How to run a further competition for schools
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How to run a further competition for schools

31 January 2022 By Megan Grimshaw – Procurement Projects Advisor at YPO

School worker using computer

We understand that setting up or renewing contracts at your school can be daunting if you’ve never done it before. In this blog, we’ll provide you with some top tips on how to run a further competition to help keep things simple and easy to understand.

What is a further competition?

This is where you’ll set out your requirements and allow suppliers appointed onto a framework or dynamic purchasing system (DPS) to give you their best solution and competitive pricing for what you need. By letting all suppliers come forward to bid for your work, you’re creating fair competition between them, which where the name comes from. It’s also sometimes known as a ‘mini competition’.

You’ll also set out award criteria questions that the suppliers will need to answer as part of their bid. The price and quality aspects will then be pulled together and you’ll evaluate the answers and award the winning supplier to the contract.

So, you’ve decided that using a framework is the best way for you to renew or set up a new contract for a service. But how exactly does a further competition work?

 

Stage 1 – Prepare

Do your research on the market of the service you’re looking to source and determine exactly what you want to achieve from the contract.

  • Build up a detailed description of everything you’re looking for
  • Decide how long you want your contract with the supplier to last. Is it a one-off purchase or a long-term arrangement?
  • Think about your internal stakeholders and who might need to be involved in the process, make sure they’re onboard and have time allocated to help you with the evaluation
  • Do The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) apply? If so, make sure to give notice to your current supplier and request the TUPE data in good time

TIP: If you’re not sure where to start, we can work with you to start the process. We can run supplier engagement exercises to help you build your specification if needed.

 

Stage 2 – Build your documents

We have a portfolio of templates and examples that you can use to build your further competition documents.

The main elements of a further competition are:

  • Specification
  • KPIs
  • Pricing schedule
  • Mandatory requirements
  • Award criteria

We can help build your documents and we’re there every step of the way to provide you with support and answer any questions that you may have.

TIP: Make sure you don’t go overboard with the award criteria questions. You’ll need to evaluate every question for each supplier that submits a bid!

 

Stage 3 – Issue your documents

Once your documents are ready to go, we will:  

  • Upload the documents to the e-tendering portal on your behalf
  • Manage any clarifications that come through from suppliers

Site visits

Depending on the service that you’re procuring, it’s often a good idea to allow suppliers to attend a site visit to get a better understanding of what’s needed and so they can see the premises.

TIP: Make sure you give the suppliers enough time to respond to your further competition. The more time the better, as you’ll get more (and better quality) responses.

 

Stage 4 - Evaluation

Once the deadline for submissions has passed, we’ll send the supplier responses to you.

We have template evaluation documents that you can use, which are really useful and will calculate the scores and weightings for you.

When evaluating the suppliers’ responses, make sure you don’t deviate from the award criteria that you previously set in order to be fair and transparent and avoid any challenges.

TIP: Make detailed notes during your evaluation and reasons for the final score so you can give feedback to the suppliers.

 

Stage 5 – Contract award

You’ll now be able to identify a winner from the scores you’ve given at the evaluation stage, and it’s time to notify all the suppliers of the result.

The best way to do this is by letter. We have template notification letters for you to complete and we can upload these to the portal on your behalf.

We recommend that you allow a 10-day standstill period before entering into a contract with the winning supplier. This gives suppliers a chance to ask for any feedback.

TIP: Try not to communicate with the suppliers during the standstill period. Any communication throughout the process should be directed through the e-tendering portal in order to be fair and transparent, and for audit purposes. 

 

And that’s it! Once the standstill period has passed you can begin your contract with the winning supplier.

If you’re still unclear on a how a further competition works, or need to ask questions about anything else with regards to contracts for schools, please get in touch: [email protected]

Categories: Education , Frameworks

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