This glossary aims to provide brief user friendly definitions of words, acronyms and phrases used in relation to public procurement. Many are defined in more detail in the procurement Regulations.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Where the relevant timescales for the particular type of procurement process can be shortened, eg, in certain circumstances where a procurement is "urgent".
Communication sent (typically by email, fax or through an electronic procurement system) which commences the Alcatel period.
A period of at least ten days after the notification of an award before the contract is concluded with the successful supplier(s). It is designed to enable unsuccessful bidders to challenge the award decision before the contract is concluded. It is named after a pair of linked European Court cases which are jointly known as the Alcatel case. The formal name used in the procurement Regulations is the standstill period.
The public body buying goods or services.
The list of key criteria that is used to assess a supplier’s tender.
Publication of details of who has been successful in a procurement in the OJEU.
An individual contract awarded under a framework agreement for the provision of particular services, goods or works.
The previous brand name used for framework agreements operated by the Government Procurement Service for the benefit of the UK public sector. More information is available from the Government Procurement Service.
Defined in the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 as "a contracting authority which:
- Acquires goods or services intended for one or more contracting authorities
- Awards public contracts intended for one or more contracting authorities
- Or concludes framework agreements for works, goods or services intended for one or more contracting authorities"
A UK example is the Government Procurement Service, who operate various framework agreements.
Civil financial penalty
A fine payable by a contracting authority where a contract which they have entered into is declared to be ineffective.
A name sometimes used to refer to the 2004 procurement Directive.
A numerical system of identifying goods and services in the tendering process. CPV codes are used on OJEU notices to categorise Authority's requirements. Searchable lists of CPV codes are available online from BIP Solutions.
The process, under the procurement Regulations, that allows the procuring party to discuss different options with bidders before selecting a solution. It can only be used in certain particularly complex contracts where technical solutions are difficult to define or where discussion of the best legal or financial structure is needed. The competitive dialogue procedure can only be used when the open and restricted procedures are not suitable for the procurement.
In a procurement context, this generally refers to the European Commission.
In the procurement context, this refers to two or more entities which have come together specifically for the purpose of bidding for appointment as a supplier, and can include those parties establishing a special purpose vehicle to be the prime contracting party with the authority. The term is defined in Regulation 28 of the procurement Regulations.
A public body that is subject to the procurement Regulations. A list of the relevant organisations is included in Schedule 1 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 and is amended from time to time. There are also some "catch all" statements covering public bodies not specifically included in the list.
A dynamic purchasing system is a completely electronic system established by a contracting authority to purchase commonly used goods, works or services. Typically this will be for lower value goods and will involve the contracting authority linking its purchasing IT system with the supplier's systems.
The financial threshold above which certain procedural aspects of the procurement Regulations become mandatory. There are two thresholds, one that applies to most central government bodies and one for other authorities. The current threshold is published on the Cabinet Office website.
A measure by which the contracting authority can ascertain whether the prospective bidder is capable of handling the commercial and financial risks of the proposed contract.
Defined in the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 as a "contractor, a supplier or a services provider". Essentially the entity with which the procuring party will enter into a contract.
The business-to-business purchase and sale of supplies and services conducted electronically (via the internet or email).
All bidders being treated in an equivalent manner. This is a principle under the procurement Regulations as set out in Regulation 4.
Published every working day in all official languages of the European Union. It consists of two related series (L for legislation and C for information and notices) and a supplement (S for public procurement). This supplement is where OJEU notices and award notices are published. Typically suppliers access the information via an online portal, such as Tenders Electronic Daily (TED).
The Freedom of Information Act 2000.
An agreement which establishes the basis on which subsequent requirements for goods, services or works can be met by suppliers appointed to the framework.
An executive agency of the Cabinet Office that provides advice on procurement best practice and establishes framework agreements as a central purchasing body, formerly known as Buying Solutions and OGC Buying Solutions. See the Government Procurement Service website.
The Government Procurement Agreement. All UK contracting authorities will generally be GPA bodies for the purposes of a mandatory OJEU notice.
Guidance published by the government on best practice issues, for example in relation to public procurement. Formerly published by the OGC and now published by the Cabinet Office.
A remedy which can be obtained by suppliers in procurements commenced on or after 20 December 2009, where a contracting authority has failed to place a mandatory OJEU notice; has breached requirements relating to standstill thereby denying a supplier the opportunity to challenge an award decision; or has failed to follow call-off requirements under a framework for a call-off over the EC procurement threshold.
An order of the court requiring a party to either do, or refrain from doing, certain acts (eg, entering into a contract).
A document inviting bidders in the negotiated procedure to participate in a negotiation process and setting out the terms applying to that process.
A document inviting bidders in the competitive dialogue procedure to participate in a dialogue process and setting out the terms applicable to that process.
Invitation to submit detailed solutions (ISDS)
A document issued during the dialogue process under the competitive dialogue procedure which requires the bidders to submit full details of their proposed solution. The response may be evaluated, and this may result in a down-selection of bidders. The ISDS will typically be in a dialogue phase following an ISOS.
