Before starting to evaluate submissions it is important to review each and to clarify any information that is unclear or ambiguous.
The process of evaluation depends on the award criteria used ie lowest price or the most economically advantageous tender.
Where the lowest price criterion is used, the submissions should be evaluated against the product specification and the award made to the one offering the lowest price. Where a lower bid is rejected it will be necessary for you to be able to demonstrate how that bid failed against the objective technical criteria stated in the documentation. Note: under lowest price, it is not possible to take other qualitative, environmental and social criteria into consideration. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that the lowest price criterion is not used. If the contract in question is over the EU threshold, then it is not permissible to evaluate on lowest price alone.
Most economically advantageous tender (MEAT)
Where the MEAT criterion is used, it will be necessary to evaluate the bids on a methodical way that is, and is seen to be, fair and transparent. This has resulted in a number of mathematical based systems that are used to allocate scores on how a submission meets each stated criteria. The criteria are normally weighted i.e. they are ranked in order of importance. These scores are then added together to give a final score for the submission. The contract is then awarded to the submission with the highest score.
The mathematics of doing this can be daunting to some people. The Whole Life Costing model which should be used in all major procurement exercise is designed to calculate the final scores of the price element for each submission as simply as possible.
In practice, the specification will contain a long list of criteria against which each submission will be assessed. In its simplest form, marks are allocated for each criterion, then added together and a total score obtained. It is more likely, however, that there will be a preference, or weighting, given to some of the criteria. For example, in a consultancy requirement it may be agreed that the quality criteria are more important than the actual price. In this example a weighting of 80:20 is used for technical:price i.e. the total technical scores are multiplied by 0.8 and the price scores by 0.2. See worked example.
A Guide to Tender Evaluation provides more detailed guidance and worked examples.
A risk assessment for this stage of the procurement cycle is provided.