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Alcatel period

A period of at least ten days after the notification of an award before the contract is concluded with the successful supplier(s). It is designed to enable unsuccessful bidders to challenge the award decision before the contract is concluded. It is named after a pair of linked European Court cases which are jointly known as the Alcatel case. The formal name used in the procurement Regulations is the standstill period.


A detailed assessment of the general capacity of a contractor, supplier or service provider to meet certain general criteria or standards.

Audit trail

System or paper generated evidence showing how and by whom certain processes and functions were carried out.

Authorised officer

An officer of the authority who has been nominated by the authority to manage a contract or contracts with a contractor, supplier or service provider.


The public body buying goods or services.

Award criteria

The list of key criteria that is usedto assess a supplier’s tender. Award criteriarelate to the tender and are used to identify the tender that is the cheapest or the most economically advantageous (for example, in terms of price, technical specifications and project management proposals)

In simple terms, selection criteria aims to establish "can they do it?" and award criteria "how will they do it?"

Award notice

See Contract Award Notice

BME Business

Black and Minority Ethnic Business – A business where 51% or more is owned by members of ethnic minority groups OR if there are few owners where at least 50% of the proprietors are from black or minority ethnic groups.


Comparison of performance against other providers of similar services, particularly those recognised as adopting best practice.

Best and final offer (BAFO)

The detailed and fully priced offer submitted by the Respondent for the contract, following the issue of the Authority’s Invitation to submit best and final offer (BAFO) documentation. Where the Authority accepts the offer it becomes legally binding on both parties.

Best practice

The most effective and desirable method of carrying out a function or process derived from experience rather than theory.

Bills of quantity

Lists of quantities, provided by clients, against which tenderers insert their rates. The lump sum for each contract is then calculated by multiplying the quantities by the rates.

Call off contract

A contract made following a formal tendering process with one or more contractors, suppliers or service providers for a defined range of works, goods or services covering terms and conditions (including price) which users ‘call off’ to meet their requirements. Also referred to as a ‘framework agreement’.


A group of suppliers acting illegally in concert to artificially influence the price and quantity of supply.

Central purchasing body

Defined in the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 as "a contracting authority which:

  • Acquires goods or services intended for one or more contracting authorities
  • Awards public contracts intended for one or more contracting authorities
  • Or concludes framework agreements for works, goods or services intended for one or more contracting authorities"

Civil financial penalty

A fine payable by a contracting authority where a contract which they have entered into is declared to be ineffective.

Classic Directive

A name sometimes used to refer to the 2004 procurement Directive.


An arrangement under which authority departments/schools operate together internally or with other authority’s/schools externally to procure goods/services. Combined buying-power can improve services and prices and share the administrative overhead.


A fraudulent arrangement between two or more parties whereby prices or service requirements are manipulated to get round competitive tendering.


In a procurement context, this generally refers to the European Commission.


The process of acquiring services to meet the needs of the local population. Commissioning is done through the Local Authority, the Primary Care Trust, other public agencies, or by the private or voluntary sectors

Competitive dialogue procedure

The process, under the procurement Regulations, that allows the procuring party to discuss different options with bidders before selecting a solution. It can be used in complex contracts where technical solutions are difficult to define or where development of the best solution is wanted. The competitive dialogue procedure can only be used when the open and restricted procedures are not suitable for the procurement.

Competitive tendering

Awarding contracts by the process of seeking competing bids from more than one firm.


In the procurement context, this refers to two or more entities which have come together specifically for the purpose of bidding for appointment as a supplier, and can include those parties establishing a special purpose vehicle to be the prime contracting party with the authority. The term is defined in Regulation 28 of the procurement Regulations.


A directory of more than 12,500 pre-qualified UK construction contractors and consultants. Owned and endorsed by the Department of Trade and Industry.


An organisation or individual employed by the Authority for specific tasks, usually where specialist knowledge or objective review is required.


A binding agreement made between two or more parties, which is intended to be enforceable at law

Contract award notice

Notice of an award of a contract published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), in fulfilment of the requirements of EU public procurement directives.

Contract documents

Documents incorporated in the enforceable agreement between the Authority and the contractor, including contract conditions, specification, pricing document, form of tender and the successful tenderer’s responses (including method statements), and all other relevant documents expressed to be contract documents (such as relevant correspondence, etc.).

Contract notice

Notice published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) by contracting authorities, seeking expressions of interest or inviting companies to tender.

Contract value

The total monetary value of a contract over its full duration (not annual value).

Contracting authority

A public body that is subject to the procurement Regulations. A list of the relevant organisations is included in Schedule 1 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 and is amended from time to time. There are also some "catch all" statements covering public bodies not specifically included in the list.


