wherever possible

       Instrument specifications – details

       1.     Again use output specifications (that is what you want the equipment to do) wherever possible. Please
              avoid using supplier specifications




       Performance requirements

       (a)    Again use output specifications (that is what you want the equipment to do) wherever possible. Please
              avoid using supplier specifications




       Delivery to the <Recipient University>, Installation and commissioning, if not included in the above cost

                                                                                         EQUIPMENT: TOTAL COST

ITEM   DESCRIPTION                                                                                                           QTY

        If any specific ancillary equipment and consumables costs are required the details of such requirements should be    1
       inserted here.
       E.g. State here any computing requirements; training requirements and other items that may be considered additional
       to the main package.

B.2    Consumable items should be identified as this will form part of the overall evaluating from a Whole Life Costing
       perspective.                                                                                                          1

B.3    Installation requirements

B.4                                                                                                                          1
       Commissioning and training

B.5    Disposal and environmental requirements


                                                      ANCILLARY EQUIPMENT AND CONSUMABLES: TOTAL COST

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Description: Information Pack for Tenders