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Rule 29:
Sufficient time

An agency must allow suppliers sufficient time to respond to a Notice of Procurement.

  1. An agency must allow sufficient time for suppliers to respond to a Notice of Procurement (Rule 37). It must act in good faith and use sound judgement when calculating sufficient time.
  2. The key factors to take into account when calculating sufficient time include:
    1. the nature and complexity of the procurement
    2. the type of information and level of detail suppliers need to provide in their responses
    3. the nature of the goods, services or works
    4. how simple or difficult it is to describe the deliverables
    5. the level of risk
    6. the extent of any anticipated subcontracting or the likelihood of any joint bids
    7. how critical the procurement is to the agency’s success
    8. the time it takes for domestic and foreign suppliers to submit tenders, particularly if you have asked suppliers to deliver hard copies
    9. the impact of public holidays on suppliers.
  3. Mandatory minimum time periods are explained in Rules 30 to 34. Sufficient time is often longer than the minimum time periods and will vary depending on the nature and complexity of the procurement.

How much is sufficient time

To decide what is sufficient time:

  • Be realistic, set timelines that are fair to all suppliers and reflect the nature and complexity of the information you are seeking.
  • Take weekends and national New Zealand statutory holidays into account.
  • To get the best result possible, avoid publishing contract opportunities on GETS right before Christmas or in early January. Most of New Zealand is on holiday for a good part of January. If you must publish during this period, you should consider allowing a longer response time unless there is a strong business reason for not doing so.
  • Make sure your sufficient time is not less than the minimum time period set out in Rule 34.
  • Where there is the possibility of joint bids, consortiums or subcontracting, allow at least 27 business days. This gives suppliers time to consult and collaborate. It means, for example, small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) have the opportunity to put together a joint bid, where one SME may not have the full capability to deliver on its own.
  • Consider extending your timeframe if there is a late release of material clarifications or supplementary documentation. This will allow suppliers to update their responses accordingly.

More information on calculating sufficient time

Don't jeopardise the results you could achieve with a rushed process. If you don't allow sufficient time, you may limit the:

  • number of suppliers that can respond and the quality of their responses
  • level of competition and your agency’s ability to get the best public value, including broader outcomes
  • choice of solutions offered and your agency’s ability to purchase the right one.

Put yourself in the suppliers' shoes to work out how much time is sufficient time. How long will it take to:

  • obtain, read and analyse all tender documents
  • ask questions to clarify the requirements and get answers
  • develop a meaningful response that includes accurate pricing information
  • prepare, check and submit the response and deliver it on time, and…
  • carry on with your day job?
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