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1st Feb 2016

Crown Commercial Services (CCS) have issued guidance on the changes in The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 that affect the way in which contracting authorities (i.e. schools, academies and colleges etc) communicate with tenderers during a tender process for contracts above £164,176 in value. The full guidance document can be viewed from Further Education Library of Procurement (FELP), however as a reminder below is a summary of the regulations and the date upon which they apply:

26 February 2015
  • Procurement documents must be available electronically for potential bidders to download at the time the OJEU Notice is published or when an Invitation to Confirm Interest is sent.

    The guidance by CCS does take a “purposive” view of the definition of “procurement documents” and suggests that what is meant by “procurement documents” changes based on the different stages of the process that has been reached. Best practice guidance on the publication of procurement documents requirements can be found on FELP.

  • Oral communications must be documented. Essential parts of the tender process cannot be conducted orally.
18 October 2018
  • All communication and information exchanged in tender processes for contracts above £164,176 must be carried out electronically including the submission of tenders.

Implications
  1. When conducting your own tenders for contracts above the threshold (i.e. outside of a framework agreement), up until the 18th October 2018 you could utilise your institutions own website to allow potential bidders to download the relevant procurement documentation as an alternative to an e-tendering system. However beyond this date, you will need to invest in an e-tendering system that allows the electronic submission of tender documentation and that meets the security requirements set out in the Regulations. Further information on Further information on e-tendering systems.
  2. 2. If you conduct any site visits or presentations as part of your procurement process, ensure these are adequately documented such as written or audio records or summaries of the main elements of the communication.

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