Resource – Glossary of Bid Terms

Glossary of Bid Terms

Whether you’re new to the pre-bidding game or you’re just looking for a refresh; we’ve compiled a helpful glossary of the most used terms within our sector.

Acceptance letter – Letter that creates an immediate binding contractual relationship between the Council and the successful tenderer prior to entering into a formal contract.

Approved list – A list that has been approved by the Council of potential contractors, suppliers or service providers, who have met pre-set criteria. See also ‘Preferred Supplier List’.

Audit trail – System or paper generated evidence showing how and by whom certain processes and functions were carried out.

Authorised officer – An officer of the Council who has been nominated by the Council to manage a contract or contracts with a contractor, supplier or service provider.

Best and final offer (BAFO) – The detailed and fully priced offer submitted by the Respondent for the contract, following the issue of the Council’s Invitation to submit best and final offer (BAFO) documentation. Where the Council accepts the offer, it becomes legally binding on both parties.

Best practice – The most effective and desirable method of carrying out a function or process derived from experience rather than theory.

Best value – Arrangements to secure continuous improvement in the exercise of an Authority’s functions, having regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness as required by the Local Government Act 1999; the relationship between worth and cost.

Call off contract – A contract made following a formal tendering process with one or more contractors, suppliers or service providers for a defined range of works, goods or services covering terms and conditions (including price) which users ‘call off’ to meet their requirements. See also ‘framework agreement’.

Collaboration – An arrangement under which council departments/schools operate together internally or with other councils/schools externally to procure goods/services. Combined buying-power can improve services and prices and share the administrative overhead.

Collusion – A fraudulent arrangement between two or more parties whereby prices or service requirements are manipulated to get around competitive tendering.

Commissioning – The process of acquiring services to meet the needs of the local population. Commissioning is done through the Local Authority, the Primary Care Trust, other public agencies, or by the private or voluntary sectors

Competitive dialogue – A variation of the negotiated process, now available under the new EU directives, which permits discussion of different options before choosing a particular solution. It can be used in complex contracts where technical solutions are difficult to define or where the development of the best solution is wanted.

Competitive tendering – Awarding contracts by the process of seeking competing bids from more than one firm.

Consortium – An unincorporated group of firms or individuals, often formed to tender for a contract with a view to forming a company or working in some other way in the event of winning.

Consultant – An organisation or individual employed by the Council for specific tasks, usually where specialist knowledge or objective review is required.

Contract – A binding agreement made between two or more parties, which is intended to be enforceable at law.

Contract award notice – Notice of an award of a contract published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), in fulfilment of the requirements of EU public procurement directives.

Contract documents – Documents incorporated in the enforceable agreement between the Council and the contractor, including contract conditions, specification, pricing document, form of tender and the successful tenderer’s responses (including method statements), and all other relevant documents expressed to be contract documents (such as relevant correspondence, etc.).

Contract notice – Notice published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) by contracting authorities, seeking expressions of interest or inviting companies to tender.

Contract value – The total monetary value of a contract over its full duration (not annual value).

Contractor – An organisation or individual who has made a contract to undertake works, supply goods or provide services.

Corporate contract – Contract for a range of goods and services where a cross Departmental need exists. The corporate contract will have a defined set of conditions and the use is mandated within the Contract Standing Orders.

Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV) – The numerical system of identifying goods and services in the tendering process. Also used as part of the e-procurement process to identify services offered by the tendering organisation.

Daily rates – The method of payment for contracts for which tenderers quote rates per chargeable day.

Day works – The method of payment for contracts for which tenderers quote rates per attendance hour.

Debriefing – Giving positive, constructive feedback to competing suppliers on their performance at certain stages of the procurement process. It gives you the opportunity to improve your performance in the future. It can also help the buyer, as it highlights problems that may have arisen during the procurement process. This gives them the opportunity to improve their procedures.

Deliverables – A collective name for the tangible goods and/or services that the supplier or contractor is required to supply under an agreement.

Dynamic Purchasing Systems – An electronic process for making commonly used purchases of which meet the requirements of the contracting authority and which is limited in duration, open throughout its validity to any economic operator that satisfies the selection criteria and has submitted an indicative tender that complies with the specification.

E-procurement – The use of electronic methods in every stage of the purchasing process from identification of requirement through to payment, and potentially to contact management.

EU rules – The Public Services or Supplies or Works Contracts Regulations relevant to the implementation of the EU (European Union) directive on the award of public services contracts.

Evaluation – Detailed assessment and comparison of contractor, supplier or service provider offer, against financial and quality criteria.

Framework agreement – An arrangement under which a contracting authority establishes with a provider of goods, works or services, the terms under which contracts subsequently can be entered into, or ‘called-off’ (within the limits of the agreement) when particular needs arise. See also ‘call-off contract’.

