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  • Accreditation

    External recognition that you meet certain standards. This can be general (for example, your quality assurance system if you have one) or specific to a particular activity such as aspects of health care.

  • Added Value

    Features and benefits that you offer which exceed the specification for the contract.

  • Appraisal

    A detailed assessment of the general capacity of a contractor, supplier or service provider to meet certain pre-determined criteria or standards.
  • Approved List

    A list of approved suppliers, contractors or service providers who have been pre-selected (usually through a tendering process) and from whom goods and services must be procured.
  • Award

    The issue of an order or contract to a supplier as a result of a competitive tendering/bidding process.
  • BAFO

    Best and Final Offer – The detailed and fully priced offer submitted by a respondent for a contract, which represents their lowest price.

  • Best Practice / Good Practice

    Proven and documented working practices that provide optimum operational performance within a specific business environment e.g. “best in field”.
  • Bid

    A formal proposal to supply goods or services at a specified price, usually describing how the contract requirements will be met. See our Bid & Tender Writing Services for more details on how we can help you win that bid.
  • Bid Library

    A database of model answers, case studies, policies and procedures for the purpose of tendering. The library should be maintained and updated according to evaluator feedback. A good bid library both saves time and improves the quality of a company’s submissions.
  • BV

    Best Value – The Government’s alternative to the old Compulsory Competitive Tendering (CCT) system. The principles make clear that the duty of best value applies to all local authority services. The framework to put it into effect should promote local accountability and continuous improvement in service performance.
  • 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.
  • Competitive Contract Addendum

    Notification showing changes, amendments or cancellation of a published Competitive Contract Notice.
  • Competitive Dialogue

    A variation of the negotiated process, now available under new European Union Rules, that allows different options to be discussed before a particular solution is selected. It can be used in complex contracts where technical solutions are difficult to define or where the buyer needs the best solution to be developed.
  • Consortium

    An unincorporated group of firms or individuals which has been formed with a view to pooling their strengths and resources to win contracts that they would not be able to in their own right.
  • Constructionline

    For public sector contracts in construction – the UK’s register of local and national construction and construction-related contractors and consultants The subscription involves pre-qualifying and so is used by many public sector buyers to select suitably qualified (local) suppliers.
  • Contract

    A binding agreement to perform a certain service or provide a certain product in exchange for valuable consideration, usually money.
  • Contract Documents

    Documents incorporated in the enforceable agreement between a public sector body and a contractor, including contract conditions, specification, pricing document, form of tender and the successful tenderers responses (including method statements), and other relevant documents expressed to be contract documents (such as correspondence etc.).
  • Contract Notice

    A notice published in OJEU, announcing a public sector organisations intention to let a contract for specific goods or services, and explaining the type of procurement process to be used.
  • Contract Notice Award or Competitive Contract Notice Award

    Published details of the company(s) which have been awarded a public sector contract subject to Competitive Contract Notice (see above).
  • Contract Notice Opportunities

    These are formal calls for competition for public sector contracts and are classified by procedure type: Open Procedure / Restricted procedure / Negotiated Procedure.
  • Contractor

    Someone (a person or entity) who enters into a binding agreement to perform a certain service or provide a certain product in exchange for valuable consideration, usually money.
  • Core competencies

    What an organisation does well – its key business – as opposed to other products or services that it can or could offer.
  • Corporate Governance

    An organisation‟s system of rules, procedures etc used to manage and fulfil its legal, financial and ethical obligations.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility

    CSR – The Government sees CSR as the business contribution to our sustainable development goals. Essentially, it is about how business takes account of its economic, social and environmental impacts in the way it operates – maximising the benefits and minimising the downsides.
  • CPV

    Common Procurement Vocabulary (Codes) – Codes used throughout the European Union to generically describe products or services. The use of CPV codes by public sector purchasers to define their requirements in a Contract Notice is mandatory. CPV codes can also be used in Non-OJEU Contract Notices as a means of classifying expenditure.
  • Culture

    An organisation’s management, ethics, style and values.
  • Debriefs

    Giving positive, constructive feedback to competing suppliers on their performance at certain stages of the procurement process. It affords an opportunity for a supplier to improve performance in the future. In public sector procurement, a debrief is a legal obligation from the public body. There is no such obligation in private sector procurement.
  • Default

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

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

    Promoting equality and diversity is a duty the entire UK government take very seriously, and is a responsibility shared by all government departments.
  • e-Procurement/e-Tendering