An organisation or individual who has made a contract to undertake works, supply goods or provide services.

Corporate contract

Contract for a range of goods and services where a cross Departmental need exists. The corporate contract will have a defined set of conditions and the use is mandated within the Contract Standing Orders.

Cost plus

The method of payment for contracts for which tenderers quote a lump sum or % addition to their costs (which would be reimbursed).

Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV)

The numerical system of identifying goods and services in the tendering process. Also used as part of the e-procurement process to identify services offered by the tendering organisation.

Daily rates

The method of payment for contracts for which tenderers quote rates per chargeable day.


The method of payment for contracts for which tenderers quote rates per attendance hour.


Giving positive, constructive feedback to competing suppliers on their performance at certain stages of the procurement process. It gives suppliers the opportunity to improve their performance in the future. It can also help the buyer, as it highlights problems that may have arisen during the procurement process. This gives them the opportunity to improve their procedures.


A breach of a contract condition, e.g. a delay in the promised delivery.


A collective name for the tangible goods and/or services that the supplier or contractor is required to supply under an agreement.


This is the e-sourcing portal that Wolverhampton Homes uses to conduct its tender exercises through.

Contract Value

An electronic process for making commonly used purchases of which meet the requirements of the contracting authority and which is limited in duration, open throughout its validity to any economic operator that satisfies the selection criteria and has submitted an indicative tender that complies with the specification. Typically this will be for lower value goods and will involve the contracting authority linking its purchasing IT system with the supplier's systems

EC procurement threshold

The financial threshold above which certain procedural aspects of the procurement Regulationsbecome mandatory. There are two thresholds, one that applies to most central government bodies and one for other authorities. The current threshold is published on the Cabinet Office website.

Economic and financial standing

A measure by which the contracting authority can ascertain whether the prospective bidder is capable of handling the commercial and financial risks of the proposed contract.

Economic operator

Defined in the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 as a "contractor, a supplier or a services provider". Essentially the entity with which the procuring party will enter into a contract.


The use of electronic methods in every stage of the purchasing process from identification of requirement through to payment, and potentially to contact management.

Equal treatment

All bidders being treated in an equivalent manner. This is a principle under the procurement Regulations as set out in Regulation 4.

Equalities Impacts Needs Assessment (EINA)

A tool for ensuring that equality issues can be considered when drawing up policies, procedures or delivering services by assessing what the implications are on a wide range of people with different and varied needs.


A genuine and realistic price calculated by an officer that represents an estimate for defined works, goods or services, as required by EU rules or standing orders for the purposes of determining the procurement process and ensuring adequate budget provision. This should not be confused with an estimate from a contractor, supplier or service provider for a defined piece of work.


An electronic means of communication and tendering through the internet.

EU rules

The Public Services or Supplies or Works Contracts Regulations relevant to the implementation of the EU (European Union) directive on award of public services contracts.

European Union's Official Journal

Published every working day in all official languages of the European Union. It consists of two related series (L for legislation and C for information and notices) and a supplement (S for public procurement). This supplement is where OJEU notices and award notices are published. Typically suppliers access the information via an online portal, such as Tenders Electronic Daily (TED).


Detailed assessment and comparison of contractor, supplier or service provider offers, against financial and quality criteria.


The Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Framework agreement

An arrangement under which a contracting authority establishes with a provider of goods, works or services, the terms under which contracts subsequently can be entered into, or ‘called-off’ (within the limits of the agreement) when particular needs arise. Also known as ‘call-off contract’.


Guidance published by the government on best practice issues, for example in relation to public procurement. Formerly published by the OGC and now published by the Cabinet Office.


All of the equipment, machinery, and/or other materials which the supplier is required to supply to the Authority under the contract


A remedy which can be obtained by suppliers in procurements commenced on or after 20 December 2009, where a contracting authority has failed to place a mandatory OJEU notice; has breached requirements relating to standstill thereby denying a supplier the opportunity to challenge an award decision; or has failed to follow call-off requirements under a framework for a call-off over the EC procurement threshold.


An order of the court requiring a party to either do, or refrain from doing, certain acts (e.g. entering into a contract).

Instructions to tenderers

Instructions given in the Invitation to Tender designed to ensure that all Tenderers are given all the relevant information relevant to the tender to assist with their submission.

