last updated: 3rd August 2011
Action Risk Solutions
Previous quotation/tender documentation is used without checking its content

- Documentation contains information that is not appropriate to the requirement

- Competitive bids are received for the wrong goods or services

- Ensure template documentation is reviewed for appropriateness and, if necessary, amended
Use of own, departmental, documentation rather than institution’s documentation - Differences in style and content may cause problems especially in respect of Terms and Conditions of contract

- Where available, use template documentation provided or recommended by your central Procurement Office

Specification unclear

- Submissions are received for the wrong goods or services

- No compliant bids are received

- Where possible, draft an output based specification that defines what you want done and not how to do it.

- Have the draft specification reviewed by a colleague(s) who understands the requirement

- Look at the sample tender documents in the Sample Documentation 'Book' see if there are any comparable requirements

Specification too restrictive - No compliant bids are received

- A complaint(s) is received from potential bidders that the specification is unfair

- The competitive process may be stopped

- Where possible, draft an output based specification that defines what you want done and not how to do it.

- Where a complaint is received about your specification, if there are grounds for concern, amend the specification, advise all participants to the process and, if necessary, extend the published closing date

- If the competition is already closed (ie the closing date and time has passed) it may be necessary to stop and start a new competition

Electronic documentation and firewall restrictions (at both document issue and receipt stages) - Potential bidders do not received or are unable to download the tender documentation


- Tender documentation is not allowed ‘through’ the firewall because of the software used to write the attachments or they are too large

- Ensure clear download and return instructions are published on the web site along with contact name and telephone number should a problem arise

- Require the tenderer to advise that the files have been received successfully

- Ensure the tenderers know of any inbox size restrictions and provide information on what to do should their submissions be larger that the stated size.

Special conditions conflict with the institution’s standard Terms and Conditions of Contract - Leads to confusion as to which terms and conditions take precedence should a problem arise

- Use your institution’s standard Terms and Conditions of contract as advised by your Head of Procurement

- Where Special Conditions are used in addition to the Standard ones, check with the Head of Procurement to ensure there is no conflict

Freedom of Information Act considerations - Information held on file – earlier versions of specifications, may be discoverable documents should a FoI request be received. All text and comments made within these and related documents may need to be explained or justified. Likewise with related documentation.

- Ensure all documentation, emails, comments etc are factual and not personal comments that could be viewed as favouring any particular bidder

- On completion of a tender competition, if it is standard policy within the institution, review and ‘tidy’ the contents of the tender file.

Service Level Agreements (SLA)
- not in place
- not sufficiently detailed

- The detail of the service provision is not clearly defined

- The service provider and end users have different expectations

- Where there is dissatisfaction with the service provided or there is no clear standard against which to assess the actual or perceived problem(s)

- Ensure a clear, detailed SLA is prepared, agreed and signed by the parties

- Ensure that its contents are communicated to the end users so that they understand the level and nature of the services they will receive and can expect

- If available for your requirement refer to sample SLAs with F.E.L.P

Variant bids are not asked for in the advertisement - An opportunity for innovative bids is missed - Consider the requirement and ask yourself if there might be alternative ways of providing a solution and how these would be assessed
Variant bids are permitted - Difficulties may be experienced when assessing variant bids against the published award criteria - Define the award criteria in terms of outputs than can be used to assess the different solutions
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