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The Utilities Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2016

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PART 2RULES APPLICABLE TO CONTRACTS

CHAPTER 1PROCEDURES

Conditions relating to the GPA and other international agreements

41.  In so far as they are covered by Annexes 3 to 7 to the EU’s Appendix I to the GPA and by the other international agreements by which the EU is bound, a utility must accord to the works, supplies, services and economic operators of the signatories to those agreements treatment no less favourable than the treatment accorded to the works, supplies, services and economic operators of the EU.

Choice of procedures

42.—(1) When undertaking a procurement a utility must apply procedures that conform to these Regulations.

(2) A utility must apply one of the following procedures—

(a)an open procedure;

(b)a restricted procedure;

(c)a negotiated procedure with a prior call for competition;

(d)a competitive dialogue;

(e)an innovation partnership;

(f)a negotiated procedure without a prior call for competition.

(3) The procedures referred to in paragraph (2)(a) to (e) must include publication of a call for competition.

(4) The procedure referred to in paragraph (2)(f) does not require publication of a call for competition but it must only be used in one of the cases set out in regulation 48 (use of the negotiated procedure without prior call for competition).

(5) A call for competition may be made by means of—

(a)a periodic indicative notice in accordance with regulation 65 (periodic indicative notices) but only where the contract is to be awarded following a restricted or negotiated procedure or competitive dialogue;

(b)a notice on the existence of a qualification system in accordance with regulation 66 (notices on the existence of a qualification system) but only where the contract is to be awarded following a restricted or negotiated procedure, competitive dialogue or innovation partnership; or

(c)a contract notice in accordance with regulation 67 (contract notices).

(6) When a call for competition is made by the means referred to in paragraph (5)(a), an economic operator which has expressed an interest following the publication of the periodic indicative notice, must subsequently be invited by the utility to confirm its interest in writing by means of an invitation to confirm interest in accordance regulation 72 (invitations to candidates).

(7) Nothing in these Regulations prevents a utility which has commenced a procurement from terminating that procurement at any time.

Open Procedure

43.—(1) In an open procedure, a utility must permit any interested economic operator to submit a tender in response to a call for competition within the time period set by the utility in accordance with this regulation.

(2) The tender must be accompanied by the information for qualitative selection that is required by the utility.

(3) Subject to paragraphs (4) to (6), the minimum time period for the receipt of tenders shall be 35 days from the date on which the contract notice is sent for publication.

(4) Where a utility has published a periodic indicative notice which was not itself used as a mean of calling for competition under regulation 42(5)(a) (choice of procedures), the minimum time limit for the receipt of tenders may be reduced to 15 days, provided that—

(a)the periodic indicative notice included all the information required for the contract notice in Section I and II of Part A of Annex VI to the Utilities Contracts Directive, insofar as the information in section II was available at the time the periodic indicative notice was published; and

(b)the periodic indicative notice was sent for publication between 35 days and 12 months before the date on which the contract notice was sent for publication.

(5) Where a state of urgency duly substantiated by a utility renders it impracticable to apply the minimum time limit set out in paragraph (3), the utility may fix a time limit which must not be less than 15 days from the date on which the contract notice was sent for publication.

(6) A utility may reduce the minimum time period referred to in paragraph (3) by a period of up to 5 days where it accepts that tenders may be submitted by electronic means in accordance with regulation 38 (rules applicable to communication).

Restricted Procedure

44.—(1) In a restricted procedure, a utility must permit any economic operator to submit a request to participate in response to a call for competition within the time period set by the utility in accordance with this regulation.

(2) A request by an economic operator referred to in paragraph (1) must be accompanied by the information for qualitative selection that is requested by the utility.

(3) The minimum time period for receipt of requests to participate, other than in exceptional circumstances, shall be 30 days from the date on which—

(a)the contract notice was sent for publication; or

(b)where a periodic indicative notice is used as a means of calling for competition, the invitation to confirm interest was sent,

and shall, in any event, not be less than 15 days from such date.

(4) Only those economic operators invited to do so by the utility following its assessment of the information provided may submit a tender.

(5) A utility may limit the number of suitable candidates to be invited to participate in the procedure in accordance with regulation 76(2) (criteria for qualitative selection).

(6) The minimum time limit for the receipt of tenders may be set by agreement between the utility and the economic operators invited to tender, provided that all such economic operators have the same time to prepare and submit their tenders.

(7) If there is no agreement made further to paragraph (6), the minimum time period for the receipt of tenders shall be 10 days from the date on which the invitation to tender is sent.

Negotiated procedure with prior call for competition

45.—(1) In a negotiated procedure with a prior call for competition, a utility must permit any economic operator to submit a request to participate in response to a call for competition within the time period set by the utility in accordance with this regulation.

(2) A request by an economic operator referred to in paragraph (1) must be accompanied by the information for qualitative selection that is requested by the utility.

(3) The minimum time period for receipt of requests to participate, other than in exceptional circumstances, shall be 30 days from the date on which—

(a)the contract notice was sent for publication; or

(b)where a periodic indicative notice is used as a means of calling for competition, the invitation to confirm interest was sent,

and shall, in any event, not be less than 15 days from such date.

(4) Only those economic operators invited to do so by the utility following its assessment of the information provided may participate in the negotiations.

(5) A utility may limit the number of suitable candidates to be invited to participate in the procedure in accordance with regulation 76(2) (criteria for qualitative selection).

(6) The minimum time limit for the receipt of tenders may be set by agreement between the utility and the economic operators invited to tender, provided that all such economic operators have the same time to prepare and submit their tenders.

(7) If there is no agreement made further to paragraph (6), the minimum time period for the receipt of tenders shall be 10 days from the date on which the invitation to tender is sent.

Competitive Dialogue

46.—(1) In a competitive dialogue, a utility must permit any economic operator to submit a request to participate in response to a call for competition in accordance with regulation 42(5)(b) or (c) (choice of procedures) within the time period set by the utility in accordance with this regulation.

(2) A request by an economic operator referred to in paragraph (1) must be accompanied by the information for qualitative selection that is requested by the utility.

(3) The minimum time period for receipt of a request to participate, other than in exceptional circumstances, shall be 30 days from the date on which—

(a)the contract notice was sent for publication; or

(b)where a periodic indicative notice is used as a means of calling for competition, the invitation to confirm interest was sent,

and shall, in any event, not be less than 15 days from such date.

(4) Only those economic operators invited to do so by the utility following its assessment of the information provided may participate in the dialogue.

(5) A utility may limit the number of suitable candidates to be invited to participate in the procedure in accordance with regulation 76(2) (criteria for qualitative selection).

(6) The contract must be awarded on the sole basis of the best price-quality ratio in accordance with regulation 80 (contract award criteria).

(7) A utility must in the call for competition, in a descriptive document or in both—

(a)set out and define its needs and requirements;

(b)set out and define the chosen award criteria; and

(c)set out an indicative timeframe.

(8) A utility—

(a)must open, with the participants selected in accordance with the relevant provisions of regulations 74 to 79, a dialogue with the aim of identifying and defining the means best suited to satisfying the utility’s needs; and

(b)may discuss all aspects of the procurement with such participants during this dialogue.

(9) During the dialogue, a utility—

(a)must ensure equal treatment of all participants; and

(b)must not provide information in a discriminatory manner which may give any participant an advantage over others.

(10) In accordance with regulation 37 (confidentiality), a utility must not reveal to the other participants solutions proposed or other confidential information communicated by a candidate or tenderer participating in the dialogue without the candidate or tenderer’s agreement.

(11) Any agreement referred to in paragraph (10) shall not take the form of a general waiver but must be given with reference to the intended communication of specific information.

(12) A utility may conduct a competitive dialogue in successive stages in order to reduce the number of solutions to be discussed during the dialogue stage only by applying the award criteria specified in—

(a)the call for competition; or

(b)the descriptive document.

(13) The utility must indicate, in the contract notice or the descriptive document, whether it will use the option described in paragraph (12).

(14) The utility shall continue the dialogue until it can identify the solution or solutions which are capable of meeting its needs.

(15) When the utility has declared that the dialogue is concluded and informed the remaining participants, the utility must invite each remaining participant to submit their final tender on the basis of the solution or solutions presented and specified during the dialogue.

(16) The final tenders—

(a)shall contain all the elements required and necessary for the performance of the project; and

(b)may, subject to paragraph (17), be clarified, specified and optimised at the request of the utility.

(17) Any clarification, specification, optimisation or additional information provided pursuant to a request referred to in paragraph (16)(b) must not involve changes to the essential aspects of the tender or the procurement, including the needs and requirements set out in the call for competition or in the descriptive document, where such changes are likely to distort competition or cause discrimination.

(18) A utility must assess the tenders received on the basis of the award criteria laid down in the call for competition or in the descriptive document.

(19) At the request of the utility, and subject to paragraph (20), negotiations with the tenderer identified as having submitted the tender presenting the best price-quality ratio in accordance with regulation 80 (contract award criteria) may be carried out to confirm financial commitments or other terms contained in the tender in order to finalise the terms of the contract.

(20) Any negotiation and finalisation of the terms of the contract referred to in paragraph (19) must not involve changes to the essential aspects of the tender or the procurement, including the needs and requirements set out in the call for competition or in the descriptive document, where such changes are likely to distort competition or cause discrimination.

(21) A utility may specify prizes or payments to the participants in the dialogue.

Innovation Partnership

47.—(1) A utility may establish an innovation partnership with one partner or with several partners conducting separate research and development activities.

(2) The innovation partnership must aim at the development of innovative works, products or services and the subsequent purchase of the resulting works, supplies or services provided that they correspond to the performance levels and maximum costs agreed between the utility and the partners.

(3) The estimated value of works, supplies or services must not be disproportionate in relation to the investment required for their development.

(4) The innovation partnership must be structured in successive phases following the sequence of steps in the research and innovation process, which may include the manufacturing of the products, the provision of the services or the completion of the works.

(5) The innovation partnership must set intermediate targets to be attained by the partners and provide for payment of the remuneration in appropriate instalments.

(6) Based on those targets, the utility may decide after each phase to—

(a)terminate the innovation partnership; or

(b)in the case of an innovation partnership with several partners, reduce the number of partners by terminating individual contracts,

provided that the utility has indicated in the procurement documents those possibilities and the conditions for their use.

(7) In the procurement of an innovation partnership, a utility must permit any economic operator to submit a request to participate in response to a call for competition in accordance with regulation 42(5)(b) or (c) (choice of procedures) within the time period set by the utility in accordance with this regulation.

(8) A request by an economic operator referred to in paragraph (7) must be accompanied by the information for qualitative selection that is requested by the utility.

(9) In the procurement documents, the utility must—

(a)identify the subject matter of the procurement by providing the description of the utility’s need for innovative works, products or services that cannot be met by purchasing works, products or services already available on the market;

(b)indicate which elements of this description define the minimum requirements to be met by all tenders;

(c)specify the award criteria; and

(d)define the arrangements applicable to intellectual property rights.

(10) The information provided by the utility in accordance with paragraph (9) must be sufficiently precise to enable economic operators to identify the nature and scope of the required solution and decide whether to request to participate in the procedure.

(11) The minimum time period for the receipt of requests to participate—

(a)other than in exceptional circumstances, shall be 30 days from the date on which the contract notice is sent for publication; and

(b)shall, in any event, not be less than 15 days from that date.

