The Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) is the online journal or web portal that publishes all public sector contract opportunities over a certain threshold.
The abbreviation ‘OJEU’ is often confused with a whole host of other tendering terms, but it is quite simply just published public sector tenders, in line with EU procurement laws. We answer a couple of common questions around the OJEU process.
What is the OJEU threshold?
The current threshold for OJEU tenders is £188,133, meaning it is compulsory for all contracts above this value to be published in the OJEU. The main website used for all OJEU contract notices in Europe is Tenders Electronic Daily.
Following Brexit, an OJEU alternative is in place to replace the EU portal, with a new UK e-notification service.
However, a lot of contracts below the OJEU threshold will still be published in line with OJEU systems and processes. You may be aware that the UK site, Contracts Finder, publishes contracts from around £10,000 upwards in value, and that many of these are compliant with the OJEU tender process, even though there is technically no requirement for this to be so.
The OJEU process and threshold exist to mandate and adhere to the EU regulations in terms of providing transparency and fairness within procurement of goods and services. With all public sector money that is spent on goods or a service, there must be a rigid tender process to evaluate and select the most economically advantageous bidder.
What is an OJEU tender?
When a contract opportunity, and subsequent tender, fall with the OJEU threshold, the tender is likely to follow a stringent process, which in some respects makes tendering easier – we’ll explain why.
As mentioned above, when the government is spending money on goods or a service, they cannot simply select who they wish to work with. Due to EU procurement laws, they must conduct a tender process, including advertising the opportunity through the OJEU, to select the most economically advantageous bidder to deliver the contract.
This involves evaluating a tender on both quality and financial grounds – you tend to see the weighting of a tender submission 60% towards quality and 40% towards price, meaning the cheapest does not always win and that price is certainly not the only evaluation criteria. Within public sector OJEU procurement, a range of common topics are used, and an extensive specification and evaluation criteria are supplied, meaning there is clear guidance on what grounds and how your tender will be evaluated.
With all of the information supplied, including specifics on the contract delivery and what the buyer is looking for, it should also be easier to identify a good opportunity for your business and bid for something that is definitely achievable, increasing your chances of success.
Your tender return should meet all minimum requirements, align with the buyer’s aims and vision, and clearly answer the questions and meet all points in the evaluation criteria, in order to stand the best chance of success.
Tender writing is a specialist skill, but ultimately within the OJEU procurement process you are supplied with as much information as possible, as the public sector strive to make the process transparent and fair to all, with a desire to work with SMEs and to make the process accessible for smaller companies.