Once the suitability and capacity of the potential tenderers has been confirmed, the actual tender submissions are evaluated against the award criteria published in the contract notice and/or the contract documentation. The contract decision will be awarded on the basis of the most economically advantageous tender (MEAT) criteria.
Note: It is important that you do not mix up selection and award criteria, to do so could lead to legal challenge of your tender process and/or award decision. Think of selection as 'looking backwards' for evidence that demonstrates the economic operator's capability to perform the requirement; think of award as 'looking forward' i.e. how it will actually fulfil the requirement.
It is not permissible to evaluate references as part of the award criteria, this should be done at the selection stage.
Generally it is not permissible to evaluate a tenderers experience at the award stage. The only exception is where the quality of the staff assigned to the contract can have a significant impact on the level of performance of the contract. In these circumstances it is permissible to have award criteria that comprise the organisation, qualification and experience of the staff assigned to performing the contract (provided this hasn’t already been evaluated at the selection stage).
Further information on award criteria can be found at:
- Dickinson Dees Guide to Award Criteria
- A Guide to Tender Evaluation
- Cabinet Office Guide to Awarding Contracts
The highest scoring tenderer applying the pre-determined MEAT criteria shall be awarded the contract.
Where a tender submission is abnormally low, the contracting authority shall require tenderers to explain the price or costs proposed and may only reject the tender where the evidence supplied does not satisfactorily account for the low level of price or costs proposed.