last updated: 2nd August 2011

The following outlines the steps in managing the receipt of competitive sealed bids. All the steps should apply to tenders and those marked with a * should be applied as a minimum control on the receipt of quotations. 

Where submissions are made electronically, the process is the same, however, access to the electronic version and sight of the physical documentation will not be possible until after the designated closing time and date.  The documents are however, to all senses, locked in a secure location and should not be able to be viewed.

While is it suggested that best procurement practice requires that all these steps are followed, there is a need to balance bureaucracy with the estimated value of the exercise. Therefore, depending on its value/profile and your own institution's practices, the Optional steps may not need to be followed.  For example, within the thresholds set in this Good Practice Guide, it is recommended that all steps (mandatory and optional) are followed for all competition with an estimated value above £10,000.

  • The submissions must be returned in sealed, unmarked, envelopes before a clearly stated time and date.  The envelope will display the quotation/tender reference number and required return date and time.
  • The time and date of receipt of each submission should be recorded on the outside of the return envelope.
  • All returned bids will be held, unopened, in a secure location until the stated closing time and date have passed.
  • * Any submissions received after the stated closing date and time will not be opened and not be considered.
  • * After the stated closing time and date, the bids will be opened by at least two [2] members of staff or as required by your institution.
  • A summary schedule will be prepared on which the name of each supplier and its prices will be recorded.  The members of staff will sign and date each submission and all pages therein containing pricing information. 
  • The names of suppliers that have not replied, or replied after the stated closing time and date, will also be noted. 
  • Each member of staff will then sign and date the summary schedule.

The steps given above may appear somewhat bureaucratic; however, they are there to protect you from accusations of treating one supplier more favourably than another.  The use of sealed submissions, held in a secure location and opened at the same time in front of a number of people provides evidence that there has been no collusion between the buyer and a supplier.

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