The publication of a Prior Information Notice (PIN) is only compulsory were the contracting authority wishes to take advantage of the permitted reduction in timescales that are available with its publication or use it as a means for calling competition.
The reduction in timescales is applicable to the open, competitive procedure with negotiation and restricted procedures.
In the Open procedure if a PIN has been published the minimum time limit for receipt of tenders can be shortened to 15 days.
In the restricted and competitive procedure with negotiation, if a PIN, which is not itself used as a means of calling for competition, has been published the minimum time limit for receipt of tenders can be shortened to 10 days.
To avail of the shortened timescales, the PIN notice must have been published no less than 35 days or more than 12 months prior to the publication of the contract notice.
Note: it is not necessary to avail of the shortened timescales. If a PIN has been placed within the specified period, then the option to shorten is available. You should ask yourself, however, if shortening the response time is likely to hinder the ability of potential suppliers to prepare their best possible submissions.
Timescales for PIN as a call for competition
Sub central contracting authorities such as FE colleges, using the restricted or competitive procedure with negotiation may use a PIN as a call for competition. Additional information must be included in the PIN if used for this purpose.
The minimum time limit for receipt of requests to participate is 30 days from the date on which the invitation to confirm interest is sent to those candidates who responded to the PIN.