Invitation to negotiate (ITN)

A document inviting bidders in the negotiated procedureto participate in a negotiation process and setting out the terms applying to that process.An invitation to a shortlist of typically 3 to 4 bidders to submit a response to a bid document prepared by the public sector Authority. This document comprises detailed descriptions of the project facilities and services required, expressed in the form of outputs to be delivered or achieved, as opposed to inputs. Bidders determine how such outputs are to be delivered efficiently and effectively. Also known as an ‘ITN’.

Invitation to participate in dialogue(ITPD)

A document inviting bidders in the competitive dialogue procedureto participate in a dialogue process and setting out the terms applicable to that process.

Invitation to submit detailed solutions (ISDS)

A document issued during the dialogue process under the competitive dialogue procedure which requires the bidders to submit full details of their proposed solution. The response may be evaluated, and this may result in a down-selection of bidders. The ISDS will typically be in a dialogue phase following an ISOS.

Invitation to submit outline solutions (ISOS)

A document issued during the dialogue process under the competitive dialogue procedurewhich requires the bidders to submit initial details of their proposed solution. The response may be evaluated, and this may result in a down-selection of bidders.

Invitation to submit final bids (ITSFB)

A document which invites the remaining bidders in the competitive dialogueprocedure to submit their final bids at the end of the dialogue process. Broadly equivalent to an ITT in the restricted procedure.

Invitation to Tender(ITT)

An invitation to contractors and suppliers to bid through a formal tender process for the provision of goods, services or works over the value of £50,000.

Invitation to Quote (ITQ)

An invitation to contractors and suppliers to bid for the provision of goods, services or works under the value of £50,000.


A request to pay submitted by a supplier of works, goods and/or services.

Invoice item

A line item on an invoice.

Invoice payment terms

Specified terms of payment agreed between the supplier and purchaser.

Joint venture

Any contract or other arrangement between Richmond and another body under which both bind themselves to contribute separate services, work or funding for a shared overall purpose.

Liquidated and ascertained damages

A genuine pre-estimate of the loss that the Authority will suffer if the contractor defaults when performing the contract. This may form the basis of deductions from payments, which will be calculated according to the specific circumstance relating to each type of contract.


One of a number of categories of goods or services which a single procurement process has been divided into. The use of lots potentially allows for multiple providers to be appointed following one procurement process. An example might be a computer hardware procurement with one lot for "laptops" and a second lot for "desktops".

Method statements

Proposals are tendered as sought by clients, for dealing with aspects of the work for which clients have set no specifications, or where more detailed operational information is required.


A mini competition is held with all those suppliers within a framework agreement who are capable of meeting a particular need when the details of the framework agreement are not sufficient to enable an immediate call-off. Where a procuring party wishes to procure under a framework agreementbut the framework has insufficient information to allow the procuring party to confirm which supplier would offer the most economically advantageous tender, then a mini-competition is the method used to select a supplier.

Most economically advantageous tender (MEAT)

One of two systems which are allowed for tender selection (the other being lowest price). MEAT enables tender evaluation on the basis of the quality of the tender offer as well as the price. The quality is scored against a set of award criteria identified for each tender.

Needs assessment

A process by which health and social care professionals assess and then make conclusions on risks and needs. The assessment sets out what is necessary for an individual to maintain their life at a certain standard.

Negotiated procedure

One of the procedures for procurement under the EU Directives, available only in limited circumstances, under which client authorities negotiate with at least three eligible applicants who meet their criteria.


A supplier’s offer to provide goods and/or services for a consideration in response to a buyer’s enquiry.

Official order

A pre-printed form, which incorporates the Authority’s terms and conditions of purchase, used to place an order with a supplier. See also ‘purchase order’.

Open procedure

One of the procedures for procurement under the EU Directives, under which all eligible applicants are invited to tender in a one-stage procurement process.


The benefits or changes that have come about as a result of the work or activity of a project or the organisation. These include short term, long term, intended, unintended, positive and negative effects.


Units or direct products of a project or organisation’s activities. For example, they could be classes taught, training courses delivered or people attending workshops.

Procurement Directive

The EU Directive that established the main body of the procurement laws – Directive 2004/18/EC.

Procurement Regulations

Generally used to refer to the Public Contracts Regulations 2006.

Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ)

A PQQ enables a contracting authority to evaluate the suitability of potential suppliers in relation to their technical knowledge and experience, capability and financial and economic standing. PQQs are used in the restricted procedure, negotiated procedure and competitive dialogue procedure as a means of selecting the bidder to go forward to the next stage of the procurement process.

Prior information notice (PIN)

Publication by an authorityin the OJEUof details of what they intend to procure in future. Use of a prior information notice can reduce some of the timescales in a procurement.

