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Tendering and Awarding the Contract

66.3. Clarifications of the Contract and RFP

It is good practice for the procuring authority to allow requests for clarification of the contract and the RFP, but the procuring authority should retain discretion about whether to respond. The procuring authority should provide a response wherever this will assist bidders to provide a better bid and not undermine the RFP process.

A clarification in the true sense does not amount to a material change in the RFP or the draft contract; it merely removes ambiguity or uncertainty in the mind of bidders as to the meaning of those documents. Clarifications are important to ensure that bidders correctly interpret the government’s requirements.

Responses should be made available to all potential bidders and will usually be regarded as part of the RFP package (good practice). However, they will not prevail over the original text of the RFP unless the original text is specifically amended[6].

[6] Note that in
some two-stage processes, if allowed by the procurement rules, it may be appropriate
to only provide a response to the bidder who asked the question, as the
question and response may relate specifically to that bidder’s proposal and may
be irrelevant to other bidders. Where this option is allowed, great care must
be taken in its application to ensure that a response provided to only one
bidder does not give that bidder an unfair advantage.

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