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Rule 56:
Pre-qualified suppliers list

Explains when it is appropriate and how an agency must establish and operate a pre-qualified suppliers list, and manage contract opportunities.

  1. A pre-qualified suppliers list is a list of suppliers who an agency has pre-approved as capable of delivering specific types of goods, services or works.
  2. A pre-qualified suppliers list is appropriate if an agency wants to:
    1. verify which suppliers can deliver specific goods, services or works
    2. make it easier for suppliers to respond to contract opportunities by only asking for qualifying information once.
  3. An agency that establishes a pre-qualified suppliers list is not exempt from open advertising where a contract opportunity meets or exceeds the relevant value threshold (Rule 6 and Rule 7). An agency must openly advertise each contract opportunity on GETS. Pre-qualified suppliers should make sure that they are listed on GETS under the correct tender watch code/s to receive notifications.

Establishing a pre-qualified suppliers list

  1. To establish a pre-qualified suppliers list an agency must:
    1. publish an invitation to qualify (a type of Notice of Procurement) on GETS and make it continuously available
    2. allow suppliers to respond to the invitation at any time or by specific deadlines for responses
    3. include the following information in the invitation:
      1. the agency’s name and address and contact details for the person managing the process
      2. a clear description of the specific goods, services or works potential suppliers must be capable of delivering
      3. a list of any conditions that each supplier must meet to participate and how the agency will check each supplier meets the conditions
      4. how long the list will be active for and how it will be refreshed or terminated
    4. assess applicants within a reasonable timeframe and add qualifying suppliers to the list as soon as possible
    5. notify unsuccessful applicants promptly and, if requested, provide the reason/s why.

Operating a pre-qualified suppliers list

  1. To operate a pre-qualified suppliers list an agency must:
    1. keep an updated list and make this publicly available at all times (eg on the agency’s website)
    2. notify pre-qualified suppliers if the list is terminated or they are removed from the list. If an agency removes a supplier from a list it must explain why.

Managing contract opportunities

  1. If a contract opportunity arises for the specific goods, services or works that a pre-qualified suppliers list was established for, an agency must:
    1. openly advertise the contract opportunity on GETS. Pre-qualified suppliers should make sure that they are listed on GETS under the correct tender watch code/s to receive notifications
    2. allow any unqualified supplier to submit an application to qualify either prior to or along with its response to the Notice of Procurement.
  2. If a supplier submits an application to qualify before or with its response, the agency must:
    1. promptly assess the application
    2. allow a supplier who is successful in becoming pre-qualified to take part in the contract opportunity if there is enough time to complete the qualification process
    3. promptly notify the supplier of the decision.

More information on pre-qualified suppliers lists

When a supplier is added to a pre-qualified suppliers list it does not result in a contractual or legal relationship between the agency and the pre-qualified supplier.

To qualify as a pre-qualified supplier, the supplier must demonstrate that it can meet the criteria for delivering the goods, services or works. A pre-qualified supplier may still need to meet other evaluation criteria each time the agency wishes to purchase goods, services or works the supplier has qualified to deliver.

Pre-qualification is not the same as multi-step procurement (eg Registration of Interest followed by a Request for Proposal). There is no specific contract in mind when suppliers pre-qualify. Pre-qualified suppliers have the potential to win contracts over time, but are not guaranteed any work.

Agencies must not use the pre-qualification process with the purpose of obtaining price information from suppliers.