Public concession contract

A contract under which a supplier enters into an agreement with a public body to have the exclusive right to operate, maintain and carry out investment in a public utility (such as a water supply system) for a given term.

Public Contracts Regulations 2006

The Public Contracts Regulations 2006 are the UK legislation implementing the Public Sector Directive 2004/18/ECsetting out procedures for the award of contracts for goods, services and works.

Public Sector Directive 2004/18/EC

The European Union Directive on the co-ordination of procedures for the award of public works contracts, public supply contracts and public service contracts.

Public service contract

A contract for the supply of services to a public body.

Public supply contract

A contract for the supply of goods to a public body or for the hire of goods by a public body.

Public works contract

A contract to carry out works, generally construction projects, for a public body. Works are defined in detail in Schedule 2 of the procurement Regulations.

Parent company guarantee

A parent company guarantee binds the guarantor (the ‘parent company’) to fulfil and complete a subsidiary company’s obligations and liabilities in the event of failure by that subsidiary to fulfil and complete its obligations and liabilities under a contract.


Pre- Information Notice. A short notice indicating that a call for tenders is planned during the coming three months. The publication of a PIN means that the deadline for submitting the tender from the publication of the call may be shortened.

Pricing schedules

List of the requirements that might be required to be performed/supplied under the contract which the tenderer inserts a rate against each item.

Private Finance Initiative (PFI)

A route for procurement where, instead of owning the assets needed for their services, public authorities arrange for private sector bodies (often in the form of consortia) to provide and own them. These bodies then make the assets available under operating leases to enable public authorities to deliver the services required.


The process of acquiring goods, works and services, covering acquisition from third parties and from in-house providers. The process spans the whole life cycle from identification of needs, through to the end of a services contract or the end of the useful life of an asset.

Procurement Card (also Purchasing Card /P Card)

A payment card issued by an authority to staff that may be used to purchase goods and/or services up to an agreed value from certain suppliers. Although similar in operation, it is not a credit card that can be used anywhere and there is no credit facility. For suppliers typically payment in full will be made direct to their bank accounts usually within three working days.

Project definition statement (PDS)

Early stage of project which identifies the scope and objectives.

Purchase order

See ‘official order’.


The level of fitness for purpose which is specified for or achieved by any service, work or product.

Quality Assurance (QA)

A discipline to assess quality standards, covering all activities and functions concerned with the attainment of quality.

Qualified tender

A tender which is qualified because it does not fully meet the intended contractual requirements. Such tender are not normally acceptable.


A written or verbal price given by a contractor, supplier or service provider, after being requested either orally or in writing. A quotation may be the written confirmation of an earlier, oral offer.

Remedies Directive

The new Public Procurement Remedies Directive (Directive 07/66/EEC) setting out the remedies which a supplier is entitled to for breach of the procurement Regulations.

Request for proposals (RFP)

A request sent to a number of suppliers for their proposals to meet a particular requirement for goods or services. Sometimes used to refer to an ITT.

Restricted procedure

This process under the procurement Regulations can be used for any procurement and includes two stages. Any interested party may express an interest in tendering for the contract but only those meeting the contracting authority'sselection criteria will then be invited to submit a tender. No negotiation with the bidders is permitted.

Schedule of rates

Lists of jobs, like those in bills of quantities except that they contain no quantities. Rates may be inserted by tenderers, or by clients. In the latter case, tenderers specify their overall percentages on or off these rates.

Scoring methodology

The basis on which bids are to be scored against the selection criteria or award criteria.

Select list

A list of suitable prospective contractors, suppliers or service providers that has been drawn up through a shortlisting exercise for a particular contract or procurement activity.

Selection criteria

Criteria used at the PQQstage to select the bidders that are to proceed to the next stage. Selection criteria should only relate to technical and professional capability and financial and economic standing and certain grounds for disqualification. Selection criteria may only be applied at the pre-qualification stagein order to short-list bidders to be invited to tender or participate in dialogue, under the restricted and competitive dialogue procedures respectively. In an open procedure, the contracting authority will usually evaluate the selection criteria and, if the bidder meets the minimum requirements, will then move on to consider the rest of the tender. Selection criteria may not be assessed during the award stage.

Service manager

An officer of the Authority who has a responsibility to manage a particular service.


Services provided to the Authority by an external service provider (an individual or a company). Those that have a value exceeding the current threshold defined by the EU rules will be subject to the European tendering requirements. Standing orders may have different values covering works, services or supplies.

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

That part of a contract which specifies the services to be delivered. It has been practice for purchasers to enter into contracts based on Service Level Agreements which are in themselves contracts but do not set out full contractual terms, simply detailing the services to be delivered and minimal information such as contact details, addresses, etc. regarding the contractor. Sometimes used between Departments within public authorities.

