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The Public Contracts Regulations 2015

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This is the original version (as it was originally made).

Competitive procedure with negotiation
This section has no associated Explanatory Memorandum
Starting the procedure

29.—(1) In competitive procedures with negotiation, any economic operator may submit a request to participate in response to a call for competition by providing the information for qualitative selection that is requested by the contracting authority.

(2) In the procurement documents, contracting authorities shall—

(a)identify the subject-matter of the procurement by providing a description of their needs and the characteristics required of the supplies, works or services to be procured,

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

(c)specify the contract award criteria.

(3) The information provided under paragraph (2) shall be sufficiently precise to enable economic operators to identify the nature and scope of the procurement and decide whether to request to participate in the procedure.

Time limits

(4) The minimum time limit for receipt of requests to participate shall, subject to paragraph (6), be 30 days from—

(a)the date on which the contract notice is sent, or

(b)where a prior information notice is used as a means of calling for competition, the date on which the invitation to confirm interest is sent.

(5) The minimum time limit for the receipt of initial tenders shall, subject to paragraphs (6) to (10), be 30 days from the date on which the invitation is sent.

(6) Where contracting authorities have published a prior information notice which was not itself used as a means of calling for competition, the minimum time limit for the receipt of initial tenders as laid down in paragraph (5) may be shortened to 10 days, provided that both of the following conditions are fulfilled:—

(a)the prior information notice included all the information required in section 1 of part B of Annex V to the Public Contracts Directive, insofar as that information was available at the time the prior information notice was published;

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

(7) Sub-central contracting authorities may set the time limit for the receipt of initial tenders by mutual agreement between the contracting authority and all selected candidates, provided that all selected candidates have the same time to prepare and submit their tenders.

(8) In the absence of such an agreement, the time limit shall be at least 10 days from the date on which the invitation to tender is sent.

(9) The time limit for receipt of initial tenders provided for by paragraph (5) may be reduced by 5 days where the contracting authority accepts that tenders may be submitted by electronic means in accordance with regulation 22.

(10) Where a state of urgency duly substantiated by the contracting authorities renders impracticable the time limits laid down in this regulation, they may fix—

(a)a time limit for the receipt of requests to participate which shall not be less than 15 days from the date on which the contract notice is sent, and

(b)a time limit for the receipt of initial tenders which shall not be less than 10 days from the date on which the invitation to tender is sent.

Tenders and negotiations

(11) Only those economic operators invited by the contracting authority following its assessment of the information provided may submit an initial tender which shall be the basis for the subsequent negotiations.

(12) Contracting authorities may limit the number of suitable candidates to be invited to participate in the procedure in accordance with regulation 65.

(13) Subject to paragraphs (15) and (19), contracting authorities shall negotiate with tenderers the initial and all subsequent tenders submitted by them, except for the final tender, to improve their content.

(14) The minimum requirements and the award criteria shall not be subject to negotiation.

(15) Contracting authorities may award contracts on the basis of the initial tenders without negotiation where they have indicated, in the contract notice or in the invitation to confirm interest, that they reserve the possibility of doing so.

(16) During the negotiations, contracting authorities shall ensure equal treatment of all tenderers and, to that end —

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

(b)they shall inform all tenderers whose tenders have not been eliminated under paragraph (19), in writing, of any changes to the technical specifications or other procurement documents, other than those setting out the minimum requirements; and

(c)following any such changes, they shall provide sufficient time for tenderers to modify and re-submit amended tenders, as appropriate.

(17) In accordance with regulation 21, contracting authorities shall not reveal to the other participants confidential information communicated by a candidate or tenderer participating in the negotiations without its agreement.

(18) Such agreement shall not take the form of a general waiver but shall be given with reference to the intended communication of specific information.

(19) Competitive procedures with negotiation may take place in successive stages in order to reduce the number of tenders to be negotiated by applying the award criteria specified in the contract notice, in the invitation to confirm interest or in another procurement document.

(20) In the contract notice, the invitation to confirm interest or in another procurement document, the contracting authority shall indicate whether it will use the option described in paragraph (19).

Concluding the procedure

(21) Where the contracting authority intends to conclude the negotiations, it shall—

(a)inform the remaining tenderers and set a common deadline to submit any new or revised tenders,

(b)verify that the final tenders are in conformity with the minimum requirements and comply with regulation 56(1),

(c)assess the final tenders on the basis of the award criteria, and

(d)award the contract in accordance with regulations 66 to 69.

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