(12) A utility may limit the number of suitable candidates to be invited to participate in the procedure in accordance with regulation 76(2) (criteria for qualitative selection).

(13) In selecting candidates, a utility must, in particular, apply criteria concerning the candidates’ capacity in the field of research and development and of developing and implementing innovative solutions.

(14) Only those economic operators invited to do so by the utility following its assessment of the requested information may participate in the procedure and submit research and innovation projects aimed at meeting the needs identified by the utility that cannot be met by existing solutions.

(15) A utility must negotiate with tenderers the initial and all subsequent tenders submitted by them, except for the final tender, to improve their content.

(16) A utility must not negotiate the minimum requirements or the award criteria referred to in paragraph (9).

(17) During the negotiations, a utility—

(a)must ensure equal treatment of all tenderers;

(b)must not provide information in a discriminatory manner which may give some tenderers an advantage over others;

(c)must, in writing, inform all tenderers whose tenders have not been eliminated of any changes to the technical specifications or other procurement documents; and

(d)must provide sufficient time following any such changes for all tenderers referred to in paragraph (c) to modify and re-submit amended tenders as appropriate.

(18) In accordance with regulation 37 (confidentiality), a utility must not reveal to the other participants confidential information communicated by a candidate or tenderer participating in the negotiations without the candidate or tenderer’s agreement.

(19) Any agreement referred to in paragraph (18) must not take the form of a general waiver but must be given with reference to the intended communication of specific information.

(20) A utility may conduct negotiations during innovation partnership procedures in successive stages in order to reduce the number of tenders to be negotiated only by applying the award criteria specified in the contract notice, the invitation to confirm interest or another procurement document.

(21) The utility must indicate in the contract notice or in another procurement document whether it will use the option described in paragraph (20).

(22) The contracts must be awarded on the sole basis of the best price-quality ratio in accordance with regulation 80 (contract award criteria).

(23) The utility must ensure that the structure of the partnership and, in particular, the duration and value of the different phases reflect the degree of innovation of the proposed solution and the sequence of the research and innovation activities required for the development of an innovative solution not yet available on the market.

(24) In the case of an innovation partnership with several partners, the utility must not, in accordance with regulation 37 (confidentiality), reveal to the other partners solutions proposed or other confidential information communicated by a partner in the framework of the partnership without that partner’s agreement.

(25) Any agreement referred to in paragraph (24) must not take the form of a general waiver but must be given with reference to the intended communication of specific information.

Use of the negotiated procedure without prior call for competition

48.—(1) A utility may award a contract following a negotiated procedure without prior publication of a call for competition in any of the following cases—

(a)where no tenders, no suitable tenders, no requests to participate or no suitable requests to participate have been submitted in response to a procedure with a call for competition, provided that the initial conditions of the contract are not substantially altered;

(b)where the contract is—

(i)purely for the purpose of research, experiment, study or development; and

(ii)not for the purpose of securing a profit or of recovering research and development costs,

insofar as the award of such contract does not prejudice the competitive award of subsequent contracts which do seek the ends referred to in paragraph (ii); or

(c)where the works, supplies or services can be supplied only by a particular economic operator for any of the following reasons—

(i)the aim of the procurement is the creation or acquisition of a unique work of art or artistic performance;

(ii)competition is absent for technical reasons;

(iii)the protection of exclusive rights, including intellectual property rights,

but only, in the case of paragraphs (ii) and (iii), where no reasonable alternative or substitute exists and the absence of competition is not the result of an artificial narrowing down of the parameters of the procurement;

(d)where (but only if it is strictly necessary) for reasons of extreme urgency brought about by events unforeseeable by the utility, the time limits for open procedure, restricted procedure or negotiated procedure with prior call for competition cannot be complied with.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(a)—

(a)a tender shall be considered not to be suitable where it is irrelevant to the contract, being manifestly incapable, without substantial changes, of meeting the utility’s needs and requirements as specified in the procurement documents; and

(b)a request to participate shall be considered not to be suitable where the economic operator concerned—

(i)has been or would be excluded under regulation 76(1) (criteria for qualitative selection) or 78 (use of exclusion grounds and selection criteria provided for under the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations); or

(ii)does not meet the selection criteria.

(3) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(d), the circumstances invoked to justify extreme urgency must not, in any event, be attributable to the utility.

Specific rules based on type of contract

(4) A utility may award a contract following a negotiated procedure without prior publication of a call for competition—

(a)in the case of supply contracts, where the products involved are for additional deliveries by the original supplier which are intended either as—

(i)a partial replacement of supplies or installations; or

(ii)the extension of existing supplies or installations,

where a change of supplier would require the utility to acquire supplies having different technical characteristics which would result in incompatibility or disproportionate technical difficulties in operation and maintenance;

(b)for supplies quoted and purchased on a commodity market;

(c)for purchases of supplies or services on particularly advantageous conditions, from either a supplier which is definitively winding up its business activities or the liquidator in an insolvency procedure, an arrangement with creditors or a similar procedure under national laws or regulations;

(d)for bargain purchases, where it is possible to procure supplies by taking advantage of a particularly advantageous opportunity available for a very short time at a price considerably lower than normal market prices;

(e)for new works, services or both, consisting of the repetition of similar works or services entrusted to the contractor to which the utility awarded an original contract, provided that such works or services are in conformity with a basic project for which the original contract was awarded pursuant to a procedure in accordance with regulation 42(1) (choice of procedures);

(f)for a service contract which follows a design contest organised in accordance with these Regulations and which is to be awarded, under the rules provided for in the design contest, to the winner or to one of the winners of the design contest.

(5) For the purposes of paragraph (4)(e)—

(a)the basic project must have indicated the extent of possible additional works or services and the conditions under which they would be awarded;

(b)the possible use of this procedure must have been disclosed in the procurement documents; and

(c)the total estimated cost of these subsequent works or services must have been taken into consideration by the utility when applying regulations 15 (thresholds) and 16 (methods for calculating the estimated value) in relation to the original contract.

(6) For the purposes of paragraph (4)(f), where there is more than one winner of the design contest all of the winners must be invited to participate in the negotiation.

CHAPTER 2TECHNIQUES AND INSTRUMENTS FOR ELECTRONIC AND AGGREGATED PROCUREMENT

Framework Agreements

49.—(1) A utility may conclude a framework agreement, provided that the utility applies the procedures provided for in these Regulations.

(2) The term of a framework agreement must not exceed 8 years, save in exceptional cases duly justified, in particular by the subject of the framework agreement.

(3) A contract based on a framework agreement must be awarded on the basis of objective rules and criteria.

(4) For the purposes of paragraph (3), the objective rules and criteria must—

(a)be set out in the procurement documents for the framework agreement; and

(b)ensure equal treatment of the economic operators who are party to the framework agreement.

(5) The award of a contract referred to in paragraph (3) may include reopening the competition among those economic operators party to the framework agreement as concluded and, if so, a utility must—

(a)set a time limit which is sufficiently long to allow tenders for each specific contract to be submitted; and

(b)award each contract to the tenderer that has submitted the most economically advantageous tender on the basis of the award criteria set out in the specifications of the framework agreement.

(6) A utility must not use a framework agreement improperly or in such a way as to prevent, restrict or distort competition.

Dynamic Purchasing Systems

50.—(1) A utility may use a dynamic purchasing system for commonly used purchases the characteristics of which, as generally available on the market, meet the utility’s requirements.

(2) The dynamic purchasing system must—

(a)be operated as a completely electronic process; and

(b)be open, throughout the period of validity of the system, to any economic operator that satisfies the selection criteria.

(3) The dynamic purchasing system may be divided into categories of works, supplies or services that are objectively defined on the basis of characteristics of the procurement to be undertaken under the category concerned.

(4) The characteristics referred to in paragraph (3) may include reference to either or both of—

(a)the maximum allowable size of the subsequent specific contracts; and

(b)a specific geographic area in which subsequent specific contracts will be performed.

(5) In order to procure under a dynamic purchasing system, a utility must follow the restricted procedure, and accordingly the provisions of regulation 44 (restricted procedure) apply, subject to the provisions of this regulation.

(6) Where a utility has divided the system into categories of works, supplies or services in accordance with paragraph (3), the utility must specify the applicable selection criteria for each category.

(7) A utility must admit to a dynamic purchasing system all of the candidates satisfying the selection criteria and must not limit the number of candidates to be admitted whether under regulation 76(2) (criteria for qualitative selection) or otherwise.

(8) The minimum time period for receipt of requests to participate—

(a)other than in exceptional circumstances, shall be 30 days from the date on which—

(i)the contract notice is sent for publication; or

(ii)where a periodic indicative notice is used as a means of calling for competition, the invitation to confirm interest is sent; and

(b)shall, in any event, be 15 days from such date.

(9) No further time limits for receipt of requests to participate shall apply once the invitation to tender for the first specific procurement under the dynamic purchasing system has been sent.

(10) The minimum time period for receipt of tenders shall be 10 days from the date on which the invitation to tender is sent.

(11) A utility must, throughout the period of validity of the dynamic purchasing system, give any economic operator the possibility of requesting to participate in the system under the conditions referred to in paragraphs (5) to (10).

(12) A utility must finalise evaluation of such requests in accordance with the selection criteria within 10 working days following their receipt.

(13) The deadline referred to in paragraph (12) may be extended to a maximum of 15 working days in individual cases where justified, in particular because of the need to examine additional documentation or otherwise to verify whether the selection criteria are met.

(14) Despite paragraphs (12) and (13), as long as the invitation to tender for the first specific procurement under the dynamic purchasing system has not been sent, a utility may extend the evaluation period provided that no invitation to tender is issued during the extended evaluation period.

(15) Where a utility intends to extend the evaluation period in accordance with paragraph (14), the utility must indicate in the procurement documents the length of the extended period that the utility intends to apply.

(16) A utility must inform the economic operator concerned at the earliest possible opportunity of whether or not it has been admitted to the dynamic purchasing system.

(17) A utility must invite all admitted participants to submit a tender for each specific procurement under the dynamic purchasing system, in accordance with regulation 72 (invitations to candidates).

(18) Where the dynamic purchasing system has been divided into categories of works, supplies or services pursuant to paragraph (3), a utility must invite every relevant participant to submit a tender.

(19) In paragraph (18), “relevant participants” means economic operators which have been admitted to the dynamic purchasing system in relation to the category corresponding to the specific procurement concerned.

(20) For the purposes of awarding contracts under a dynamic purchasing system, a utility must—

(a)publish a call for competition which—

(i)makes it clear that a dynamic purchasing system is involved; and

(ii)indicates the period of validity of the dynamic purchasing system;

(b)indicate in the procurement documents at least the nature and estimated quantity of the purchases envisaged, as well as all the necessary information concerning the dynamic purchasing system, including how the system operates, the electronic equipment used and the technical connection arrangements and specifications;

(c)indicate in the procurement documents any division into categories of works, supplies or services and the characteristics defining them; and

(d)throughout the period of validity of the system, offer unrestricted and full direct access to the procurement documents in accordance with regulation 71 (electronic availability of procurement documents).