    The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) defines e- Procurement as “The term used to describe the use of electronic methods in every stage of the purchasing process from identification of requirement through to payment, and potentially to contract management.” OGC specifically identifies that electronic enablement of the purchasing process can include e-Sourcing, e-Procurement and e-Payment (including e- Invoicing).
  • Equal opportunities

    The practice of ensuring that all employees and users of services receive fair and equal treatment. Also see Diversity.
  • Equality

    Equality is about making sure people are treated fairly and given fair chances. Equality is not about treating everyone in the same way, but it recognises that their needs are met in different ways.
  • EU Rules

    The Public Contract Regulations 2006.
  • European Union Regulations (EU Regs)

    There are rules and regulations set by the European Union with regard to procurement for public sector organisations – these rules and regulations are set to protect suppliers and must always be followed by all public sector organisations.
  • Evaluation

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

    Discussion with a pubic sector organisation to find the reasons for success or failure of a tender so as to learn how to respond effectively in future.
  • Firm Price

    A price which is not subject to variation.
  • Framework Agreement

    An arrangement where a purchaser selects suppliers and fixes terms and prices for a period in advance (often 3 years), and then calls on the suppliers to deliver as and when required. There is never a guarantee of work even if you are part of a framework agreement.
  • Freedom of Information Act

    The act creates a general right of access, on request, to information held by public authorities (Schedule 1 of the act sets out a long list of the authorities covered by the act).
  • IEO

    Initial Expression of Interest- High value public sector contracts are advertised via Find a Tender or Contracts Finder and usually start with asking parties interested in bidding to write and express their interest in bidding. This is different to a Periodic Indicative Notice (or Prior Information Notice). See also PIN.
  • IIP

    Investors in People -The Investors in People Standard is a recognised (audited) standard showing the use of the IIP business improvement tool designed to advance an organisation’s performance through its people.
  • Innovation

    Genuinely new ideas for products, services, processes, systems and social interactions – typically giving benefits to the contract.
  • Invitation to Tender (ITT)

    A formal communication from a public sector organisation to a supplier inviting it to submit a tender. The ITT will usually also include a specification for the contract, instructions for submitting the tender, and the terms and conditions, which will govern the contract once it is active.
  • ISO

    International Standards Organisation – An international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards bodies producing world-wide industrial and commercial standards. We can help you become ISO Certified, visit our ISO Certification services page for more information.
  • Joint Ventures

    JV – A formal or informal partnership created to achieve a specific aim – typically to win a tender or PFI, PPP etc.
  • Letter of Acceptance

    A letter that creates an immediate binding contractual relationship between the Council and the successful tenderer prior to entering into a formal contract.
  • Letter of Intent

    A letter informing a successful tenderer that it is the Council’s intention to enter into a contract with them in the future but creates no liability in regard to that future contract.
  • Master Vendor

    The primary supplier who will manage the project using a range of sub- contractors or sub-suppliers and who is accountable to the end client for the overall performance of the contract.
  • MEAT

    Most Economically Advantageous Tender – The optimum combination of whole life costs and benefits assessed against pre-determined evaluation award criteria which will normally be detailed in the Invitation to Tender (ITT) or equivalent documentation.
  • Method Statement

    The document used in a tender process which sets out questions for the suppliers to answer which helps the purchaser or procurement officer to understand how the goods or services will be delivered.
  • Mission Statement

    A short statement that describes the purpose of an organisation, why it exists and its aims. Also see Vision.
  • NDA

    Non-Disclosure Agreement – A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a confidentiality agreement, confidential disclosure agreement (CDA), proprietary information agreement (PIA), or secrecy agreement, is a legal contract between at least two parties that outlines confidential materials or knowledge the parties wish to share with one another for certain purposes, but wish to restrict access to. It is a contract through which the parties agree not to disclose information covered by the agreement.
  • NSV

    National Supplier Vocabulary (Codes) – CPV numbers have been specially developed by the European Union for public procurement. Their main purpose is to provide a standardised vocabulary to help procurement personnel properly classify their contract notices (in the Official Journal of the European Union – OJEU) and to aid suppliers find the notices which are of interest to them.
  • Official Journal of the European Union (formerly OJEC)

    OJEU – The publication in which all high-value public sector contracts in the EU must be advertised. (Also see TED).
  • Open Procedure For high-value public sector contracts (see OJEU)

    Suppliers can apply without prior selection i.e. going through a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (see PQQ). The EU Directives lay down the type of criteria which can be used to eliminate unqualified or unsuitable supplier.
  • 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 a failure by that subsidiary to fulfil and complete its obligations and liabilities under a contract.
  • Partnership

