OJEU tendering: Where to begin?

If your organisation is looking to start tendering in the world of public sector procurement, there are several important factors your organisation should be aware of before you begin. Supply2Gov is a procurement expert, with over 35 years of helping organisations grow their business as suppliers to the public sector. If winning OJEU tenders is what your organisation is dreaming of, then you have come to the right place to achieve it.

Supply2Gov notifies organisations about contract notices every day, through our tender alerts service. The OJEU and other tender opportunities you receive are filtered based on your geographical location and what your business does. Whether you are looking for contract opportunities in Ireland, in the UK or further afield, Supply2Gov can bring the right tenders for you, right to your inbox.

What is OJEU tendering?

The OJEU stands for the Official Journal of the European Union. It is the publication in which all tenders from the public sector with values above a certain threshold must be published, according to EU legislation. When people reference an ‘OJEU tender’ it is simply a tender that is above this threshold, and therefore, published in the Journal.

What are the principles of OJEU tendering?

The European Union has laid down specific requirements setting out the way public sector tendering should be carried out in Europe. These requirements ensure that the process is fair and non-discriminatory to all companies across the whole of Europe. It is essential that procurement, and all the processes involved with it, are transparent and competitive. By implementing procurement regulations and procedures that encourage this, public money is spent in the most efficient way possible, taking into account quality, value for money, sustainability and how procurement can positively impact the community around it.

What is the procurement process?

In general, a procurement or tender process essentially comprises of five key stages:

  • Advertising
  • Selecting bidders
  • Tendering
  • Evaluating
  • Awarding

We go through these stages in more detail below.

Advertising

This is how a contracting authority lets the market know that they are looking for firms or people to provide goods, works or services. Where a contracting authority advertises depends on various factors, including what the tender is for and where it is based. OJEU tenders are often also advertised on the contracting authority organisation’s website, trade magazines or the local press. The OJEU advertisement is called a Contract Notice, and it is a document which states information about the tender, including the date the project will start, the length of time it is required for, the tendering procedure that will be used and the scope of the contract i.e. what goods, works or services is needed. Most importantly, the OJEU notice will also stipulate a deadline by which suppliers must respond and will set out an award procedure, which is the set of steps the procurement will follow.

Selecting bidders

Apart from the Open procedure under which suppliers submit a complete tender at the outset, most award procedures require potential suppliers to complete a Selection Questionnaire as the first step. After potential suppliers have completed their Selection Questionnaire, the contracting authority will then evaluate each firm’s suitability, capability and capacity to carry out the work the tender requires. This is to make sure the supplier is the right organisation for the project, taking into account the quality of the goods, works or services they are offering, the value for money and other factors including sustainability and social value, as we mentioned above. It is important that potential suppliers put work into the Selection Questionnaire as the awarding authority uses the responses to select a shortlist of suppliers who are the only ones invited to submit a complete tender bid for consideration.

Tendering

This is the stage where firms are asked to submit their tender or bid. It can take a long time for a potential supplier to write their bid, so it is crucial that an organisation gives themselves enough time to research and write their tender, providing evidence of strong work in the past where necessary. The award criteria in the contract notice and documents help potential suppliers to know what the authority is looking for. The tender looks forward and is about how a firm can deliver the requirements of a contract and how much they will do it for – the best entry is not necessarily the cheapest, as we explain in the ‘Evaluating’ stage.

Evaluating

Once the tenders are opened, the process of evaluation begins. This is the process by which a contracting authority decides who is best to do the job, based on what a potential supplier submits in the tender, and evaluation criteria agreed at the start of the procurement process. This can be an easy process, depending on what potential bidders have been asked to submit. If it is based on price alone, the process is likely to be relatively simple. However, if potential suppliers have been asked to submit quality elements in their model, it will be a longer process as the submissions will be harder to score, and there may be more people involved. Once all the evaluation scoring is complete and moderated, the balance of price and quality must be worked out in the relevant proportions to arrive at the final outcome.

Awarding

This is the stage when the winning tenderer is actually ‘given’ the contract, by the authority sending what is known as a Contract Decision Notice. In OJEU tenders, this is essentially an email and a document which specifies your victory and when the project is set to begin. In the EU procurement award process, a ten-day standstill period will also be observed after a contract has been awarded. This allows bidders that did not win challenge the decision of the contracting authority, according to a strict procedure. After the standstill period is complete, if there are no problems or challenges, the tender can be signed and the authority can send the formal Contract Award notice to the OJEU.

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By signing up to Supply2Gov’s tender alerts, you will gain access to contract notices relevant to your business straight from your inbox. Instead of searching through thousands of contracts in databases, you’ll receive OJEU tenders every day, at the touch of a button. This saves your organisation tons of time and resource, so you can focus on winning the tender.

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