Instructions to tenderers – Instructions in the tender document designed to ensure that all Tenderers are given all the relevant information relevant to the tender to assist with their submission.

Invitation to negotiate – An invitation to a shortlist of typically 3 to 4 bidders to submit a response to a bid document prepared by the public sector Authority. This document comprises detailed descriptions of the project facilities and services required, expressed in the form of outputs to be delivered or achieved, as opposed to inputs. Bidders determine how such outputs are to be delivered efficiently and effectively. Also known as an ‘ITN’.

Invitation to tender – An invitation to contractors, suppliers or service providers to bid for the provision of works, goods or services. Also known as an ‘ITT’.

Invoice – A request to pay submitted by a supplier of works, goods and/or services.

Joint venture – Any contract or other arrangements between Richmond and another body under which both bind themselves to contribute separate services, work or funding for a shared overall purpose.

Member – Elected member of the Council.

Method statements – Proposals are tendered as sought by clients, for dealing with aspects of the work for which clients have set no specifications, or where more detailed operational information is required.

Most economically advantageous tender (MEAT) – The tender that will bring the greatest benefit to the Council has taken a number of factors into consideration, including quality and cost.

Needs assessment – A process by which health and social care professionals assess and then make conclusions on risks and needs. The assessment sets out what is necessary for an individual to maintain their life at a certain standard.

Negotiated procedure – One of the procedures for procurement under the EU Directives, available only in limited circumstances, under which client authorities negotiate with at least three eligible applicants who meet their criteria.

Offer – A supplier’s offer to provide goods and/or services for a consideration in response to a buyer’s inquiry.

Open procedure – One of the procedures for procurement under the EU Directives, under which all eligible applicants are invited to tender in a one-stage procurement process.

Parent company guarantee – A parent company guarantee binds the guarantor (the ‘parent company’) to fulfil and complete a subsidiary company’s obligations and liabilities in the event of failure by that subsidiary to fulfil and complete its obligations and liabilities under a contract.

“Part B” Services – Those services included in an Appendix, or “Part B” to the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 which include health, education, and social care. The full procurement regime does not apply, only certain procedural requirements. However, all Treaty principles still apply. In the interest of best value and best practice, we will normally ensure that those services which fall under Pt. B of the EU procurement directives are advertised in OJEU. Please contact Corporate Procurement for further advice.

Partnering contracts – Contracts in which prices and specifications are not decided until after contracts are let, usually to enable contractors to contribute to design solutions and other aspects of the work (as proposed by the Government’s Construction Task Force, the Egan Committee).

PIN – Pre- Information Notice. A short notice indicating that a call for tenders is planned during the coming three months. The publication of a PIN means that the deadline for submitting the tender from the publication of the call may be shortened.

Performance bonds – Bonds or guarantees given to clients by specialist insurers, on behalf of contractors and at their expense, binding the insurers to compensate clients (up to the amount of the bond obtained) in the event of a default.

Preferred supplier list (PSL) – A list of organisations preferred by the Council to undertake certain works, supplies or services, following a competitive tendering exercise. See also ‘approved list’.

Pre-qualification questionnaire or ‘PQQ’ – A questionnaire completed by companies or providers that wish to be considered for a procurement activity or placed on an approved list. The purpose is to assess their general suitability in terms of financial and economic standing, technical capability and experience, quality assurance, health and safety procedures, environmental issues and equalities considerations. See ‘business questionnaire’.

Pricing schedules – List of the requirements that might be required to be performed/supplied under the contract which the tenderer inserts a rate against each item.

Private Finance Initiative (PFI) – A route for procurement where, instead of owning the assets needed for their services, public authorities arrange for private sector bodies (often in the form of consortia) to provide and own them. These bodies then make the assets available under operating leases to enable public authorities to deliver the services required.

Quality Assurance (QA) – A discipline to assess quality standards, covering all activities and functions concerned with the attainment of quality.

Qualified tender – A tender which is qualified because it does not fully meet the intended contractual requirements. Such tenders are not normally acceptable.

Quotation – A written or verbal price given by a contractor, supplier or service provider, after being requested either orally or in writing. A quotation may be the written confirmation of an earlier, oral offer.

Restricted procedure – One of the procedures for procurement under the EU Directives, under which only eligible applicants who meet the client authority’s criteria are invited to tender in a two-stage procurement process.

Risk – The probability of an unwanted event occurring and its subsequent impact.

Risk register – A document used to record the risks facing a project or programme, usually produced as a table. It should, at a minimum, record a description of each risk, an assessment of its likelihood and impact and the management actions to be taken to minimise the risk, though it can be more sophisticated.

Risk transfer – The risks, such as construction delay risks, which are required to be transferred to contractors in order for PFI schemes to be approved.