(21) A utility must award the contract to the tenderer that submitted the most economically advantageous tender on the basis of the award criteria set out in—

(a)the contract notice for the dynamic purchasing system;

(b)where a periodic indicative notice is used as a means of calling for competition, in the invitation to confirm interest; or

(c)where a notice on the existence of a qualification system is used as a means of calling for competition, in the invitation to tender.

(22) For the purposes of paragraph (21), those criteria, where appropriate, may be formulated more precisely in the invitation to tender.

(23) A utility which, in accordance with regulation 78 (use of exclusion grounds and selection criteria provided for under the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations), applies exclusion grounds and selection criteria provided for under the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations may, at any time throughout the period of validity of the dynamic purchasing system, require admitted participants to submit a renewed ESPD as provided for in regulation 60(1) of those Regulations within 5 working days from the date on which that request is transmitted.

(24) Regulation 60(7) to (10) of the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations applies throughout the period of validity of the dynamic purchasing system.

(25) A utility must notify the Commission of any change to the period of validity mentioned in paragraph (20)(a)(ii) using—

(a)where the period of validity is changed without terminating the system, the form used initially for the call for competition for the dynamic purchasing system;

(b)where the system is terminated, a contract award notice referred to in regulation 68 (contract award notices).

(26) No charges may be made to any economic operators which are interested in or are a party to the dynamic purchasing system.

(27) All communications in the context of a dynamic purchasing system must only be made by electronic means in accordance with regulation 38(1) to (7) and (11) to (20) (rules applicable to communication).

Electronic Auctions

51.—(1) A utility may use electronic auctions, in which economic operators present one or both of the following—

(a)new prices, revised downwards;

(b)new values concerning certain elements of tenders.

(2) A utility must structure the electronic auction as a repetitive electronic process, which occurs after an initial full evaluation of the tenders, enabling them to be ranked using automatic evaluation methods.

(3) Electronic auctions must not be used for works or service contracts which have as their subject-matter intellectual activities (such as the design of works) which cannot be ranked using automatic evaluation methods.

(4) A utility which decides to hold an electronic auction must state that fact in the—

(a)contract notice;

(b)the invitation to confirm interest; or

(c)where a notice on the existence of a qualification system is used as a means of calling for competition, in the invitation to tender.

(5) In open or restricted procedures or negotiated procedures with a prior call for competition, when the content of the procurement documents, in particular the technical specifications, can be established with precision, a utility may—

(a)decide that the award of a contract shall be preceded by an electronic auction;

(b)hold an electronic auction—

(i)on the reopening of competition among the parties to a framework agreement as provided for in regulation 49(5) (framework agreements); or

(ii)on the opening for competition of contracts to be awarded under a dynamic purchasing system.

(6) The electronic auction must be based—

(a)on prices only where the contract is awarded on the basis of price only; and

(b)on prices, on the new values of the features of the tenders indicated in the procurement documents or on both, where the contract is awarded on the basis of the best price-quality ratio or to the tender with the lowest cost using a cost effectiveness approach.

(7) Where a utility has decided to hold an electronic auction, the procurement documents must include at least the following—

(a)the features, the values for which will be the subject of electronic auction, provided that such features are quantifiable and can be expressed in figures or percentages;

(b)any limits on the values which may be submitted, as they result from the specifications relating to the subject of the contract;

(c)the information which will be made available to tenderers in the course of the electronic auction and, where appropriate, when it will be made available to them;

(d)relevant information concerning the electronic auction process;

(e)the conditions under which the tenderers will be able to bid and, in particular, the minimum differences which will, where appropriate, be required when bidding; and

(f)the relevant information concerning the electronic equipment used and the arrangements and technical specifications for connection.

(8) Before proceeding with an electronic auction, a utility must make a full initial evaluation of the tenders in accordance with the award criteria and the weighting fixed for them.

(9) A tender must be considered admissible where—

(a)it has been submitted by a tenderer who has not been excluded pursuant to regulation 76(1) (criteria for qualitative selection) or 78 (use of exclusion grounds and selection criteria provided for under the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations) and who meets the selection criteria; and

(b)it is in conformity with the technical specifications without being irregular, unacceptable or unsuitable.

(10) A tender must be considered to be irregular for the purposes of paragraph (9)(b) where—

(a)it does not comply with the procurement documents;

(b)it was received late;

(c)there is evidence of collusion or corruption; or

(d)it has been found by the utility to be abnormally low.

(11) A tender must be considered to be unacceptable for the purposes of paragraph (9)(b) where—

(a)it was submitted by a tenderer which does not have the required qualifications; or

(b)the price tendered exceeds the utility’s budget as determined and documented prior to the commencement of the procurement.

(12) A tender must be considered unsuitable for the purpose of paragraph (9)(b) where it is irrelevant to the contract, being manifestly incapable, without substantial changes, of meeting the utility’s needs and requirements as specified in the procurement documents.

(13) All tenderers that have submitted admissible tenders must be invited simultaneously, by electronic means, to participate in the electronic auction using, as of the date and time specified in the invitation, the technical connection arrangements referred to in accordance with the instructions set out in the invitation.

(14) The electronic auction may take place in a number of successive phases.

(15) The electronic auction must not start sooner than 2 working days after the date on which invitations are sent out.

(16) The invitation must be accompanied by the outcome of a full evaluation of the relevant tender, carried out in accordance with the weighting provided for in regulation 80(9) to (11) (contract award criteria).

(17) The invitation must also state the mathematical formula to be used in the electronic auction to determine the automatic re-rankings on the basis of the new prices or new values submitted, or both.

(18) The formula referred to in paragraph (17) must incorporate the weighting of all the criteria established to determine the most economically advantageous tender, as indicated in the notice used as a means of calling for competition or in other procurement documents.

(19) For the purpose of paragraph (18), any ranges of weightings must be reduced beforehand to a specified value.

(20) Where variants are authorised in accordance with regulation 62 (variants) a separate formula must be provided for each variant.

(21) Throughout each phase of an electronic auction the utility must instantaneously communicate to all tenderers at least sufficient information to enable the tenderers to ascertain their relative rankings at any moment.

(22) A utility may, where this has been previously indicated, communicate information concerning other prices or values submitted.

(23) A utility may also, at any time, announce the number of participants in the current phase of the auction.

(24) In no case, however, may a utility disclose the identities of the tenderers during any phase of an electronic auction.

(25) A utility must close an electronic auction—

(a)at the previously indicated date and time;

(b)when the utility receives no more new prices or new values which meet the requirements concerning minimum differences specified in accordance with paragraph (7)(e), provided that the utility has previously stated the time which they will allow to elapse after receiving the last submission before they close the electronic auction;

(c)when all of the previously indicated number of phases in the auction have been completed.

(26) Where the utility intends to close an electronic auction in accordance with paragraph (25)(c), whether or not in combination with any arrangements laid down in paragraph (25)(b), the utility must indicate in the invitation to participate in the auction the timetable for each phase of the auction.

(27) After closing an electronic auction, a utility shall award the contract in accordance with regulation 80 (contract award criteria) on the basis of the results of the electronic auction.

Electronic catalogues

52.—(1) Where the use of electronic means of communication is required, a utility may require tenders to be presented in the format of an electronic catalogue or to include an electronic catalogue.

(2) Tenders presented in the form of an electronic catalogue may be accompanied by other documents, completing the tender.

(3) Electronic catalogues must be established by the candidates or tenderers with a view to participating in a given procurement in accordance with the technical specifications and format established by the utility.

(4) Electronic catalogues must also comply with the requirements for electronic communication tools set out in regulation 38 (rules applicable to communication) as well as with any additional requirements set by the utility in accordance with that regulation.

(5) Where the presentation of tenders in the form of electronic catalogues is accepted or required, a utility must—

(a)state that to be the case in—

(i)the contract notice;

(ii)the invitation to confirm interest; or

(iii)where the means of calling for competition is a notice on the existence of a qualification system, the invitation to tender or negotiate; and

(b)indicate in the procurement documents all the necessary information pursuant to regulation 38(16) to (25) (rules applicable to communication) concerning the format, the electronic equipment used and the technical connection arrangements and specifications for the catalogue.

(6) Where a framework agreement has been concluded with more than one economic operator following the submission of tenders in the form of electronic catalogues, a utility may provide that the reopening of competition for a specific contract is to take place on the basis of updated catalogues.

(7) Where a utility requires updated catalogues in accordance with paragraph (6), the utility must—

(a)invite tenderers to resubmit their electronic catalogues, adapted to the requirements of the contract in question; or

(b)notify tenderers that the utility intends to collect from the electronic catalogues which have already been submitted the information needed to constitute tenders adapted to the requirements of the contract in question, provided that the use of that method has been indicated in the procurement documents for the framework agreement.

(8) Where a utility reopens competition for a specific contract in accordance with paragraph (7)(b), the utility must—

(a)notify tenderers of the date and time at which the utility intends to collect the information needed to constitute tenders adapted to the requirements of the specific contract in question; and

(b)allow tenderers to refuse such collection of information.

(9) A utility must allow an adequate period of time between the notification referred to in paragraph (8)(a) and the collection of information.

(10) Before awarding the contract, a utility must present the collected information to the tenderer concerned and give the tenderer the opportunity to contest or confirm that the tender thus constituted does not contain any material errors.

(11) A utility may award a contract based on a dynamic purchasing system by requiring that offers for a specific contract are to be presented in the format of an electronic catalogue.

(12) A utility may also award a contract based on a dynamic purchasing system in accordance with paragraphs (7)(b) and (8) to (10) provided that the request for participation in the dynamic purchasing system is accompanied by an electronic catalogue in accordance with the technical specifications and format established by the utility.

(13) For the purpose of paragraph (12), the catalogue must be completed subsequently by the candidates, when they are informed of the utility’s intention to constitute tenders by means of the procedure set out in paragraph (7)(b).

Centralised purchasing activities and central purchasing bodies

53.—(1) A utility may acquire supplies and services from a central purchasing body offering the centralised purchasing activity referred to in regulation 2(1).

(2) A utility may acquire works, supplies and services, or any one or more of them, by using—

(a)a contract awarded to the utility by a central purchasing body;

(b)a dynamic purchasing system operated by a central purchasing body; or

(c)a framework agreement concluded by a central purchasing body offering the centralised purchasing activity.

(3) Where a dynamic purchasing system which is operated by a central purchasing body may be used by another utility, this must be mentioned in the call for competition setting up that dynamic purchasing system.

(4) Subject to paragraph (5), where a utility makes an acquisition in accordance with paragraphs (1) or (2), the utility fulfils its obligations under these Regulations in relation to such acquisition.

(5) A utility referred to in paragraph (4) is responsible for fulfilling the obligations imposed by these Regulations in respect of any part of the procedure that the utility conducts itself, such as—

(a)awarding a contract under a dynamic purchasing system which is operated by a central purchasing body;

(b)conducting a reopening of competition under a framework agreement that has been concluded by a central purchasing body.

(6) A procurement conducted by a central purchasing body must be performed using electronic means of communication, in accordance with the requirements set out in regulation 38 (rules applicable to communication).

(7) A utility may, without applying the procedures provided for in these Regulations, award a service contract for the provision of centralised purchasing activities to a central purchasing body.

(8) A service contract referred to in paragraph (7) may also include the provision of an ancillary purchasing activity.