Shared services

Providing services as a combined or collaborative function which may share processes and technology. This may include bringing together support functions, often from geographically disparate areas, into a separate organisation

Social Enterprise

Organisations that deliver goods and services and make a profit (51% of its income must come from trading) but measure their success on the social impact and benefits they provide. Examples of social enterprises are Co-operatives, Mutual Building Societies


The process of establishing potential suppliers of specified works, goods or services.


Small and medium-sized enterprises, a term used to refer to smaller private sector companies with less than 250 employees.


A description of requirements and standards to which the goods, works or services should conform. Also known as a statement of needs, a statement of requirement, an operational requirement, or a brief. Its purpose is to present prospective suppliers with a clear, accurate and full description of the organisation’s needs, to enable them to propose a solution to meet them.

Stage payments

An agreed percentage or part of the contract price, which is payable when specified stages of completion/delivery have been reached.


An individual or organisation that has an active interest or a stake in a particular organisation or issue. For example, funders, members, contractors, purchasers, trustees, beneficiaries, volunteers and paid staff are all stakeholders in a voluntary organisation.

Standing orders

The Authority’s rules and procedures that govern its activities, including procurement of goods, works and services.

Standstill period

Following evaluation of all proposals and prior to completing the contract award, the buyer must notify all suppliers of their intention to award the contract. This notification will be sent through the e-sourcing portal (Delta) and commences the mandatory 10 day standstill period. During this period unsuccessful tenderers have the opportunity to request further information about the award of the contract and take appropriate action if they feel they have been treated unfairly.


The process where a contractor assigns part of the contract to another contractor(s).


Goods, either purchased or hired. Those that have a value exceeding the current threshold defined by the EU rules will be subject to the European tendering requirements. Standing orders may have different values covering works, services or supplies.

Supplier diversity

Initiatives that aim to increase the number of ethnic minority-owned businesses that supply goods and services to both public and private sector organisations.

Supply chain

Consists of businesses providing goods, works and services to a buyer. For example, a stationer’s supply chain will include its product suppliers, delivery firm, printing company, IT provider and cleaning contractor. Tier one of a supply chain is the maincontractor who supplies direct to the buyer. A business that supplies to tier 1 is a tier 2 supplier and any business that supplies to tier 2 is a tier 3 and so on.

Sustainable procurement

Sustainable procurement is using procurement to support wider social, economic and environmental objectives. It goes beyond green procurement to take account of social and economic issues.

Technical or professional ability

One of the permitted criteria for selecting suppliers at the PQQ stage. It is described in Regulation 25 of the procurement Regulations.


An official written offer to an invitation that contains a costed proposal to perform the works, services or supplies required, and is provided in response to a tendering exercise. This normally involves submission of the offer in a sealed envelope to a specified address by a specified time and date.

Tender documents

Documents provided to prospective tenderers when they are invited to tender and that form the basis on which tenders are submitted, including instructions to tenderers, contract conditions, specification, pricing document, form of tender and the responses from tenderers.

Tender evaluation panel

A group of people who analyse tenders received and make final recommendations on the award of contracts.

Third sector organisation (TSO)

VCOs pursue social and environmental objectives; do not distribute any surpluses to shareholders; reinvest any surpluses in the pursuit of their objectives; and are independent of government. VCOs can take a number of organisational forms, with or without charitable status.


Being clear with potential suppliers as to what is planned and the steps that will be and have been taken in relation to a procurement process, and performing that procurement process as described in the communications with potential suppliers.

TUPE regulations

The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (as amended from time to time) implementing the Acquired Rights Directive on the acquired rights of workers.

Value for money

The provision of the right goods and services from the right source, of the right quality, at the right time, delivered to the right place and at the right price (judged on whole-life costs and not simply initial costs).


Tenders that meet minimum specifications but vary in technical terms. May be allowed by a contracting authority where award criterion is that of most economically advantageous tender. Examples of variant bids are those proposing different pricing structures, or new and innovative ways of delivering a service.

Voluntary and community organisation (VCO)

A general term used to refer to registered charities, non-charitable non-profit organisations, associations, self-help group and community groups.


An authorised departure from the Contract Standing Orders. This may only be applied with limited application.

Whole life costs

The systematic consideration of all relevant costs and revenues associated with the acquisition and ownership of an asset.


Building, construction and engineering related works. Those that have a value exceeding the current threshold defined by the EU rules will be subject to the European tendering requirements. Standing Orders may have different values covering works, services or supplies.

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