Changes to the procurement process

If you change the tender process you still need to make sure suppliers have a level playing field.
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What you need to know
  1. When you change the tender process, the general rule is you need to make sure suppliers have enough time to adapt.
  2. That said, you should not extend the tender period except in exceptional circumstances.
  3. You mustn’t accept late submissions unless you caused the delay or you are sure no one will be disadvantaged.
  4. Covered procurements have special requirements which you must adhere to.

Give suppliers enough time

If you change the details or parameters of a tender, the general rule is that you must give suppliers the same opportunity to respond. If you don’t, you could be giving some suppliers an unfair advantage – especially those with greater resources or ability to adapt.

Rule against extending the tender period

That said, you should only ever extend a tender period when there are exceptional circumstances that will impact suppliers' ability to meet the deadline.

This might include, for instance, where you need to issue late addenda or where another event intervenes that will make it difficult for suppliers to comply with the tender documents.

A request from one or more suppliers for an extension is not an exceptional circumstance.

Extend the tender when close to deadline

Generally, you should not issue an addendum within 5 working days of a tender closing date.  If this isn’t possible, you should consider extending the tender period by at least 5 working days.

Late submissions

You must not accept a late tender submission unless:

  • your action or omission caused the lateness, or
  • you’re sure no other bidder will be disadvantaged.

Your tender documents should clearly state if you will accept late tender submissions, and if so, in what circumstances they will be accepted.

Covered procurements

There are special rules for making changes to covered procurements, which are subject to PBD-2019-05 Enforceable procurement provisions.

Read more about covered procurements.

Rules on issuing addenda

If you issue an addendum you must give suppliers reasonable time to modify and re-submit their bid or submission. You should also make reasonable efforts to ensure all prospective respondents are aware of the addendum, such as emailing all suppliers that downloaded the tender documents.

Supplier correcting a mistake

If you let a supplier correct its unintentional error during the tender period, you must give all suppliers the same opportunity.

Requests for information

You must reply promptly to reasonable requests for information, provided the request is lawful and doesn’t give one supplier an advantage over another.

Negotiating with suppliers

You can negotiate directly with a supplier during a procurement if:

  • you’ve evaluated submissions and none provide value for money, or
  • you stated that you’d negotiate directly with suppliers in your approach to market.

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