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The Utilities Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2016

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Principles of awarding contracts

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90.—(1) A utility must determine the procedure that is to be applied in connection with the award of a contract or framework subject to this Chapter and may take into account—

(a)the specificities of the services in question; and

(b)the requirements and needs of users.

(2) The procedure must be at least sufficient to ensure compliance with the principles of transparency and equal treatment of economic operators.

(3) The procedure may provide for the exclusion from participation in the procurement of any economic operator in relation to which exclusion grounds referred to in regulation 58 of the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations apply on the terms set out in that regulation.

(4) Where the utility is a contracting authority, the procedure must provide for the exclusion from participation in the procurement of any economic operator in relation to which exclusion grounds referred to in regulation 58(1) to (3) of the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations apply on the terms set out in that regulation.

(5) Where, in accordance with regulation 89 (publication of notices), a contract notice or periodic indicative notice has been published in relation to a procurement, the utility must, except in the circumstances mentioned in paragraph (6), conduct that procurement, and award any resulting contract or framework, in conformity with the information contained in the notice about—

(a)conditions for participation;

(b)time limits for contacting the utility; and

(c)the award procedure to be applied.

(6) The utility may, however, conduct the procurement, and award any resulting contract or framework, in a way which is not in conformity with that information, but only if all of the following conditions are met—

(a)the failure to conform does not, in the particular circumstances, amount to a breach of the principles of transparency and equal treatment of economic operators;

(b)the utility has—

(i)after giving due consideration to the matter, concluded that sub-paragraph (a) is applicable;

(ii)documented that conclusion and the reasons for it in accordance with regulation 96(5) and (6) (reporting and documentation requirements); and

(iii)informed the participants of the respects in which the utility intends to proceed in a way which is not in accordance with the information contained in the notice.

(7) In paragraph (6)(b)(iii), “participants” means any economic operators which have responded to the notice and not been informed by the utility that they are no longer under consideration for the award of a contract within the scope of the procurement concerned.

(8) All time limits imposed upon economic operators for the purposes of this regulation, whether for responding to a contract notice or taking any other steps in the relevant procedure, must be reasonable and proportionate having regard to the nature of the requirement and the needs of service users.

(9) Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (1), a utility may apply procedures for the purposes of this regulation which correspond (with or without variations) to procedures, techniques or other features otherwise provided for in these Regulations, as well as procedures which do not.

(10) In relation to the award of contracts subject to this regulation, a utility may take into account—

(a)the need to ensure quality, continuity, accessibility, affordability, availability and comprehensiveness of the services;

(b)the specific needs of different categories of users, including disadvantaged and vulnerable groups;

(c)the involvement and empowerment of users;

(d)innovation; and

(e)any other relevant consideration.

(11) A utility which is a person mentioned in regulation 4(1)(a) (utilities) must award a contract or framework for services listed in Schedule 2 (social and other specific services) on the basis of the tender representing the best price-quality ratio, taking into account quality and sustainability criteria for such services.

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