(9) Procurement carried out by a central purchasing body in order to perform a centralised purchasing activity shall be deemed to be procurement for the pursuit of an activity referred to in regulations 8 to 14.

Occasional joint procurement

54.—(1) Two or more utilities may agree to perform a certain specific procurement jointly.

(2) A utility shall be jointly responsible for fulfilling their obligations under these Regulations where—

(a)the conduct of a procurement in its entirety is carried out jointly in the name of and on behalf of all the utilities concerned; or

(b)one utility manages the procedure, acting on its own behalf and on behalf of the other utilities concerned.

(3) Where the conduct of a procurement is not in its entirety carried out in the name of and on behalf of the utilities concerned—

(a)the utilities shall be jointly responsible only for those parts carried out jointly; and

(b)each utility shall have sole responsibility for fulfilling its obligations under these Regulations in respect of the parts it conducts in its own name and on its own behalf.

Procurement involving utilities from different member States

55.—(1) Without prejudice to regulations 27 to 30, a utility may act jointly with a utility from another member State in the award of a contract by using one of the means provided for in this regulation.

(2) A utility must not use the means provided for in this regulation for the purpose of avoiding the application of mandatory public law provisions in the applicable law of the jurisdiction to which the utility is subject, where those provisions are in conformity with EU law.

(3) A utility may use centralised purchasing activities offered by a central purchasing body located in another member State.

(4) A utility may only use the provision of centralised purchasing activities by a central purchasing body located in another member State where they are conducted in accordance with the national provisions of the member State where the central purchasing body is located.

(5) The national provisions of the member State where the central purchasing body is located also apply to—

(a)the award of a contract under a dynamic purchasing system; and

(b)the conduct of a reopening of competition under a framework agreement.

(6) In the circumstances set out in paragraph (7), several utilities from different member States may—

(a)jointly award a contract, conclude a framework agreement or operate a dynamic purchasing system; and

(b)award contracts based on the framework agreement or award contracts under the dynamic purchasing system.

(7) The circumstances referred to in paragraph (6) are that—

(a)unless the necessary elements have been regulated by an international agreement concluded between the member States concerned, the participating utilities have concluded an agreement that determines—

(i)the responsibilities of the parties and the relevant applicable national provisions; and

(ii)the internal organisation of the procurement, including the management of the procedure, the distribution of the works, supplies or services to be procured, and the conclusion of contracts; and

(b)the allocation of responsibilities and the applicable national law have been referred to in the procurement documents.

(8) When determining responsibilities and the applicable national law as referred to in paragraph (7)(a)(i), the participating utilities may allocate specific responsibilities among them and determine the applicable provisions of the national laws of any of their respective member States.

(9) A participating utility fulfils its obligations under these Regulations when it purchases works, supplies or services from a utility which is responsible for the procurement.

(10) Utilities from different member States may set up a joint entity for the purpose of paragraph (1), subject to compliance with paragraph (11).

(11) The participating utilities must, before undertaking any given procurement, by a decision of the competent body of the joint entity, agree on the applicable national procurement rules of one of the following—

(a)the member State where the joint entity has its registered office; or

(b)the member State where the joint entity is carrying out its activities.

(12) The agreement referred to in paragraph (11) may either apply for an undetermined period, when fixed in the constitutive act of the joint entity, or may be limited to a certain period of time, to certain types of contract or to one or more individual contract awards.

(13) The other provisions of these Regulations apply to procurement by the joint entity only where they are the national provisions applicable in accordance with paragraph (11).

(14) In this regulation—

“central purchasing body located in another member State” means any person which is a central purchasing body for the purposes of paragraph (12) of Article 2 of the Utilities Contracts Directive in the member State in which it is located;

“joint entity” includes European groupings of territorial cooperation under Regulation (EC) No 1082/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on a European grouping of territorial cooperation(1) and other entities established under EU law; and

“utility from another member State” means any person which is a contracting entity for the purposes of Article 4 of the Utilities Contracts Directive in a member State other than the United Kingdom; and references to “participating utilities” to the extent that they are from another member State shall be interpreted accordingly.

CHAPTER 3CONDUCT OF THE PROCEDURE

SECTION 1Preparation

Preliminary market consultation

56.—(1) Before commencing a procurement, a utility may conduct a market consultation with a view to preparing the procurement and informing economic operators of the utility’s procurement plans and requirements.

(2) For this purpose, a utility may act as it considers appropriate, including seeking or accepting advice from independent experts or authorities or from market participants.

(3) Such advice may be used in the planning and conduct of the procurement, provided that it does not have the effect of distorting competition and does not result in a violation of the principles of non-discrimination and transparency.

Prior involvement of candidates or tenderers

57.—(1) A utility must take appropriate measures to ensure that competition is not distorted by the participation of a candidate or tenderer where that candidate or tenderer, or an undertaking related to that candidate or tenderer—

(a)has advised the utility, whether in the context of regulation 56 (preliminary market consultation) or not; or

(b)has otherwise been involved in the preparation of the procurement.

(2) Such measures must include—

(a)the communication to the other candidates and tenderers of relevant information exchanged in the context of or resulting from the involvement of the candidate or tenderer in the preparation of the procurement; and

(b)the fixing of adequate time limits for the receipt of tenders.

(3) A candidate or tenderer in a situation referred to in paragraph (1) may only be excluded from the procedure for the purposes of paragraph (1) where there are no other means to ensure compliance with the duty referred to in regulation 34(1) (principles of procurement).

(4) Prior to any such exclusion, a candidate or tenderer must be given the opportunity to prove that their involvement in preparing the procurement is not capable of distorting competition.

(5) The measures taken must be documented in the report referred to in regulation 96 (reporting and documentation requirements).

Technical specifications

58.—(1) The technical specifications must—

(a)be set out in the procurement documents; and

(b)lay down the characteristics required of any works, supply or service.

(2) In the case of a works contract, technical specifications define any characteristics required of a material, product or supply so that it fulfils the use for which it is intended by the utility.

(3) The characteristics referred to in paragraph (2) may include—

(a)levels of environmental and climate performance;

(b)design for all requirements (including accessibility for disabled persons) and conformity assessment;

(c)performance, safety or dimensions, including the procedures concerning quality assurance;

(d)terminology;

(e)symbols;

(f)testing and test methods;

(g)packaging, marking and labelling;

(h)user instructions;

(i)production processes and methods at any stage of the life cycle of the works;

(j)rules relating to design and costing and the test, inspection and acceptance conditions for works; and

(k)methods or techniques of construction and all other technical conditions which the utility is in a position to prescribe, under general or specific regulations, in relation to the finished works and to the materials or parts which they involve.

(4) In the case of a supply or service contract, the required characteristics may include—

(a)quality levels;

(b)environmental and climate performance levels;

(c)design for all requirements (including accessibility for disabled persons) and conformity assessment;

(d)performance, use of the product, safety or dimensions, including requirements relevant to the product as regards the name under which the product is sold;

(e)terminology;

(f)symbols;

(g)testing and test methods;

(h)packaging, marking and labelling;

(i)user instructions;

(j)production processes and methods at any stage of the life cycle of the supply or service; and

(k)conformity assessment procedures.

(5) In the case of any contract, the required characteristics may also refer to—

(a)the specific process or method of production or provision of the requested works, supplies or services;

(b)a specific process for another stage of its life cycle,

even where such factors do not form part of the contract’s material substance provided that they are linked to the subject-matter of the contract and proportionate to its value and its objectives.

(6) The technical specifications may also specify whether the transfer of intellectual property rights will be required.

(7) Where the subject of the procurement is intended for use by natural persons, whether the general public or staff of the utility, the technical specifications must, except in duly justified cases, be drawn up so as to take into account accessibility criteria for persons with disabilities or design for all users.

(8) Where mandatory accessibility requirements are adopted by a legal act of the EU, technical specifications must, as far as accessibility criteria for persons with disabilities or design for all users are concerned, be defined by reference thereto.

(9) Technical specifications must afford equal access of economic operators to the procurement and must not have the effect of creating unjustified obstacles to the opening up of procurement to competition.

(10) Without prejudice to mandatory national technical rules, to the extent that they are compatible with EU law, the technical specifications must be formulated—

(a)in terms of performance or functional requirements, including environmental characteristics, provided that the parameters are sufficiently precise to allow tenderers to determine the subject-matter of the contract and to allow the utility to award the contract;

(b)by reference to any of the following technical specifications in the following order of precedence—

(i)national standards transposing European standards;

(ii)European Technical Assessments;

(iii)common technical specifications;

(iv)international standards;

(v)other technical reference systems established by the European standardisation bodies; or

(vi)when none of the above exist, national standards, national technical approvals or national technical specifications relating to the design, calculation and execution of the works and use of the supplies,

but each reference must be accompanied by the words ‘or equivalent’;

(c)in terms of performance or functional requirements as referred to in sub-paragraph (a), with reference to the technical specifications referred to in sub-paragraph (b) as a means of presuming conformity with such performance or functional requirements; or

(d)by reference to the technical specifications referred to in sub-paragraph (b) for certain characteristics and by reference to the performance or functional requirements referred to in sub-paragraph (a) for other characteristics.

(11) Subject to paragraph (12), technical specifications must not, with the effect of favouring or eliminating certain undertakings or certain products, refer to—

(a)a specific make or source;

(b)a particular process which characterises the products or services provided by a specific economic operator; or

(c)trade marks, patents, types, or a specific origin or production.

(12) Reference of a kind referred to in paragraph (11) is permitted in any of the following circumstances—

(a)where justified by the subject-matter of the contract;

(b)on an exceptional basis, where a sufficiently precise and intelligible description of the subject-matter of the contract pursuant to paragraph (10) is not possible, in which case the reference must be accompanied by the words “or equivalent”.

(13) Where a utility formulates technical specifications in terms of performance or functional requirements in accordance with paragraph (10)(a), it must not reject a tender for works, supplies or services which complies with a technical specification of a kind mentioned in paragraph (10)(b)(i) to (v), where those specifications address the performance or functional requirements which it has laid down.

(14) Where a utility formulates technical specifications in accordance with paragraph (10)(b), it must not reject a tender on the grounds that the works, supplies or services tendered for do not comply with the technical specifications to which it has referred, where the tenderer proves in its tender by any appropriate means, including the means of proof referred to in regulation 60 (test reports, certificates and other means of proof), that the solution proposed satisfies in an equivalent manner the requirements defined by the technical specifications.

(15) In its tender, the tenderer must prove by any appropriate means, including those referred to in regulation 60 (test reports, certificates and other means of proof), that the works, supply or service in compliance with the standard meets the performance or functional requirements of the utility.

Labels

59.—(1) Where a utility intends to purchase works, supplies or services with specific environmental, social or other characteristics the utility may, in the technical specifications, the award criteria or the contract performance conditions, require a specific label as means of proof that the works, supplies or services correspond to the required characteristics, provided that all of the following conditions are fulfilled—

(a)the label requirements only concern criteria which are linked to the subject-matter of the contract and are appropriate to define characteristics of the works, supplies or services;

(b)the label requirements are based on objectively verifiable and non-discriminatory criteria;

(c)the label is established in an open and transparent procedure in which all relevant stakeholders, including government bodies, consumers, social partners, manufacturers, distributors and non-governmental organisations, may participate;

(d)the label is accessible to all interested parties; and

(e)the label requirements are set by a third party over whom the economic operator applying for the label cannot exercise a decisive influence.

