Public Contracts Scotland update
We have been made aware of some instances of public bodies inviting tenders on a price or cost-only basis, without any specific qualitative component. This information was highlighted to us by the Construction Scotland Industry Leadership Group (CSILG).
Investigation and actions taken
Our Construction Procurement Policy Unit investigated this further. A sample taken in early 2019 confirmed tender invitations had been carried out in this way by several public bodies. Procurement legislation does not allow bids for contracts above applicable value thresholds to be invited on the basis of the tenderer’s price or cost alone. Scottish Government best practice is the same for contracts below those thresholds. While this is not mandatory for public bodies to follow, we strongly encourage it.
We took action to help prevent price or cost-only tenders. A notification has now been added into the process for placing advertisements on PCS which clearly states a presumption against inviting price or cost-only bids in any public or utilities contract. It promotes the inclusion of specific qualitative tender assessment criteria alongside price or cost criteria in all public contracts and utilities contracts.
We are grateful to CSILG for bringing this issue to our attention. Thanks to them sharing their information, we were able to improve PCS. The new functionality went live on 30 September 2019.