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last updated: 17th February 2015

In general it is the estimated value of the requirement that determines the level of competition that is appropriate. Of course, there may be instances where the estimated value of the requirement falls within the institution's or the EU thresholds and where, for political or transparency reasons, the decision is taken to follow a formal competitive exercise.

It is important to estimate the value of a requirement in order to ensure that an appropriate level of competition is undertaken. Within the EU Rules there are a number of methods for determining the estimated value of a requirement.  It is recommended that these be followed to ensure that the user can be confident in his/her choice of competition method.

Requirements, with an estimated value above the published EU thresholds are subject to the tender procedures laid down within the relevant EU Public Procurement legislation.  While requirement that fall below the published EU thresholds also need to be procured in an open and transparent manner following the spirit of the legislation.

Quotations normally use standard template-style documentation and the institution’s standard terms and condition of contract (these should be available for download from your institution’s Procurement Office web site). 

Tenders are much more detailed and are created for each specific requirement.  Of course, a number of the documents are standard and may need some revision, to suit the particular requirement, before sending out to the applicants. However, care must be taken to ensure that the detail contained within the documentation is appropriate and correct in respect of the required goods or services.

Within this Good Practice Guide indicative thresholds are used for expenditures falling beneath the published EU thresholds.  Here, quotations are deemed to be appropriate where the estimated value of the requirement is over £5,000 (net of VAT) and tenders to be appropriate over £25,000.  Users should refer to their own Institution's Procurement Office web site or its Financial Regulations to determine whether different thresholds apply.

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