Procurement Documentation Reviews

Developing procurement documentation for major tenders is complex and time consuming, and is often conducted by several people over a number of weeks or even months. It often undergoes a complex internal review process before being released to bidders, with it being examined by business stakeholders, financial experts, legal specialists and executive sponsors. However, in that process for obvious reasons it is not reviewed by the target audience, the bidders who will respond to it. This unique service addresses that shortfall.

The initial reaction of some public sector bodies to this service is why should we bother? What is the benefit to the public sector customer in reviewing the procurement documentation through a bidder's eyes? There are several key benefits to this service.

Firstly, in the same way that the public sector seeks value for money, suppliers often have limited bid resource and budget to devote to new opportunities. From our extensive experience on the bidder side of procurements, we know that one consideration on whether to bid for particular contract is an evaluation of how well thought out the procurement is. If it appears that there are a number of discrepancies or uncertainties, it may be that the scarce resource will be deployed elsewhere. If the first thing a bidder sees is a number of areas where clarifications are required, they will be less keen to proceed.

Secondly, if bidders progress with their submissions, they will probably ask a number of clarification questions which need to be answered on a time critical basis as the tender documentation is live. This puts pressure on the procurement team, and also means that genuine clarifications may receive less attention than desired as a result of answering simpler queries which could have been eliminated before the documentation was issued. Worse than this, if there are ambiguities, bidders may choose not to seek clarification and instead guess what we meant, making it difficult to compare solutions.

Thirdly, the procurement team will often have been working on the documentation for some time, and hence assume that certain things will be known to bidders when this may not be the case for all of them. As a result, they may inadvertently give an advantage to certain bidders, especially incumbent suppliers.

Fourthly, a holistic fresh review of the entire document set may identify discrepancies, especially where different sections were written by different authors.

Finally it is possible that some members of the procurement team may be unaware of latest best practice guidelines and procurement case law and inadvertently include questions which are not permitted under procurement regulations, such as asking for track record information as part of the final selection process or not disclosing sufficient information on evaluation criteria.

We bring together bidding experience, procurement law expertise and, where required, technical specialists to undertake a comprehensive review of your procurement documents and provide you with a list of recommendations for changes before the documents are issued to bidders.