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Tendering and Awarding the Contract

614. Oversight / Integrity of the Tender Process

Some governments provide for independent oversight of the tender process while it is occurring to ensure that it is fair and transparent.

For example, governments in Australia and New Zealand appoint a probity practitioner to ensure that a transparent and robust process is followed at all times. The probity practitioner is independent of the project team and is responsible for monitoring the bidding process and for assessing and reporting on whether the process has been conducted to the required standards.

Probity practitioners typically have legal or accounting backgrounds, and they are appointed on a project-by-project basis. They are able to receive any complaints or concerns raised by bidders during the process so that the issue can be dealt with at that time rather than exposing the project to a challenge later when an award is made. They attend all of the critical stages of the evaluation process, such as the opening of the bids and the meetings of the evaluation committee, and at the conclusion of the evaluation they confirm that it has taken place in accordance with the applicable requirements. The Philippines is introducing a similar process for large projects.

In many countries, auditors-general also have a role, conducting ex-post audit reviews of the conduct of PPP tender processes.

A further measure to protect the integrity of the tender process is to place the onus on bidders to avoid corrupt practices and to ensure that, if a bidder engages in corrupt practices, the terms of the tender process allow the procuring authority to take remedial action such as:

  • Cancelling the bidder’s appointment as preferred bidder or contractor
  • Calling any bid bond
  • Suing for damages to recover from the bidder the costs of the procuring agency as a result of the corrupt conduct, including the costs of re-running the procurement process if necessary.
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