They Have to Tell You! January 27, 2016 at 12:20 pm

November 2015

We have just seen that a court has annulled a tender award decision for “lack of adequate reasoning”.  This decision was made when Ricoh bid for a contract for the purchase or hire of printers and their associated maintenance services.  Ricoh was informed its bid was unsuccessful for 3 of the 5 lots it had bid and, sensibly, it asked for a debrief.  It was given several items of information and even more when it complained that the information provided was inadequate.  The contracting authority dug its heels in at this point.

Ricoh took the case to court and claimed that the contracting authority had not provided sufficient reasons for its decision, in particular not explaining (either immediately after the decision was given or in the subsequent correspondence) how or why it had arrived at the technical requirements scoring.  As a result, Ricoh was not able to understand why the contracting authority could have concluded that the successful tender was better than its submission.

The court agreed and stopped the tender award.  We wait to see what will happen next.

From our viewpoint, this is another step along the pathway to more transparency.  It gives us, as bidders, the justification to be given (and to understand) the full reasoning for the scorings awarded.  We have reported before that a bidder is entitled to a “full tender evaluation report” once the competition is concluded.  The Ricoh case gives even more support to the argument for release of this information and shows us that we have a right be given the reasoning behind the evaluation as well, if it is not obvious from the information provided.

The message is clear.  Unless you can see that you have been fairly beaten in the evaluation, you owe it to the taxpayer to find out the detail of why you lost.  Then you must use this information to put matters right (and protect the taxpayer from misuse of its funds) or to make a better bid next time (and get some return on your investment in this bid to protect your shareholders).

If you need any more information on how or if you should seek the details of the tender evaluation you have been involved with, please call us on 01227 860375 now for a chat (no obligation).