Tender and quotation procedure

Intent

The Tender and Quotation Procedure describes the methodology employed by the University that governs the selection of vendors to deliver goods or services to the University. The procedure is intended to facilitate the delivery of value for money in an open, fair and competitive environment that manages risk.

The objective is to select the right external business partners that will enable the delivery of tangible outcomes for the University. The procedure aims to drive purchasing spend aggregation by limiting the number of vendors and realising commercial benefits whilst maintaining the appropriate level of service delivery.

Scope

The procedure applies to all University vendor selection activity (regardless of source of funds) including those undertaken by Foundations, Centres, Controlled Entities (as defined by the Universities Controlled Entities Policy), and any other entity, which has entered into an agreement with the University, requiring compliance with the University’s policy and associated procedures

Exclusions

No exclusions with the Group Procurement Policy Framework

Procedure steps and actions

Preamble

IMAGE – Tender and quotation

Figure 1

This procedure details how the University will approach the selection of vendors within a tender process to ensure the optimum Vendor or combinations of Vendors are selected.

The Tender and Quotation Procedure forms part of a group of policies and procedures which work together to ensure the optimum ongoing outcome for the University governed by a set of principles:

1. Value for money, being the functional and commercial benefits compared to the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) including environmental, social and sustainable considerations;

2. Open, fair and effective competition

3. Accountability to ethical behaviour and fair dealing

4. Probity and transparency

    a. Probity is the evidence of ethical behaviour in a particular process.

    b. Probity is defined as complete and confirmed integrity, uprightness and honesty. It contributes to sound procurement processes that afford equal opportunities for all participants. A good outcome is achieved when probity is applied with common sense. Probity should be integrated into all procurement planning, and should not be a separate consideration.

5. Risk management.

The University’s Strategic Sourcing & Procurement (SS&P) function is responsible for ensuring that the University selects, contracts and manages vendors appropriately. All Strategic procurement activity will be led by SS&P using the Tender and Quotation Procedure and the Sourcing Manual.

Procedure (including key points)

Responsibility

Timeline

Strategic Selection of Vendors

The procedure calls for the following steps to be completed through a 4 stage gateway process:

    Stage 1 – Development of Requirements

    Stage 2 – Procurement Plan

    Stage 3 – Public or Select Tender

    Stage 4 – Contract Negotiations and Award

The Group Procurement Policy requires public tenders for all vendor engagements with a total contract value greater than $150,000 (Goods and Services) and $200,000 (Building, Infrastructure and Equipment), inclusive of GST. The contract value is defined as the annual direct cost to the University multiplied by the term of the contract including all extension options.

SS&P Category Manager

Category Plan

Stage 1 – Development of Requirements

The Business Unit will produce a Statement of Requirement (SOR) that will be used by the Category Manager to:

    1. Develop the Procurement Plan;

    2. Request a draft contract from Legal Services Group;

    3. Create the RFX documentation to potential vendors.

The SOR will follow the “Guidelines for Specification Writing” that recommends best practice in developing requirements that fully inform vendors of what the University seeks to procure and where accountability lies between the parties to ensure delivery and performance.

An appropriate Business Unit executive must approve an SOR before it is used in a procurement process.

Business Owner, supported by SS&P Category Manager

Before the Procurement Plan is developed

Stage 2 – Procurement plan

The Category Manager and the Business Unit will define a market strategy that delivers the requirements as defined by the SOR, in a Procurement Plan.

Evaluation panel members are named in the Procurement Plan and must be selected based on the value they add to the selection including technical expertise, business knowledge and stakeholder knowledge.

The Procurement Plan will include the following key aspects:

  • Business requirements
  • Sourcing objectives
  • Sourcing strategy to deliver on objectives
  • Tender approach
  • Selection criteria, weightings and evaluation methodology
  • Risk management (including use of a probity auditor if applicable)
  • Evaluation panel membership

The Procurement plan will be presented by SS&P in line with the Delegated Authority for approval prior to a Request for Tender (RFT) being released to the market, as follows;

Step 1: Endorsement

  • All Procurement Plans are to be endorsed by the Deputy Director, Strategic Sourcing and Procurement, prior to moving to the approval stage.