Schedule of rates – Lists of jobs, like those in bills of quantities except that they contain no quantities. Rates may be inserted by tenderers, or by clients. In the latter case, tenderers specify their overall percentages on or off these rates.

Select list – A list of suitable prospective contractors, suppliers or service providers that has been drawn up through a shortlisting exercise for a particular contract or procurement activity.

Service manager – An officer of the Council who has a responsibility to manage a particular service.

Service Level Agreement (SLA) – That part of a contract which specifies the services to be delivered. It has been practice for purchasers to enter into contracts based on Service Level Agreements which are in themselves contracts but do not set out full contractual terms, simply detailing the services to be delivered and minimal information such as contact details, addresses, etc. regarding the contractor. Sometimes used between Departments within public authorities.

Shared services – Providing services as a  combined or collaborative function that may share processes and technology. This may include bringing together support functions, often from geographically disparate areas, into a separate organisation.

Social Enterprise – Organisations that deliver goods and services and make a profit (51% of its income must come from trading) but measure their success on the social impact and benefits they provide. Examples of social enterprises are Co-operatives, Mutual Building Societies

Specification – A description of requirements and standards to which the goods, works or services should conform. Also known as a statement of needs, a statement of requirement, an operational requirement, or a brief. Its purpose is to present prospective suppliers with a clear, accurate and full description of the organisation’s needs, to enable them to propose a solution to meet them.

Stage payments – An agreed percentage or part of the contract price, which is payable when specified stages of completion/delivery have been reached.

Stakeholder – An individual or organisation that has an active interest or a stake in a particular organisation or issue. For example, funders, members, contractors, purchasers, trustees, beneficiaries, volunteers and paid staff are all stakeholders in a voluntary organisation.

Standing orders – The Council’s rules and procedures that govern its activities, including procurement of goods, works, and services.

Standstill period – Following evaluation of all proposals and prior to completing the contract award, you must notify all suppliers of your intention to award the contract. This notification will incorporate the mandatory 10 day standstill period (also referred to as the Alcatel standstill).

Sub-contracting – The process where a contractor assigns part of the contract to another contractor(s).

Supplies – Goods, either purchased or hired. Those that have a value exceeding the current threshold defined by the EU rules will be subject to the European tendering requirements. Standing orders may have different values covering works, services or supplies.

Supplies, works & services – See individual definitions

Supplier diversity – initiatives that aim to increase the number of ethnic minority-owned businesses that supply goods and services to both public and private sector organisations.

Supply chain – Consists of businesses providing goods, works, and services to a buyer. For example, a stationer’s supply chain will include its product suppliers, delivery firm, printing company, IT provider and cleaning contractor. Tier one of a supply chain is the main contractor who supplies direct to the buyer. A business that supplies to tier 1 is a tier 2 supplier and any business that supplies to tier 2 is a tier 3 and so on.

Sustainable procurement – Sustainable procurement is using procurement to support wider social, economic and environmental objectives. It goes beyond green procurement to take account of social and economic issues.

Tender – An official written offer to an invitation that contains a costed proposal to perform the works, services or supplies required, and is provided in response to a tendering exercise. This normally involves submission of the offer in a sealed envelope to a specified address by a specified time and date.

Tender documents – Documents provided to prospective tenderers when they are invited to tender and that form the basis on which tenders are submitted, including instructions to tenderers, contract conditions, specification, pricing document, the form of tender and the responses from tenderers.

Tender evaluation panel – A group of people who analyse tenders received and make final recommendations on the award of contracts.

Third sector organisation (TSO) – VCOs pursue social and environmental objectives; do not distribute any surpluses to shareholders; reinvest any surpluses in the pursuit of their objectives, and are independent of government. VCOs can take a number of organisational forms, with or without charitable status.

TUPE regulations – The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (as amended from time to time) implementing the Acquired Rights Directive on the acquired rights of workers.

Two-stage selective tendering – See “restricted procedure”

Value for money – The provision of the right goods and services from the right source, of the right quality, at the right time, delivered to the right place and at the right price (judged on whole-life costs and not simply initial costs).

Variants – Tenders that meet minimum specifications but vary in technical terms. May be allowed by a contracting authority where award criterion is that of most economically advantageous tender.

Voluntary and community organisation (VCO) – A general term used to refer to registered charities, non-charitable non-profit organisations, associations, self-help group, and community groups.

Voluntary Ex-Ante Notice (VEAT) – Used when a contracting authority has awarded a contract to a supplier without first having published a tender notice, enabling the market to challenge the decision.

Waiver – An authorised departure from the Contract Standing Orders. This may only be applied with limited application.

Whole life costs – The systematic consideration of all relevant costs and revenues associated with the acquisition and ownership of an asset.

Works – Building, construction, and engineering-related works. Those that have a value exceeding the current threshold defined by the EU rules will be subject to the European tendering requirements. Standing Orders may have different values covering works, services or supplies.

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