(2) Where a utility does not require the works, supplies or services to meet all of the label requirements, the utility must indicate which label requirements are required.

(3) A utility requiring a specific label must accept all labels that confirm that the works, supplies or services meet equivalent label requirements.

(4) Where an economic operator had demonstrably no possibility of obtaining the specific label indicated by the utility, or an equivalent label, within the relevant time limits for reasons that are not attributable to that economic operator, the utility must accept other appropriate means of proof, which may include a technical dossier from the manufacturer, provided that the economic operator concerned proves that the works, supplies or services to be provided by it fulfil the requirements of the specific label or the specific requirements indicated by the utility.

(5) Where a label fulfils the conditions mentioned in paragraph (1)(b) to (e) but also sets out requirements not linked to the subject-matter of the contract, a utility must not require the label but may define the technical specification by reference to those of the detailed specifications of that label or, parts of it where necessary, that are linked to the subject-matter of the contract and are appropriate to define characteristics of that subject-matter.

Test reports, certificates and other means of proof

60.—(1) A utility may require an economic operator to provide a test report from a conformity assessment body or a certificate issued by such a body as means of proof of conformity with requirements or criteria set out in the technical specifications, the award criteria or the contract performance conditions.

(2) Where a utility requires the submission of certificates drawn up by a specific conformity assessment body, certificates from other equivalent conformity assessment bodies must also be accepted by the utility.

(3) In paragraphs (1) and (2), “conformity assessment body” means a body that performs conformity assessment activities including calibration, testing, certification and inspection accredited in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council setting out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance relating to the marketing of products and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 339/93 (2).

(4) Where the economic operator concerned has no access to the certificates or test reports referred to in paragraphs (1) and (2), or no possibility of obtaining them within the relevant time limits, a utility must accept appropriate means of proof other than those referred to in paragraphs (1) and (2), such as a technical dossier of the manufacturer, provided that—

(a)the lack of access is not attributable to the economic operator concerned; and

(b)the means of proof provided by the economic operator concerned proves that the works, supplies or services provided by it meet the requirements or criteria set out in the technical specifications, the award criteria or the contract performance conditions.

Communication of technical specifications

61.—(1) On request from an economic operator interested in obtaining a contract, a utility must make available—

(a)the technical specifications regularly referred to in their works, supplies or services contracts; or

(b)the technical specifications which they intend to apply to contracts for which the call for competition is a periodic indicative notice.

(2) Subject to paragraph (3), the technical specifications referred to in paragraph (1) must be made available by electronic means of communication through unrestricted and full direct access free of charge.

(3) Technical specifications must be transmitted by means other than electronic means where unrestricted and full direct access free of charge by electronic means to certain procurement documents cannot be offered—

(a)for one of the reasons set out in regulations 38(3) or (5) (rules applicable to communication); or

(b)because the utility intends to apply regulation 37(3) (confidentiality).

(4) Where the technical specifications are based on documents available by electronic means through unrestricted and full direct access free of charge to interested economic operators, the inclusion of a reference to those documents must be sufficient.

Variants

62.—(1) A utility may authorise or require tenderers to submit variants which meet the minimum requirements laid down by the utility.

(2) A utility must indicate in the procurement documents whether or not they authorise or require variants.

(3) A utility authorising or requiring variants must state in the procurement documents the minimum requirements to be met by the variants and any specific requirements for their presentation, in particular whether variants may be submitted only where the economic operator also submits a tender which is not a variant.

(4) A utility must not take into consideration a variant which—

(a)has not been authorised or required;

(b)is not linked to the subject matter of the contract; or

(c)does not meet the minimum requirements laid down by the utility.

(5) A utility must ensure that the award criteria can be applied to variants meeting those minimum requirements as well as to tenders which are not variants.

(6) In a procedure for awarding a supply contract or service contract, a utility that has authorised or required variants must not reject a variant on the sole ground that it would, where successful, lead to either a service contract rather than a supply contract or a supply contract rather than a service contract.

Division of contracts into lots

63.—(1) A utility may decide to award a contract in the form of separate lots and may determine the size and subject-matter of such lots.

(2) Where a utility decides to award a contract in the form of separate lots it must indicate in the contract notice, in the invitation to confirm interest, or, where the means of a call for competition is a notice on the existence of a qualification system, in the invitation to tender or negotiate, whether tenders may be submitted for one, for several or for all of the lots.

(3) A utility may, even where tenders may be submitted for several or all lots, limit the number of lots that may be awarded to one tenderer, provided that the maximum number of lots per tenderer is stated in the contract notice or in the invitation to confirm interest, to tender or to negotiate.

(4) A utility must indicate in the procurement documents the objective and non‑discriminatory criteria or rules it intends to apply for determining which lots will be awarded where the application of the award criteria would result in one tenderer being awarded more lots than the maximum number.

(5) Where more than one lot may be awarded to the same tenderer, a utility may award contracts combining several or all lots where the utility has—

(a)specified in the contract notice or in the invitation to confirm interest, to tender or to negotiate that it reserves the possibility of doing so; and

(b)indicated the lots or groups of lots that may be combined.

Setting time limits

64.—(1) When fixing the time limits for the receipt of tenders and requests to participate, a utility must take account of the complexity of the contract and the time required for drawing up tenders, without prejudice to the minimum time limits set out in regulations 43 to 47.

(2) Where tenders can be made only after a visit to the site or after on-the-spot inspection of the documents supporting the procurement documents, the time limits for the receipt of tenders, which shall be longer than the minimum time limits set out in regulations 43 to 47, must be fixed so that all economic operators concerned may be aware of all the information needed to produce tenders.

(3) A utility must extend the time limits for the receipt of tenders, so that all economic operators concerned may be aware of all the information needed to produce tenders, where—

(a)for whatever reason, additional information, although requested by the economic operator in good time, is not supplied at the latest 6 days before the time limit fixed for the receipt of tenders; or

(b)significant changes are made to the procurement documents.

(4) In the case of an accelerated open procedure, the period mentioned in paragraph (3)(a) shall be 4 days.

(5) The length of the extension given pursuant to paragraph (3) must be proportionate to the importance of the information or change.

(6) A utility is not required to extend the time limit where—

(a)additional information has not been requested in good time; or

(b)the additional information requested is of insignificant importance with a view to preparing responsive tenders.

SECTION 2Publication and transparency

Periodic indicative notices

65.—(1) A utility may make known its intentions of a planned procurement through the publication of a periodic indicative notice.

(2) A periodic indicative notice must contain the information set out in section I of Part A of Annex VI to the Utilities Contracts Directive.

(3) A utility wishing to publish a periodic indicative notice must—

(a)send it for publication in accordance with regulation 69 (form and manner of sending notices for publication at EU level); or

(b)publish it on the utility’s buyer profile in accordance with regulation 70 (publication at national level).

(4) Where the utility intends to publish the periodic indicative notice on its buyer profile, the utility must send for publication, in accordance with regulation 69 (form and manner of sending notices for publication at EU level), a notice of the publication on its buyer profile.

(5) The notice of publication referred to in paragraph (4) must contain the information set out in Part B of Annex VI to the Utilities Contracts Directive.

(6) Where a utility uses a periodic indicative notice as a call for competition in respect of either a restricted procedure or a negotiated procedure with prior call for competition, the notice must—

(a)refer specifically to the works, supplies or services that will be the subject of the contract to be awarded;

(b)indicate that the contract will be awarded by restricted procedure or negotiated procedure without further publication of a call for competition and invite interested economic operators to express their interest;

(c)contain, in addition to the information set out in section I of Part A of Annex VI to the Utilities Contracts Directive, the information set out in section II of that Part; and

(d)have been sent for publication in accordance with regulation 69 (form and manner of sending notices for publication at EU level) between 35 days and 12 months prior to the date on which an invitation to confirm interest is sent for the purposes of regulation 72(3) (invitations to candidates).

(7) In addition to sending a periodic indicative notice used for the purpose mentioned in paragraph (6) for publication in accordance with regulation 69 (form and manner of sending notices for publication at EU level), a utility may publish such a notice on its buyer profile in accordance with regulation 70 (publication at national level).

(8) Subject to paragraph (9), the period covered by a periodic indicative notice must be a maximum of 12 months from the date on which the notice is sent for publication.

(9) In the case of a contract for social and other specific services referred to in Schedule 2 (social and other specific services), a periodic indicative notice referred to in regulation 89(1)(b) (publication of notices) may cover a period which is longer than 12 months from the date on which the notice is sent for publication.

Notices on the existence of a qualification system

66.—(1) This regulation applies where a utility chooses to set up a qualification system in accordance with regulation 75 (qualification systems).

(2) The qualification system must be the subject of a notice which includes the information set out in Annex X to the Utilities Contracts Directive, indicating the purpose of the qualification system and how to have access to the rules concerning its operation.

(3) The utility must—

(a)indicate the period of validity of the qualification system in the notice on the existence of the system; and

(b)notify the EU Publications Office of any change in the period of validity.

(4) The notification in paragraph (3)(b) must be made by using the following standard forms—

(a)where the period of validity is changed without terminating the system, the form for notices on the existence of qualification systems; and

(b)where the system is terminated, a contract award notice referred to in regulation 68 (contract award notices).

Contract notices

67.  A contract notice must contain the information set out in the relevant part of Annex XI to the Utilities Contracts Directive and must be sent for publication in accordance with regulation 69 (form and manner of sending notices for publication at EU level).

Contract award notices

68.—(1) Not later than 30 days after the award of a contract or conclusion of a framework agreement, a utility must send for publication in accordance with regulation 69 (form and manner of sending notices for publication at EU level) a contract award notice on the results of the procurement.

(2) A contract award notice must contain the information set out in Annex XII to the Utilities Contracts Directive.

(3) Where the call for competition for the contract concerned has been made in the form of a periodic indicative notice and the utility has decided that it will not award further contracts during the period covered by the periodic indicative notice, the contract award notice must contain a specific indication to that effect.

(4) In accordance with paragraph (5), a utility must send for publication a contract award notice in respect of the award of a supply, service or works contract based on a framework agreement if the estimated value of the contract under the framework is equal to or greater than the threshold referred to in regulation 15(1) (thresholds) applicable to that type of contract.

(5) The utility must send such notices for publication in accordance with regulation 69 (form and manner of sending notices for publication at EU level) on a quarterly basis, within 30 days of the end of each quarter.

(6) In the case of the award of a contract based upon a dynamic purchasing system, a utility must either—

(a)send for publication in accordance with regulation 69 (form and manner of sending notices for publication at EU level) a contract award notice within 30 days after the award of each such contract; or

(b)group notices referred to in sub-paragraph (a) on a quarterly basis, in which case the utility must send for publication in accordance with regulation 69 (form and manner of sending notices for publication at EU level) the grouped notices within 30 days of the end of each quarter.

(7) A utility may withhold from publication information on the contract award or the conclusion of the framework agreement where the release of the information—

(a)would impede law enforcement or otherwise be contrary to the public interest;

(b)would prejudice the commercial interests of any person; or

(c)might prejudice fair competition between economic operators.