Invitation to submit outline solutions (ISOS)
A document issued during the dialogue process under the competitive dialogue procedure which requires the bidders to submit initial details of their proposed solution. The response may be evaluated, and this may result in a down-selection of bidders.
A document which invites contractors and suppliers to bid for the provision of goods, services or works. An ITT is used in the restricted procedure.
A document which invites the remaining bidders in the competitive dialogue procedure to submit their final bids at the end of the dialogue process. Broadly equivalent to an ITT in the restricted procedure.
Invitation to submit final tender (ITSFT)
See Invitation to submit final bids.
One of a number of categories of goods or services which a single procurement process has been divided into. The use of lots potentially allows for multiple providers to be appointed following one procurement process. An example might be a computer hardware procurement with one lot for "laptops" and a second lot for "desktops".
A mini competition is held with all those suppliers within a framework agreement who are capable of meeting a particular need when the details of the framework agreement are not sufficient to enable an immediate call-off. Where a procuring party wishes to procure under a framework agreement but the framework has insufficient information to allow the procuring party to confirm which supplier would offer the most economically advantageous tender, then a mini-competition is the method used to select a supplier.
One of two systems which are allowed for tender selection (the other being lowest price). MEAT enables tender evaluation on the basis of the quality of the tender offer as well as the price. The quality is scored against a set of award criteria identified for each tender.
This process under the procurement Regulations allows public authorities to negotiate with more than one supplier in order to select a preferred bidder and to award a contract. It is only available in extremely limited circumstances.
The use of the negotiated procedure without publication of an OJEU notice. This is only permitted in extremely limited circumstances.
See European Union's Official Journal.
OGC stands for the Office of Government Commerce, the former organisation responsible for centralising and enhancing government procurement know how and expertise, now replaced principally by dedicated teams within the Cabinet Office.
The European Union's Official Journal.
A standard form notice placed in the European Union's Official Journal confirming that a contracting authority is intending to procure goods, services or works.
This process under the procurement Regulations allows all eligible applicants to tender using a single stage procurement process.
The services listed in Schedule 3 Part A of the procurement Regulations.
The services listed in Schedule 3 Part B of the procurement Regulations. Only limited parts of the procurement Regulations apply to Part B services. The relevant services are typically those which cannot easily be provided from outside the UK, such as legal services.
The EU Directive that established the main body of the procurement laws – Directive 2004/18/EC.
Generally used to refer to the Public Contracts Regulations 2006.
A PQQ enables a contracting authority to evaluate the suitability of potential suppliers in relation to their technical knowledge and experience, capability and financial and economic standing. PQQs are used in the restricted procedure, negotiated procedure and competitive dialogue procedure as a means of selecting the bidder to go forward to the next stage of the procurement process.
Publication by an authority in the OJEU of details of what they intend to procure in future. Use of a prior information notice can reduce some of the timescales in a procurement.
A contract under which a supplier enters into an agreement with a public body to have the exclusive right to operate, maintain and carry out investment in a public utility (such as a water supply system) for a given term.
The Public Contracts Regulations 2006 are the UK legislation implementing the Public Sector Directive 2004/18/EC setting out procedures for the award of contracts for goods, services and works.
The European Union Directive on the co-ordination of procedures for the award of public works contracts, public supply contracts and public service contracts.
A contract for the supply of services to a public body.
A contract for the supply of goods to a public body or for the hire of goods by a public body.
A contract to carry out works, generally construction projects, for a public body. Works are defined in detail in Schedule 2 of the procurement Regulations.
The new Public Procurement Remedies Directive (Directive 07/66/EEC) setting out the remedies which a supplier is entitled to for breach of the procurement Regulations.
A request sent to a number of suppliers for their proposals to meet a particular requirement for goods or services. Sometimes used to refer to an ITT.
This process under the procurement Regulations can be used for any procurement and includes two stages. Any interested party may express an interest in tendering for the contract but only those meeting the contracting authority's selection criteria will then be invited to submit a tender. No negotiation with the bidders is permitted.
The basis on which bids are to be scored against the selection criteria or award criteria.
Criteria used at the PQQ stage to select the bidders that are to proceed to the next stage. Selection criteria should only relate to technical and professional capability and financial and economic standing and certain grounds for disqualification.
Typically used to refer to a call-off contract under a framework agreement.
Communication sent (typically by email, fax or through an electronic procurement system) which commences the Alcatel period.
See Alcatel period.
One of the permitted criteria for selecting suppliers at the PQQ stage. It is described in Regulation 25 of the procurement Regulations.
The EC procurement threshold.
Being clear with potential suppliers as to what is planned and the steps that will be and have been taken in relation to a procurement process, and performing that procurement process as described in the communications with potential suppliers.
A bid which is different from that specifically requested by the contracting authority in the tender documents. Examples of variant bids are those proposing different pricing structures, or new and innovative ways of delivering a service.
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