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Evaluating responses​

​The panel usually assesses each response individually. You can ask for additional information before making a recommendation.

Assess the responses

The evaluation panel must determine the best supplier or provider based on the information provided in the responses.

You must:

  • treat suppliers fairly, impartially and equitably at all times
  • follow the approach and methodology set out in the procurement plan and reflected in the RFx. If you need to change any aspect of the process or methodology, you are obliged to notify all potential suppliers and give them sufficient time to respond to the change
  • take into account capability, capacity and value-for-money
  • check suppliers’ conflict of interest declarations and re-check conflict of interest declarations for the panel now that the suppliers are known
  • not base your decision on hearsay, anecdotes, personal views of panel members, or information that's not directly relevant to the RFx
  • keep a full record of how each response was assessed against the criteria and demonstrate that each received due and fair consideration.
  • justify any suppliers you reject based on the criteria, and record your decision in writing
  • treat responses as commercially confidential information – the evaluation panel should not discuss any element of the evaluation process with anyone not on the panel.

Assessing price

The team may decide to appoint a financial specialist to:

  • separately analyse the price of all qualifying responses
  • present a report to the evaluation panel providing a comparative analysis.

Scrutinise a response that is priced very low in comparison with others to determine:

  • whether there is uncertainty about the requirements that involve high risk
  • whether all costs have been included
  • whether the price is ‘real’ and sustainable
  • whether a new or innovative solution has been proposed that results in the dramatically different prices.

If the panel has any concerns about the price, seek clarification from the supplier. However, you must not allow the supplier to adjust their price in the evaluation process, other than where the quoted elements of the price have been wrongly added.

Be alert to any signs of bid-rigging or collusion amongst suppliers.

How to recognise bid rigging

Resources

Request any additional information

Request any additional information

You may want the panel to be able to ask for additional information before reaching its decision. They could ask for:

  • reference checks
  • interviews
  • other forms of due diligence.

Conducting due diligence

Decide final scores

Usually, each member of the evaluation panel carries out their own initial evaluation of responses and scores them according to the rating scale.

Once this is done, you can reach final overall scores by mathematical average (using either the mean or the median of the individual scores) or by team consensus. Reaching a team consensus through a moderation process is preferable - the final score will be an agreement based on all the evaluation panel members’ assessments, observations and opinions.

By using moderation, the panel can:

  • have a wider debate as to the relative strengths and weaknesses of each response
  • explain their rationale in awarding specific scores
  • arrive at a common agreement on a score based on the views of all panel members.

This process does take longer than using a mathematical average, and it's important to manage the moderation so that all viewpoints are heard.

Previous experience with a supplier

You can use previous experience with the supplier as part of your evaluation – but you must make sure you're being objective and not biased. For example, documented knowledge of poor performance is a valid reason to rule out a supplier, but personal dislike isn't.

Make a recommendation

The evaluation panel recommendation records the panel’s deliberations and is signed by all members of the panel. It:

  • lists the bids received
  • explains how bids were evaluated
  • records scores and the panel’s critique of each bid (relative strengths and weaknesses)
  • records due diligence findings
  • ranks bids in order of preference
  • identifies the recommended supplier.

Negotiating with a preferred supplier

Debriefing unsuccessful suppliers

Write an evaluation report

Document the outcome of the evaluation process, including the panel recommendation, in an evaluation report. The report should be endorsed by all panel members before being submitted for approval.

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