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Tendering and Awarding the Contract

68. Specific Matters on Managing Dialogue and Interactive Processes: Managing the Dialogue Period and One-on-One Meetings

In addition to the need to select or pre-select the candidates in a short list (see chapter 5.6.4), the competitive dialogue processes (and other interactive processes) have a number of particular and common issues.

These relate to the special stage of interaction or dialogue where the technical requirements and commercial drivers of the contract are discussed or even proposed by the prospective bidders (the latter being the case with competitive dialogue in the EU).

  • The interaction process itself (meetings, information to be submitted beforehand, feedback from the candidates, and so on) has to be managed well in terms of time.
  • Confidentiality has to be managed concurrently with fairness of the process and transparency.
  • In competitive dialogue, changes to the basic specifications and/or the basic business terms have to be respected. However, these must clearly be identifiable as improvements.
  • Due to the small number of short-listed bidders, specific situations such as a bidder withdrawing from the tender process are critical in these type of processes.

These and other matters are treated in detail in the main guides available internationally. While most of them are tailor-made for specific markets, many of the issues described and the solutions proposed are useful for any process in any country which contemplates this type of process within their legal or policy PPP framework[7]. A decision to use competitive dialogue or another highly interactive process should only be made after carefully assessing whether the procuring authority has the capability and capacity to effectively manage such a complex and intensive process.

Detailed below is some basic information on managing meetings with individual bidders, which are a key feature of this type of process[8].


[7] Australia’s National PPP Guidelines (2011), Volume 2: Practitioners’ Guide, appendix E provides extensive information on management issues in interactive tender processes. The joint United Kingdom’s (UK’s) Office of Government Commerce/HM Treasury Guidance on Competitive Dialogue (2008) also provides information on key issues during the dialogue stage in its section 5.3.

[8]How to Engage with the Private Sector in Public-Private Partnerships in Emerging Markets, PPIAF, World Bank – Farquharson, Torres de Mästle, and Yescombe, with Encinas (2011) includes an interesting case study that explains the process followed in the tender of a hospital in South Africa (see page 126). The tender process was based on a two-stage process with significant interaction and dialogue (including one-on-one meetings) with the short-listed consortia before bid submission. The case study illustrates, among other things, how sound governance of the tender process is essential, including a structured evaluation process leveraging separate evaluation teams and internal and external scrutiny that ensured a high level of transparency.

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