Step 2: Delegated Approval

  • Up to the Financial Delegation of the Executive Director of Financial Services - Executive Director of Financial Services
  • All Procurement Plans above the Financial Delegation of the Executive Director of Financial Services, or where there is a limited market approach by inviting 4 or less vendors, and the estimated expenditure is above public tendering thresholds – Vice-President of Resources.

SS&P Category Manager

Before a tender is released

Stage 3 – Public or Select Tender

The tender process is documented in The Procurement Sourcing Manual that provides a step-by-step guide to conducting a tender that is compliant with probity requirements. When selecting a vendor from an approved panel the governance rules specific to that panel must be observed. These rules are established at the time of appointing the panel and will be a part of the contract documents.

The following steps must be carefully observed by the Evaluation Panel:

  • Evaluation Panel briefing
    • Probity compliance including declaration of conflict of interest.
    • Understanding of evaluation criteria and weightings.
    • Understanding of assessment methodology.
  • Open or Select tender as approved in the Procurement Plan
  • Evaluation of bids as approved in the Procurement Plan
  • Moderation and recommendation for negotiation stage.

The SS&P Category Manager will maintain records of all proceedings and will document any deviations or concerns in the probity report.

All related documents (paper and electronic) must be stored in SS&P drives and released under controlled process to evaluation members for review and must be returned, destroyed or permanently deleted once this stage is completed.

The Procurement Governance team must periodically audit tenders for compliance to this policy and procedure.

SS&P Category Manager

Procurement Plan timing

Stage 4 – Contract negotiation and Award

The Category Manager will lead negotiations with the approved shortlist of vendors and address the specific items raised in the moderation session.

Negotiations will be conducted with due consideration to optimising the outcomes for the University whilst maintaining its reputation for fair and equitable dealings. Negotiations will address all aspects detailed below:

  • Compliance to RMIT contractual terms and conditions.
  • Performance based Service Level Agreement.
  • KPIs that effectively measure performance to contract.
  • Penalties for under performance and incentives if appropriate.
  • Payment terms, including bank guarantees for upfront payment.

The contract included in the tender must document in detail the final agreed service or good provision for all tendered items.

Final approval will be sought from the delegated authority to Award the contract and must follow the prescribed format in the Sourcing Manual to ensure that the organisation is duly informed of all aspects of the process and decision.

The successful vendor will be informed of the final decision by SS&P after approval is obtained from the delegated authority and the contract signed.

Unsuccessful shortlisted vendors must be notified and offered an opportunity for a process debrief.

SS&P Category Manager

Procurement Plan timing

Requests to waive tender or quotation requirements

Exemptions to a Public Tender should only be considered in exceptional circumstances, based on merit and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding competition.

An exemption granted from the requirement to tender as specified in this procedure, should also specify the market approach deemed appropriate under the circumstances (e.g. An exemption from public tendering may be granted on the condition that a selective tender is undertaken). Delegations for granting such exemptions are set out in the delegations matrix.

Factors taken into account when approving an exemption include:

  • Matters of extreme urgency including public health, security or safety as a consequence of an unforeseen event or occurrence.
  • Direct contact with a supplier of choice may be appropriate where no tenders or quotations were submitted or submissions did not deliver critical requirements.
  • For additional delivery of goods and services that are restricted due to their need to be interoperable with existing equipment or services.
  • An absence of competition for technical reasons or where specialist expertise is required and this has been justified.
  • An extension to building contract works by way of variations whereby use of another building contractor may void warranties, create industrial problems or compromise compatibility / continuity with the existing contract / installation.
  • When a tender requirement under this policy has not been followed and for continuity of service, a temporary extension of a contract becomes necessary (which is not specified in the expiring contract) and an acceptable timeline to follow the process is provided.

A tender waiver must be approved prior to any alternate market approach being undertaken. Please consult with SS&P regarding the procedure for submitting formal Tender Waiver requests.

The Delegation schedule allows for Tender Waivers to be approved by roles other than SS&P under the following circumstances:

  • An approved vendor is utilised from an established panel
  • It is only for operational expenses with no existing contractual commitments in place.
  • SS&P is informed of the waiver being applied, within 10 RMIT working days of the approval.

Strategic Sourcing & Procurement must provide a quarterly report to the Procurement Review Board and the Audit and Risk Committee for noting of Tender Waivers and selective tendering approaches that have been approved.

Financial Delegation of Authority

As justified

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