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The Procurement Process


The process is governed by the UK Public Contract Regulations of 2015 and there are different ways to approach a procurement process.

 

Open procurement
(PRC Regulation 27)

Where a notice is placed in the Official Journal inviting tenders from those that meet declared minimum capacity levels, all of those who submit their tender by the data specified in the notice must be considered.
 

Restricted procurement
(PRC Regulation 28)

When a contract notice is placed in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) inviting expressions of interest along with proof of capacity. Only suppliers that meet the minimum requirements and are shortlisted using the rules for further selection will be invited to the tender.
 

Competitive with negotiation
(PRC Regulation 29)

Where a notice is placed in the OJEU and from those who respond participants are chosen following the same process as the restricted procedure, above. Competitive with Negotiation allows greater flexibility when the needs of the contract cannot be me without adapting readily available solutions, where it involves design or innovative solutions, where the subject matter requires complex negotiations or where a specification cannot be defined with adequate precision.

This procedure is only available where a Trust is looking to award a particularly complex contract (as defined in the relevant Regulation) and where the Trust feels the open and restricted procedures will not allow the award of that contract.
 

Competitive dialogue
(PRC Regulation 30)

Where a notice is placed in the OJEU and from those who respond participants are chosen following the same process as the restricted procedure, above. A dialogue is then begun with the selected participants with the aim of establishing how the Trust’s needs can be best satisfied.

Throughout the process, the Trust must take care to ensure the principles of equal treatment and transparency are adhered to and that a genuine competition has taken place.

This procedure is only available where the Trust is looking to award a particularly complex contract (as defined in the relevant Regulation) and where the Trust feels the open and restricted procedures will not allow the award of that contract.
 

Innovation partnership
(PRC regulation 31)

Innovation partnerships are a new concept in EU procurement law. They are intended to be long term partnerships which allow for both the development and subsequent purchase of new and innovative products, services or works. 

The term "partnerships" is not used in a technical sense to mean legal partnerships as defined under UK law. The term is used to indicate the partnering type approach to working together.

The process is similar to the restricted procedure. Advice must be taken prior to selecting this process.
 

Negotiated procedure
(PRC Regulation 32)

Where a contract notice is placed in the OJEU inviting expressions of interest along with proof of capacity. Only suppliers that meet the minimum capacity requirements, and are shortlisted using the rules for further selection, will be invited to negotiate the contract (usually using a tendering round). This procedure is only available in very limited circumstances (principally relating to uncertainty of the requirement) which are like those permitting the use of the competitive dialogue procedure. In certain very limited instances, the negotiated procedure is available without publishing a call for competition. Trust’s who use these procedures must be able, if challenged, to justify their decision and show that the grounds set out in the regulations have been met. It is important that there is an audit trail including, where relevant, why the open and restricted procedures were not considered appropriate.
 

Accelerated procedure

The accelerated procedure is to be used exceptionally, and the Trust must indicate its reasons in the notice to the Official Journal. Generally, the reasons for urgency should be external, i.e. not resulting from delay by the purchaser. Also, it is important to regard the 10/15-day periods as minimum periods: the contracting authority should allow the maximum time practicable.
 

Frameworks and mini competitions

Where an existing, EU compliant contractual Framework exists which the Trust can access, the requirements set out in the Framework will be adhered to in undertaking any further competition. Options available under a Framework are typically, a) Direct Award, undertaken without further competition of the business or b) a mini-competition amongst the suppliers on the Framework / Lot of the Framework. Where mini competitions are undertaken, the Trust shall fulfil the requirements of the Framework and ensure all other, over-arching compliance requirement are met.
 

Dynamic purchasing systems

Where an EU compliant Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) is available for the Trust to use, the requirements as set out in the DPS will be adhered to. Where further competition is undertaken (i.e. a mini competition), the Trust shall fulfil the requirements of the DPS and ensure all other, over-arching compliance requirement are met.
 

Electronic auctions

Where a reverse auction style platform is established with bidders able to place bids of reducing amounts in order to secure the opportunity. These events require specialist input from the Procurement Department and third-party auction provider.
 

Formal quotes

Where the value of the purchase including VAT is between £25k and £50k, formal quotes must be sought in accordance with the requirements of the Government Contracts Finder.
 

Quick quotes

Where the value of the purchase including VAT is between £10k and £25k where the Trust must comply with the SFi’s and the requirement to demonstrate Value for Money.
 

Prior Information Notices
(PIN)

A Prior Information Notice (PIN) when used in accordance with the UK Public Contract Regulations 2015 can be used to reduce the timescales applicable to tenders above the EU threshold.  In such instances, the PIN must be published at least 35 calendar days prior to the publication of the Contract Notice but not greater than 365 calendar days.
 

Invitation for bids/proposals

 

Prior Information Notices
(PIN)

A Prior Information Notice (PIN) can be used to prepare the market for upcoming opportunities within the next 12 months. Publishing a PIN in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) allows for some reductions in the minimum timescales required during certain procurement processes. For a PIN to be valid, it must be issued at least 35 calendar days prior to the contract notice and be less than 12 months old.
 

Contract Notices
(call to competition)

The Contract Notice acts as a call for competition for a specific contract and should be published via the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) as soon as possible after the intention to tender has been formed.  It provides specific details of the contract as well as criteria for applicants to be selected for invitation to tender in the restricted and competitive procedures. Publication is mandatory other than for contracts covered under the Light Touch regime (Regulation 74 of PCR 2015).
 

Letter of Invitation

A covering letter must be included in all Invitation to Tender (ITT) opportunities. The Letter should provide a summary of the key points regarding the opportunity and the contact details for the lead procurement officer. Procurement has a standard template available upon request.
 

Instructions to Bidders

The ITT documents must include a clear and explicit set of instructions to all bids regarding how to bid, how bids will be assessed and details of any mandatory requirements / exclusive criteria. Procurement has a standard template available upon request.
 


Want to know more about the principals of NHS procurement, speak to Daniel our NHS Consultant, who will happily answer any questions.

 

Daniel Stonard

Business Development Manager – Digital Solutions

07872 008 058
daniel.stonard@restoredigital.co.uk

 

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