The first step in evaluation is a review of formal requirements, which is also called the ‘administrative requirements’ of the proposal. This involves confirming that the bid was submitted as required by the RFP, checking that powers and signatures are valid, and confirming that the bid complies with a number of general legal requirements. These may include checking that there are no unresolved issues with the tax authorities or that there are no impending prosecutions for corruption or a fraudulent act. The absence of any such issues means that an organization is sometimes referred to as being in “good standing”. These checks must be carried out before the evaluation (in strict terms) of the proposal is made.
In two-stage processes, these reviews will be part of the pre-qualification process and will then be re-checked at the RFP stage.
While the initial compliance check will identify obvious issues (such as missing signatures or missing parts of the bid), more subtle non-compliance issues might only be identified during the evaluation itself (for example, a technical proposal that omits some requirements, or an alternative bid where these were excluded). The RFP and the evaluation manual should document the process for dealing with such issues.
When there are errors that may be regarded as “remediable”, it is customary to give the bidder an opportunity to correct them. This should always be limited to immaterial errors and not basic elements of the proposal. If the bids are made public under transparency principles, any errors and the corrections should also be made public.