(8) In the case of contracts for research and development services, the information in paragraph (2) concerning the nature and quantity of the services may be limited to—

(a)where the contract has been awarded by a negotiated procedure without a call for competition in accordance with regulation 48(1)(b) (use of the negotiated procedure without prior call for competition), the indication “R & D Services”; and

(b)where the contract has been awarded by a procedure with a call for competition, information at least as detailed as was indicated in the notice that was used as a means of calling for competition.

Form and manner of sending notices for publication at EU level

69.—(1) The notices required by regulations 65 to 68 to be sent for publication in accordance with this regulation must—

(a)be sent by electronic means to the EU Publications Office for publication; and

(b)where the Commission has published standard forms for such notices, be set out using such forms.

(2) A utility must ensure that it is able to supply proof of the dates on which notices are sent to the EU Publications Office for publication.

(3) Where the EU Publications Office has given the utility confirmation of the receipt of the notice and of the publication of the information sent, indicating the date of that publication, that confirmation shall constitute proof of publication.

(4) A utility may send notices in respect of works, supply or service contracts to the EU Publications Office for publication even where the utility is not required to do so by these Regulations, provided such notices are sent by electronic means.

Publication at national level

70.—(1) In addition to the publication of the notices referred to in regulations 65 to 68 by the EU Publications Office, a utility may publish the information contained in such notices on the internet on a buyer profile.

(2) A buyer profile may also include—

(a)periodic indicative notices which are published on it pursuant to regulation 65(3)(b) (periodic indicative notices);

(b)information on on-going invitations to tender, scheduled purchases, contracts concluded, procedures cancelled; and

(c)any useful general information, such as a contact point, telephone and fax number, postal address and e-mail address.

(3) The notices referred to in regulations 65 to 68, and the information contained in them, must not be published at national level before the notices are published by the EU Publications Office.

(4) Notwithstanding paragraph (3), publication may take place at national level where a utility has not been notified of the publication by the EU Publications Office within 48 hours after confirmation of the receipt of the notice in accordance with Article 71(5) of the Utilities Contracts Directive.

(5) A notice published at national level must not contain information other than that contained in the notice sent to the EU Publications Office or published on a buyer profile, but must indicate the date of sending of the notice to the EU Publications Office or its publication on the buyer profile.

(6) Where a periodic indicative notice is to be published on a buyer profile—

(a)the periodic indicative notice may not be so published before the utility sends to the EU Publications Office the notice referred to in regulation 65(4) (periodic indicative notices); and

(b)the periodic indicative notice must indicate the date of that sending.

Electronic availability of procurement documents

71.—(1) Subject to paragraph (2), a utility must offer on the internet unrestricted and full direct access free of charge to the procurement documents from the date of publication of a notice in accordance with regulation 69 (form and manner of sending notices for publication at EU level) or the date on which an invitation to confirm interest was sent.

(2) Where the means of calling for competition is a notice on the existence of a qualification system, the access referred to in paragraph (1) must be offered as soon as possible and at the latest when the invitation to tender or to negotiate is sent.

(3) The text of the notice or the invitation must specify the internet address at which the procurement documents are accessible.

(4) Where unrestricted and full direct access free of charge by electronic means to certain procurement documents cannot be offered for one of the reasons set out in regulation 38(3) (rules applicable to communication), a utility may indicate in the notice or the invitation to confirm interest that the procurement documents concerned will be transmitted by means other than electronic means in accordance with the periods mentioned in paragraphs (7) and (8).

(5) Where unrestricted and full direct access free of charge by electronic means to certain procurement documents cannot be offered because a utility intends to apply regulation 37(3) (confidentiality), the utility must indicate, in one of the following, which measures, aimed at protecting the confidential nature of the information, the utility requires and how access can be obtained to the documents—

(a)the notice;

(b)the invitation to confirm interest; or

(c)where the means of calling for competition is a notice on the existence of a qualification system, the procurement documents.

(6) Where paragraph (4) or (5) applies, the time limit for the submission of tenders must be extended by 5 days, except—

(a)in a case of duly substantiated urgency referred to in regulation 43(5) (open procedure); or

(b)where the time limit is set by mutual agreement in accordance with regulation 44(6) (restricted procedure) or 45(6) (negotiated procedure with prior call for competition).

(7) Provided that it has been requested in good time, a utility must supply to all tenderers taking part in the procurement additional information relating to the specifications and any supporting documents, not later than 6 days before the time limit fixed for the receipt of tenders.

(8) In the case of an accelerated open procedure, the period mentioned in paragraph (7) shall not be later than 4 days before the time limit fixed for the receipt of tenders.

Invitations to candidates

72.—(1) In a restricted procedure, a competitive dialogue procedure, an innovation partnership and a negotiated procedure with prior call for competition, an invitation by a utility to selected candidates or to participants to submit a tender must be issued simultaneously and in writing.

(2) In a competitive dialogue procedure, an innovation partnership and a negotiated procedure with or without prior call for competition, an invitation by a utility to selected candidates to participate must be issued simultaneously and in writing.

(3) Where the call for competition is made by means of a periodic indicative notice, as referred to in regulation 42(5)(a) (choice of procedures), the utility must, simultaneously and in writing, invite all economic operators which have expressed their interest following the publication of the periodic indicative notice to confirm their interest in writing.

(4) The invitations required by paragraphs (1) to (3) must—

(a)include a reference to the electronic address at which the procurement documents have been made directly available by electronic means; or

(b)be accompanied by the procurement documents, where those documents have not been the subject of unrestricted and full direct access, free of charge, for the reasons referred to in regulation 71(4) or (5) (electronic availability of procurement documents) and have not already been made otherwise available.

(5) The invitations required by paragraphs (1) and (2) must also contain at least the following information—

(a)where tenders are to be submitted, the deadline for the receipt of the tenders, the address to which the tenders must be sent and the language or languages in which the tenders must be drawn up;

(b)in the case of competitive dialogue, the date and the address set for the start of consultation and the language or languages to be used;

(c)a reference to the call for competition published;

(d)an indication of any documents to be attached;

(e)the criteria for the award of the contract, where they are not indicated in the notice on the existence of a qualification system used as a means of calling for competition;

(f)the relative weighting of criteria for the award of the contract or, where appropriate, the order of importance of such criteria, where they are not given in the contract notice, the notice on the existence of a qualification system or the specifications.

(6) An invitation to confirm interest referred to in paragraph (3) must also contain at least the following information—

(a)the nature and quantity, including all options concerning complementary contracts and, if possible, the estimated time available for exercising such options for renewable contracts, the nature and quantity and, if possible, the estimated publication dates of future notices of competition for works, supplies or services to be put out to tender;

(b)the type of procedure, namely restricted or negotiated procedure;

(c)where applicable, the date on which the delivery of supplies or the execution of works or services is to commence or terminate;

(d)where electronic access cannot be offered, the address and closing date for the submission of requests for procurement documents and the languages in which they are to be drawn up;

(e)the address of the utility;

(f)economic and technical conditions, financial guarantees and information required from economic operators;

(g)the form of the contract which is the subject of the invitation to tender, namely purchase, lease, hire or hire-purchase, or any combination of these; and

(h)the contract award criteria and their relative weighting or, where appropriate, the order of importance of such criteria, if this information is not given in the periodic indicative notice or the specifications or in the invitation to tender or to negotiate.

Informing applicants for qualification, candidates and tenderers

73.—(1) A utility must as soon as possible after reaching a decision concerning the award of a contract, the conclusion of a framework agreement or admittance to a dynamic purchasing system, inform each candidate and tenderer of the decision reached.

(2) Information provided in accordance with paragraph (1) must, where applicable, include the grounds for any decision—

(a)not to conclude a framework agreement;

(b)not to award a contract for which there has been a call for competition;

(c)to recommence the procedure; or

(d)not to implement a dynamic purchasing system.

(3) On request from the candidate or tenderer concerned, the utility must as soon as possible, and in any event within 15 days from receipt of a written request, inform—

(a)any unsuccessful candidate of the reasons for the rejection of its request to participate;

(b)any unsuccessful tenderer of the reasons for the rejection of its tender, including, for the cases referred to in regulation 58(13) and (14) (technical specifications), the reasons for its decision of non-equivalence or its decision that the works, supplies or services do not meet the performance or functional requirements;

(c)any tenderer that has made an admissible tender of the characteristics and relative advantages of the tender selected as well as the name of the successful tenderer or the parties to the framework agreement; and

(d)any tenderer that has made an admissible tender of the conduct and progress of negotiations and dialogue with tenderers.

(4) A utility may decide to withhold certain information referred to in paragraphs (2) and (3), where the release of such information—

(a)would impede law enforcement or otherwise be contrary to the public interest;

(b)would prejudice the commercial interests of any person; or

(c)might prejudice fair competition between economic operators.

(5) A utility which establishes and operates a system of qualification must—

(a)inform applicants of its decision as to qualification within a period of 6 months;

(b)if the decision as to qualification will take longer than 4 months from the presentation of an application, inform the applicant within 2 months of the application of—

(i)the reasons justifying the longer period; and

(ii)the date by which the application will be accepted or refused;

(c)inform applicants whose qualification is refused of the refusal decision and the reasons for that decision as soon as possible and no more than 15 days after the date of the refusal decision.

(6) A utility which establishes and operates a system of qualification must—

(a)base its reasons for decisions as to qualification on the criteria for qualification referred to in regulation 75(3) to (5) (qualification systems); and

(b)only bring the qualification of an economic operator to an end for reasons based on the criteria for qualification referred to in regulation 75(3) to (5) (qualification systems).

(7) Any intention to bring the qualification of an economic operator to an end must be notified in writing to the economic operator at least 15 days before the date on which the qualification is due to end, together with the reasons justifying the proposed action.

SECTION 3Choice of participants and award of contracts

General principles

74.—(1) For the purpose of selecting participants in their procurement, a utility—

(a)which has provided rules and criteria for the exclusion of tenderers or candidates in accordance with regulations 76(1) (criteria for qualitative selection) or 78 (use of exclusion grounds and selection criteria provided for under the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations), must exclude economic operators identified in accordance with such rules and fulfilling such criteria;

(b)must select tenderers and candidates in accordance with the objective rules and criteria mentioned in regulations 76 (criteria for qualitative selection) and 78 (use of exclusion grounds and selection criteria provided for under the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations);

(c)must, where appropriate and in accordance with regulation 76(2) and (3) (criteria for qualitative selection), reduce the number of candidates selected in accordance with sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) in—

(i)restricted procedures;

(ii)negotiated procedures with a call for competition;

(iii)competitive dialogues; and

(iv)innovation partnerships.

(2) When a call for competition is made by means of a notice on the existence of a qualification system and for the purpose of selecting participants in a procurement for the specific contracts which are the subject of the call for competition, a utility must—

(a)qualify economic operators in accordance with regulation 75 (qualification systems);

(b)apply to such qualified economic operators those provisions of paragraph (1) that are relevant to restricted or negotiated procedures, to competitive dialogues or to innovation partnerships.

(3) When selecting participants for a restricted or negotiated procedure, a competitive dialogue or an innovation partnership, in reaching its decision as to qualification or when the criteria and rules are being updated, a utility must not—

(a)impose administrative, technical or financial conditions on certain economic operators which would not be imposed on others;

(b)require tests or evidence which would duplicate objective evidence already available.

