Tender Guidance

Different Tendering Procedures


  • Open Procedure


A tender that is open to competition from any organisation. Any organisation can register an interest and submit tender documents under the Open Procedure.


  • Restricted Procedure


Companies must first qualify in order to be invited to tender. After an expression of interest has been made, the competing companies are supplied with a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire, which is then assessed to determine which ones should progress to the next stage. Those that satisfactorily meet the criteria of the purchasing body are then issued with the Invitation To Tender documents. The ITT documents must then be completed as per the standard tendering process.


  • Negotiated Procedure


A procedure used only in exceptional cases, in which the buyer invites pre-qualified suppliers to negotiate the terms of the contract. Once a contract specification has been agreed on, the suppliers are then judged by the criteria of the specification. It is normally used only in the case of complex tenders, when the specific requirements cannot be defined without supplier input, or when there are only a very limited number of companies in the marketplace that can meet the needs of the tender.


  • Competitive Dialogue


Competitive Dialogue is a new procedure introduced on 31 January 2006 as an alternative to the Open and Restricted Procedures. It is applicable when both of these are considered unsuitable for producing the best results. It offers a means by which the buyer and the prospective suppliers can discuss all aspects of the contract prior to the contract award, which is what distinguishes it from the Open and Negotiated Procedures. It is expected to be reserved for extremely complex tenders, when the purchasing agent cannot clearly define their organisation’s requirements, or cannot be certain of other important aspects of the tender – eg financial or legal – without further information and guidance from the potential suppliers. The name of the procedure should be borne in mind – though the discussions are initiated to expand the knowledge of the buyer to increase his or her capacity to define the nature of the contract, it is still a Competitive Dialogue.

Next: The Need for a Diversity of Suppliers and Pricing