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Review Body information contained within a Contract Notice

You may have noticed a recent change in Contract adverts on Public Contracts Scotland, where the name and address of the Buyer at the start of the advert is followed by a section advising the name and address of the “Review Body” where bidders who aren’t entirely satisfied with the information provided to them at the outcome of a tender may contact.

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Kenny Govan, Senior Procurement Officer at Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) explains that in the absence of any formal “Review Body” in Scotland, Public Sector organisations have been advised to enter the name and address of their local Sherriff Court at this section where previously they would have entered the name and address of their own organisation as being that which would “review” any query.

The Sherriff Court has indeed has been the place for a number of years where an aggrieved bidder was required to lodge their legal challenge to any decision via their appointed Solicitor, however bidders should proceed with caution here and not approach a Court to ask that a decision be “reviewed” as the wording in the section suggests, and in all cases before any formal legal proceedings are invoked they are advised to firstly contact the Buyer, state clearly their concerns and ask that these be fully addressed. Any Public Sector organisation is required to clearly communicate the outcome of any tender exercise to both successful and unsuccessful bidders, and to provide details of where any unsuccessful bid fell down when directly compared to the winning bid, both in aspects of price and in quality.

In effect the law already obliges a Public Sector organisation to be transparent and to treat bidders equally, and where these Regulations are enacted in full there should be no need for any bidder to actually seek this information from them. Where a bidder is however unclear in any aspect of a procurement exercise, they should always whether during the tender period or afterwards, make contact with the Buyer to seek this and only where all other avenues of communication have been exhausted should they seek legal advice and ultimately challenge a decision through the Courts. Find out more on how to bid better with assistance from the Supplier Development Programme which offers a range of free courses.

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