(4) Where information or documentation to be submitted by an economic operator is or appears to be incomplete or erroneous, or where specific documents are missing, a utility may request the economic operator concerned to submit, supplement, clarify or complete the relevant information or documentation within an appropriate time limit, provided that such requests are made in full compliance with the principles of equal treatment and transparency.

(5) A utility must verify that the tenders submitted by the selected tenderers comply with the rules and requirements applicable to tenders and award the contract on the basis of the criteria laid down in regulations 80 (contract award criteria) and 82 (abnormally low tenders), taking into account regulation 62 (variants).

(6) A utility may decide not to award a contract to, or conclude a framework agreement with, the tenderer submitting the most economically advantageous tender where the utility has established that the tender does not comply with applicable obligations in the fields of environmental, social and employment law established by EU law, national law, collective agreements or by the international environmental, social and employment law provisions listed in Annex XIV to the Utilities Contracts Directive as amended from time to time.

(7) In open procedures, a utility may decide to examine tenders before verifying the suitability of tenderers, provided that the relevant provisions of regulations 74 to 82 are observed.

SUB-SECTION 1Qualification and qualitative selection
Qualification systems

75.—(1) A utility may establish and operate a system of qualification of economic operators.

(2) A utility which establishes or operates a system of qualification must ensure that economic operators are at all times able to request qualification.

(3) The system under paragraph (1) may involve different qualification stages.

(4) A utility must establish objective rules and criteria for—

(a)the exclusion and selection of economic operators requesting qualification; and

(b)the operation of the qualification system, covering matters such as—

(i)inscription in the system;

(ii)periodic updating of the qualifications, if any; and

(iii)the duration of the system.

(5) Where the rules and criteria referred to in paragraph (4) include technical specifications, regulations 58 to 60 apply.

(6) The rules and criteria referred to in paragraph (4)—

(a)must be made available to economic operators upon request; and

(b)may be updated as required and, if so, must be communicated to interested economic operators.

(7) Where a utility considers that the qualification system of certain other entities or other bodies meets its requirements, it must communicate the names of those entities and bodies to interested economic operators.

(8) A utility must keep a written record of qualified economic operators, which may be divided into categories according to type of contract for which the qualification is valid.

(9) When a call for competition is made by means of a notice on the existence of a qualification system, specific contracts for the works, supplies or services covered by the qualification system must be awarded by restricted or negotiated procedure, competitive dialogue or innovation partnership as modified so that all tenderers and participants are selected among the candidates already qualified in accordance with such a system without being required to submit further information for qualitative selection or to submit a request to participate.

(10) Any charges that are billed to an economic operator by a utility in connection with requests for qualification or with updating or conserving an already obtained qualification in accordance with the system must be proportionate to the generated costs.

Criteria for qualitative selection

76.—(1) A utility—

(a)may establish objective rules and criteria for the exclusion and selection of tenderers or candidates; and

(b)if so, must make those rules and criteria available to interested economic operators.

(2) Subject to paragraph (3), where a utility needs to ensure an appropriate balance between the particular characteristics of the procurement and the resources required to conduct it, it may, in restricted procedures, negotiated procedures, competitive dialogues or innovation partnerships, establish objective rules and criteria that reflect that need and enable the utility to reduce the number of candidates that will be invited to tender or to negotiate.

(3) A utility must take account of the need to ensure adequate competition when selecting the number of candidates.

Reliance on the capacities of other entities

77.—(1) This regulation applies where there are objective rules and criteria for the exclusion and selection of—

(a)economic operators requesting qualification in a qualification system; or

(b)candidates and tenderers in open, restricted or negotiated procedures, competitive dialogues or innovation partnerships.

(2) Where the objective rules and criteria for the exclusion and selection of those referred to in paragraph (1) include requirements relating to the economic operator’s economic and financial capacity or technical and professional abilities, an economic operator may, where necessary rely upon the capacities of other entities, regardless of the legal nature of the links which it has with them.

(3) With regard to criteria relating to the educational and professional qualifications of the service provider or contractor or those of the undertaking’s managerial staff or to relevant professional experience, economic operators may only rely upon the capacities of other entities where the latter will perform the works or services for which these capacities are required.

(4) Where an economic operator wants to rely upon the capacities of other entities, it must prove to the utility that the necessary resources will be available to it, for example by producing a commitment by those entities to that effect.

(5) For the purposes of paragraph (4), an economic operator requesting qualification in a qualification system must prove that the necessary resources will be available to it throughout the period of the qualification system.

(6) Where, in accordance with regulation 78 (use of exclusion grounds and selection criteria provided for under the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations), a utility has referred to exclusion or selection criteria provided for under the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations, the utility must verify, in accordance with the provisions applied by regulation 78(4)—

(a)whether the other entities upon whose capacity the economic operator intends to rely fulfil the relevant selection criteria; or

(b)whether there are grounds for exclusion, to which the utility has referred, under regulation 58 of the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations.

(7) The utility—

(a)must require the economic operator to replace an entity which does not meet a relevant selection criterion or in respect of which there are compulsory grounds for exclusion; and

(b)may require the economic operator to substitute an entity in respect of which there are non-compulsory grounds for exclusion.

(8) Where an economic operator relies upon the capacities of other entities with regard to criteria relating to economic and financial standing, the utility may require the economic operator and those entities to be jointly liable for the performance of the contract.

(9) A group of economic operators as referred to in regulation 35(4) (economic operators) may rely upon the capacities of participants in the group or of other entities, and paragraphs (1) to (8) apply in relation to such a group in the same way that they apply in relation to an economic operator.

(10) In the case of works contracts, supply contracts requiring siting or installation work and services contracts, a utility may require certain critical tasks to be performed directly by the tenderer itself or, where the tender is submitted by a group of economic operators as referred to in regulation 35(4) (economic operators), by a participant in that group.

Use of exclusion grounds and selection criteria provided for under the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations

78.—(1) This regulation applies to objective rules and criteria for the exclusion and selection of—

(a)economic operators requesting qualification in a qualification system; and

(b)candidates and tenderers in open, restricted or negotiated procedures, competitive dialogues or innovation partnerships.

(2) The objective rules and criteria may include—

(a)the exclusion grounds referred to in regulation 58 of the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations on the terms set out in that regulation;

(b)the selection criteria listed in regulation 59 of the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations on the terms set out in that regulation, including as regards the limits to requirements concerning yearly turnovers as provided for under regulation 59(9) and (10) of those Regulations.

(3) Where the utility is a contracting authority, the criteria and rules referred to in paragraph (1) must include the exclusion grounds listed in regulation 58(1) to (3) of the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations on the terms set out in that regulation.

(4) For the purposes of applying paragraphs (1) to (3), regulations 60 to 62 of the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations apply.

(5) For the purposes of paragraphs (2) and (4), any reference to a contracting authority in regulations 58 to 62 of the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations must be read as a reference to a utility.

Quality assurance standards and environmental management standards

79.—(1) A utility must, where it requires the production of certificates drawn up by independent bodies attesting that the economic operator complies with certain quality assurance standards, including on accessibility for disabled persons, refer to quality assurance systems based on the relevant European standards series certified by accredited bodies.

(2) A utility must recognise equivalent certificates from bodies established in other member States.

(3) A utility must also accept other evidence of equivalent quality assurance measures where the economic operator concerned had no possibility of obtaining such certificates within the relevant time limits for reasons that are not attributable to that economic operator, provided that the economic operator proves that the proposed quality assurance measures comply with the required quality assurance standards.

(4) Where a utility requires the production of certificates drawn up by independent bodies attesting that the economic operator complies with certain environmental management systems or standards, the utility must refer to the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme of the EU—

(a)referred to in Regulation (EC) No 1221/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the voluntary participation by organisations in a Community eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS), repealing Regulation (EC) No 761/2001 and Commission Decisions 2001/681/EC and 2006/193/EC(3);

(b)other environmental management systems as recognised in accordance with Article 45 of that Regulation; or

(c)other environmental management standards based on the relevant European or international standards by accredited bodies,

and must recognise equivalent certificates from bodies established in other member States.

(5) Where an economic operator had demonstrably no access to such certificates referred to in paragraph (4) or no possibility of obtaining them within the relevant time limits for reasons that are not attributable to that economic operator, the utility must accept other evidence of environmental management measures, provided that the economic operator proves that these measures are equivalent to those required under the applicable environmental management system or standard.

SUB-SECTION 2Award of the Contract
Contract award criteria

80.—(1) A utility must base the award of contracts on the most economically advantageous tender assessed from the point of view of the utility.

(2) Where the utility is a person mentioned in regulation 4(1)(a) (utilities) it must not use price only or cost only as the sole award criteria.

(3) A utility must identify the most economically advantageous tender on the basis of the price or cost using a cost-effectiveness approach (such as life-cycle costing in accordance with regulation 81 (life-cycle costing)) and may include the best price-quality ratio which must be assessed on the basis of criteria linked to the subject-matter of the contract in question.

(4) Criteria referred to in paragraph (3) may comprise or include—

(a)quality, including technical merit, aesthetic and functional characteristics, accessibility, design for all users, social, environmental and innovative characteristics and trading and its conditions;

(b)organisation, qualification and experience of staff assigned to performing the contract, where the quality of the staff assigned can have a significant impact on the level of performance of the contract; and

(c)after-sales service and technical assistance, delivery conditions such as delivery date, delivery process and delivery period or period of completion and commitments with regard to parts and security of supply.

(5) The cost element may also take the form of a fixed price or cost on the basis of which economic operators will compete on quality criteria only.

(6) Award criteria must be considered to be linked to the subject-matter of the contract where they relate to the works, supplies or services to be provided under that contract in any respect and at any stage of their life cycle, including factors involved in—

(a)the specific process of production, provision or trading of those works, supplies or services; or

(b)a specific process for another stage of their life cycle,

even where such factors do not form part of their material substance.

(7) Award criteria must—

(a)not have the effect of conferring an unrestricted freedom of choice upon the utility;

(b)ensure the possibility of effective competition; and

(c)be accompanied by specifications that allow the information provided by the tenderers to be effectively verified in order to assess how well the tenders meet the award criteria.

(8) In case of doubt, the utility must verify effectively the accuracy of the information and proof provided by the tenderers.

(9) The utility must specify, in the procurement documents, the relative weighting which it gives to each of the criteria chosen to determine the most economically advantageous tender.

(10) The weightings referred to in paragraph (9) may be expressed by providing for a range with an appropriate maximum spread.

(11) Where weighting is not possible for objective reasons, the utility must indicate the criteria in descending order of importance.

Life-cycle costing

81.—(1) Life-cycle costing must, to the extent relevant, cover part or all of the following costs over the life cycle of a product, service or works—

(a)costs, borne by the utility or other users, such as—

(i)costs relating to acquisition;

(ii)costs of use, such as consumption of energy and other resources;

(iii)maintenance costs;

(iv)end of life costs, such as collection and recycling costs; and

(b)costs imputed to environmental externalities linked to the works, product or service during its life cycle, provided their monetary value can be determined and verified.

(2) The costs mentioned in paragraph (1)(b) may include the cost of emissions of greenhouse gases and of other pollutant emissions and other climate change mitigation costs.