    A cooperative relationship between people or groups who agree to share responsibility for achieving some specific goal.
  • Periodic Indicative Notice, Prior Information Notice

    PIN – An advance warning of a public sector contract to be tendered at some time in the future. The issue of a PIN does not guarantee that a contract will be placed. This is different to an Initial Expression of Interest (See also IEO).
  • Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ)

    A questionnaire used by public sector organisations to check the suitability of suppliers and shortlist the ones to be invited to tender. For further assistance please visit our PQQ Writing Services page.
  • Procurement

    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.
  • PSA

    Preferred Supplier Agreement – An arrangement between a corporation and supplier in which, in return for discounts or other advantages, the corporation requires its employees to source goods and services directly from that supplier only.
  • PSL

    Preferred Supplier List – A list of suppliers maintained by an organisation from whom they will procure goods and services and which excludes all suppliers that are not on that list. Placing on the list will normally be as a result of completing a tender process.
  • Public Sector Organisation

    A public sector organisation provides or manages public sector services for government.
  • Quality Assurance (QA)

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

    A less formal written offer to supply goods or services, with the supplier offering the price. This is often used when considering lower value public sector procurement.
  • Request for Tender

    Same as invitation to tender.
  • Restricted Procedure-For high-value public sector contracts (see OJEU)

    Suppliers are selected by an open first-round invitation eg a PQQ (see Pre-qualification Questionnaire). Any prospective supplier can apply to be included in the restricted list for the contract. Those suppliers who then meet the required criteria or “qualify” will then be invited to tender. NB This is the most common type of tender for high-value contracts.
  • RFI

    Request for Information – An alternative term for PQQ.
  • RFP

    Request for Proposal – A formal request for a proposal – can range from a simple proposal to a complex tender.
  • RFQ

    Request for Quotation – Similar to RFP (above).
  • Selection Criteria

    The factors that a public sector organisation will take into account when deciding which tender to accept. Usually some factors will count for more than others.
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA)

    Like a contract, but often less formal, and not normally binding in law. Often used between 2 public sector organisations, or between 2 different departments of the same public sector organisation. A local authority may have SLAs set up by the computer department to provide computers and maintenance to all other departments within the whole authority.
  • Shortlist

    A list of suitable prospective suppliers that has been drawn up through a preliminary evaluation exercise for a particular contract or procurement activity.
  • SMEs

    Small and Medium-sized Enterprises – SMEs are firms that employ less than 250 people and have a turnover of less than €50m.
  • Specification

    A description of the essential technical requirements for goods or services to be delivered under a contract, including the method for checking that the requirements have been met. Value for Money Public sector organisations strive to achieve “value for money” and this is not necessarily the lowest price.
  • Stakeholders

    Individuals, groups or organisations that are affected by and/or have an interest in a particular issue or organisation e.g. customers, partners, employees, shareholders, owners, government, and regulators.
  • Standstill Period

    Once the buyer has announced who it intends to award the contract to, a “standstill period” will follow. This is when suppliers can ask for feedback on the award decision and also challenge the decision if they wish to.
  • Sub-contracting

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

    In simple terms, working with suppliers to achieve mutual goals – as opposed to “them and us”.
  • Supply Chain

    The flow of resources into and out of the enterprise’s collective operations e.g. an IT supply chain is the flow of resources into and out of its IT operations. The chain can be said to start with the suppliers of your suppliers and ends with the customers of your customer.
  • Sustainable Development

    A widely used and accepted international definition is: development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ e.g. the environmental and social impact of today’s actions that may affect the ability of future generations.
  • Sustainable Procurement

    The application of sustainable development principles to procurement (see above).
  • Tender / Tendering

    A formalised process of bidding for work or contracts. See ITT.
  • Tier 1 Supplier

    An organisation at the top of the supply chain providing goods or service directly to the end client – also known as the Main Contractor.
  • Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment)

    TUPE – These regulations are designed to protect the rights of employees in a transfer situation e.g. when there is a change in supplier (often when contracts are tendered) or when a facility is first outsourced. This enables affected employees to enjoy continuity of employment keeping the same terms and conditions. TUPE 2006 entirely replaces the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 (SI 1981/1794) which have often been referred to as the TUPE regulations.
  • 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).
  • Values

    Represent the beliefs within an organisation and are demonstrated through the day-to-day behaviours of its employees.