(3) The method used for the assessment of costs imputed to environmental externalities must fulfil all of the following conditions—

(a)it is based on objectively verifiable and non-discriminatory criteria and, in particular, where it has not been established for repeated or continuous application, it must not unduly favour or disadvantage certain economic operators;

(b)it is accessible to all interested parties;

(c)the data required can be provided with reasonable effort by normally diligent economic operators, including economic operators from third countries party to the GPA or other international agreements by which the EU is bound.

(4) Where a utility assesses costs using a life-cycle costing approach, the utility must indicate in the procurement documents—

(a)the data to be provided by the tenderers; and

(b)the method which the utility will use to determine the life-cycle costs on the basis of those data.

(5) Whenever a common method for the calculation of life-cycle costs has been made mandatory by a legislative act of the EU, that common method must be applied for the assessment of life-cycle costs.

(6) Legislative acts referred to in paragraph (5) include those set out in Annex XV to the Utilities Contracts Directive as amended from time to time.

Abnormally low tenders

82.—(1) A utility must require a tenderer to explain the price or costs proposed in the tender where the tender appears to be abnormally low in relation to the works, supplies or services.

(2) The explanations given in accordance with paragraph (1) may, in particular, relate to—

(a)the economics of the manufacturing process, of the services provided or of the construction method;

(b)the technical solutions chosen or any exceptionally favourable conditions available to the tenderer for the execution of the works or for the supply of the products or services;

(c)the originality of the works, supplies or services proposed by the tenderer;

(d)compliance with obligations referred to in regulation 34(4) (principles of procurement);

(e)compliance with obligations referred to in regulation 85 (subcontracting);

(f)the possibility of the tenderer obtaining State aid.

(3) The utility must assess the information provided by consulting the tenderer.

(4) The utility may only reject the tender where the explanations given and any evidence supplied do not satisfactorily account for the low level of price or costs proposed, taking into account the elements referred to in paragraph (2).

(5) The utility must reject the tender where the utility has established that the tender is abnormally low because it does not comply with applicable obligations referred to in regulation 34(4) (principles of procurement).

(6) Where the utility establishes that a tender is abnormally low because the tenderer has obtained State aid, the tender may be rejected on that ground alone only—

(a)after consultation with the tenderer; and

(b)where the tenderer is unable to prove, within a sufficient time limit fixed by the utility, that the aid in question was compatible with the internal market within the meaning of Article 107 of the TFEU.

(7) Where the utility rejects a tender in the circumstances referred to in paragraph (6), it must inform the Commission.

SECTION 4Tenders comprising products originating in third countries and relations with those countries

Tenders comprising products originating in third countries

83.—(1) This regulation applies to tenders covering products originating in third countries with which the EU has not concluded, whether multilaterally or bilaterally, an agreement ensuring comparable and effective access for EU undertakings to the markets of those third countries.

(2) For the purposes of this regulation—

(a)the origin of products must be determined in accordance with Council Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 establishing the Community Customs Code(4) as amended from time to time;

(b)software used in telecommunications network equipment must be regarded as products; and

(c)those third countries to which the benefits of the Utilities Contracts Directive has been extended by an EU Council Decision, must not be taken into account by a utility for determining the proportion, referred to in paragraph (3), of products originating in third countries.

(3) A utility may reject any tender submitted for the award of a supply contract where the proportion of the products originating in third countries is greater than 50% of the total estimated value of the products constituting the tender.

(4) Subject to paragraph (5), where two or more tenders are equivalent in the light of the contract award criteria defined in accordance with regulation 80 (contract award criteria) the utility must give preference to those tenders which may not be rejected in accordance with paragraph (3).

(5) Paragraph (4) does not apply where acceptance of such tender would oblige the utility to acquire equipment having technical characteristics different from those of existing equipment, resulting in—

(a)incompatibility;

(b)technical difficulties in operation and maintenance; or

(c)disproportionate costs.

(6) For the purposes of paragraph (4), tenders must be considered equivalent if the price difference between those tenders does not exceed 3%.

CHAPTER 4CONTRACT PERFORMANCE

Conditions for performance of contracts

84.—(1) A utility may lay down special conditions relating to the performance of a contract, provided that they are—

(a)linked to the subject-matter of the contract within the meaning of regulation 80(6) (contract award criteria); and

(b)indicated in the call for competition or in the procurement documents.

(2) Such conditions may include economic, innovation-related, environmental, social or employment-related considerations.

Subcontracting

85.—(1) In the procurement documents, the utility may ask the tenderer to indicate in its tender any share of the contract that the tenderer may intend to subcontract to third parties and information about any proposed subcontractors including their name and contact details.

(2) Paragraph (1) is without prejudice to the liability of the main contractor under the contract.

(3) Where paragraph (4) applies, the utility must require the main contractor to notify it at the latest when the performance of the contract commences, of the name, contact details and legal representatives of its subcontractors, involved in such works or services, in so far as known at the time.

(4) This paragraph applies in the case of—

(a)a works contract;

(b)a services contract which includes services to be provided at a facility under the direct oversight of the utility.

(5) The utility must require the main contractor to notify the utility of—

(a)any changes to the information referred to in paragraph (3) during the course of the contract; and

(b)the name, contact details and legal representatives of any new subcontractors which the contractor subsequently involves in such works or services.

(6) Paragraphs (3) and (5) do not apply to subcontractors who provide only supplies.

(7) Where necessary for the purposes of paragraph (9), the required information must be accompanied by ESPDs in respect of the subcontractors.

(8) A utility may require a contractor to provide information of the kind referred to in paragraphs (3) and (5) in respect of any one or more of the following—

(a)supply contracts or services contracts (other than those concerning services to be provided at the facilities under the direct oversight of the utility);

(b)suppliers involved in works or services contracts;

(c)subcontractors of the main contractor’s subcontractors or other contractors further down the subcontracting chain.

(9) A utility may, in accordance with regulation 78(4) (use of exclusion grounds and selection criteria provided for under the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations), verify whether there are grounds for exclusion of subcontractors pursuant to regulation 58 of the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations.

(10) The utility must require the economic operator to replace a subcontractor in respect of which the verification has shown that there are compulsory grounds for exclusion.

(11) The utility may require the economic operator to replace a subcontractor in respect of which the verification has shown that there are non-compulsory grounds for exclusion.

Modification of contracts during their term

86.—(1) A contract and framework agreement may be modified without a new procurement—

(a)where the modifications, irrespective of their monetary value, have been provided for in the initial procurement documents in clear, precise and unequivocal review clauses, which may include price revision clauses or options, provided that such clauses—

(i)state the scope and nature of possible modifications or options as well as the conditions under which they may be used; and

(ii)do not provide for modifications or options that would alter the overall nature of the contract or framework agreement;

(b)to provide for additional works, supplies or services by the original contractor, irrespective of their value, that have become necessary and were not included in the initial procurement, where a change of contractor—

(i)cannot be made for economic or technical reasons such as requirements of interchangeability or interoperability with existing equipment, services or installations procured under the initial procurement; and

(ii)would cause significant inconvenience or substantial duplication of costs for the utility;

(c)where the need for modification has been brought about by circumstances which a diligent utility could not have foreseen and the modification does not alter the overall nature of the contract or framework agreement;

(d)where a new contractor replaces one to which the utility had initially awarded the contract or framework as a consequence of—

(i)an unequivocal review clause or option in conformity with sub-paragraph (a); or

(ii)complete or partial succession into the position of the initial contractor, following corporate restructuring, including takeover, merger, acquisition or insolvency, by another economic operator that fulfils the criteria for qualitative selection initially established, provided that this does not entail other substantial modifications to the contract or framework agreement and is not aimed at circumventing the application of this Part;

(e)where the modifications, irrespective of their value, are not substantial (as defined in paragraph (7)); or

(f)where paragraph (4) applies.

(2) A utility which has modified a contract or framework agreement in either of the cases described in paragraph (1)(b) or (c) must send a notice to that effect for publication in accordance with regulation 69 (form and manner of sending notices for publication at EU level).

(3) The notice referred to in paragraph (2) must contain the information set out in Annex XVI to the Utilities Contracts Directive.

(4) This paragraph applies where the value of the modification is below both of the following values—

(a)the relevant threshold mentioned in regulation 15 (thresholds); and

(b)10% of the initial contract value for service and supply contracts or framework agreements and 15% of the initial contract value for works contracts or framework agreements,

provided that the modification does not alter the overall nature of the contract or framework agreement.

(5) For the purposes of paragraph (4), where several successive modifications are made, the value must be the net cumulative value of the successive modifications.

(6) For the purpose of the calculation of the values mentioned in paragraph (4)(b) the updated figure shall be the reference figure when the contract or framework agreement includes an indexation clause.

(7) A modification of a contract or a framework agreement during its term must be considered substantial for the purpose of paragraph (1)(e) where one or more of the following conditions are met—

(a)the modification renders the contract or the framework agreement materially different in character from the one initially concluded;

(b)the modification introduces conditions which, had they been part of the initial procurement, would have—

(i)allowed for the admission of candidates other than those initially selected;

(ii)allowed for the acceptance of a tender other than that originally accepted; or

(iii)attracted additional participants in the procurement;

(c)the modification changes the economic balance of the contract or the framework agreement in favour of the contractor in a manner which was not provided for in the initial contract or framework agreement;

(d)the modification extends the scope of the contract or framework agreement considerably;

(e)a new contractor replaces one to which the utility had initially awarded the contract or framework agreement in cases other than those provided for in paragraph (1)(d).

(8) A new procurement in accordance with these Regulations is required for modifications of the provisions of a works, supply or service contract or a framework agreement during its term other than those provided for in this regulation.

Termination of contracts

87.—(1) A utility must ensure that every works, supply or service contract or framework which the utility awards contains provisions enabling the utility to terminate the contract or framework where—

(a)the contract or framework has been subject to a substantial modification which would have required a new procurement in accordance with regulation 86(8) (modification of contracts during their term);

(b)the contractor has, at the time of contract award, been in one of the situations referred to in regulation 58(1) of the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations, including as a result of the application of regulation 58(2) of those Regulations, and should have been excluded from the procurement as a result of the application of rules and criteria referred to in regulation 78(3) (use of exclusion grounds and selection criteria provided for under the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations) of these Regulations; or

(c)the contract or framework should not have been awarded to the contractor in view of a serious infringement of the obligations under the Treaties and the Utilities Contracts Directive that has been declared by the Court of Justice of the European Union in a procedure under Article 258 of the TFEU.

(2) Those provisions may address the basis on which the power is to be exercisable in those circumstances, for example by providing for notice of termination to be given and by addressing consequential matters that will or might arise from the termination.

(3) To the extent that a contract or framework does not contain provisions enabling the utility to terminate the contract or framework on any of the grounds mentioned in paragraph (1), a power for the utility to do so on giving notice to the contractor shall be an implied term of that contract or framework.

(1)

OJ L 210, 31.7.2006, p.19.

(2)

OJ L 218, 13.8.2008, p.30.

(3)

OJ L 342, 22.12.2009, p.1, amended by Council Regulation (EU) No 517/2013 (OJ L 158, 10.6.2013, p.1).

(4)

OJ L 302, 19.10.1992, p.1; Regulation as last amended by Council Regulation (EU) No 517/2013 of 13th May 2013 (OJ L 158, 10.6.2013, p.1.

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