Before you release the tender documentation you should develop a tender evaluation plan to outline key aspects of the evaluation criteria and process. The tender evaluation plan may form an attachment to the project plan or the procurement plan. The evaluation criteria set out in the tender evaluation plan will need to be reflected in the tender documentation. It is important that evaluation criteria are settled prior to the release of the tender to maintain probity and ensure tenderers are aware of how responses will be evaluated.
Guidance on the evaluation process and selecting of a contractor is available.
The tender evaluation plan should set out the:
- tender evaluation criteria, including identifying any mandatory pass/fail criteria and, where relevant, any associated weightings of the evaluation criteria
- evaluation methodology and how each criterion will be evaluated
- key compliance items, such as confidentiality agreements and conflict of interest forms
- the tender evaluation process, including:
- the proposed overarching governance and approvals for the evaluation process, including any discipline-focused sub-panels reporting to the evaluation panel
- membership within each evaluation panel and project committee involved in the evaluation process
- supplementary resourcing and advice, such as technical experts required to assess certain criteria
- which evaluation committee members will have access to what information
- how each evaluation criterion will be assessed and scored.
If the procurement process involves two phases, such as an expression of interest (EOI) followed by a request for tender (RFT), you should outline the evaluation criteria and processes for each phase separately within the evaluation plan.
Evaluation criteria will need tailoring to the specific project. This will help ensure that the evaluation process results in the selection of the most appropriate tenderer.
Buying for Victoria outlines a set of suggested general evaluation and project-specific criteria that may be useful in helping shape the evaluation criteria within the tender evaluation plan.
Additionally, you will need to address mandatory evaluation criteria which may include criteria relating to:
Local Jobs First Policy
You will need to check whether the project has any mandated evaluation criteria under the Local Jobs First Policy. Mandatory evaluation criteria and weighting under this policy may include the following:
- 10% for industry development, including commitments made in relation to the Victorian Industry Participation Policy as outlined in the local industry development plan
- 10% for job outcomes (for Major Project Skills Guarantee applicable projects, the 10 per cent weighting will include commitments to providing opportunities for apprentices, trainees and cadets).
Social Procurement Framework
Projects that require compliance under the Social Procurement Framework (SPF) should include the following as evaluation criteria:
Evaluation criteria (5 to 10 per cent weighting) to favour businesses whose practices support social and sustainable procurement objectives. Further guidance on SPF criteria and evaluation is available. To understand the appropriate Social Procurement Framework weighting range to apply to an evaluation, contact your representative at the OTCD for further guidance.
Occupational Health and Safety
The role of an evaluation panel is to make sure the responses are given an objective and fair evaluation. The tender evaluation plan should outline the evaluation panel (and any discipline-focused sub-panels for more complex projects), including identifying where specialised skills are required to assess the evaluation criteria. At this stage, you will need to determine if you are likely to require external support from the consultancy team, to ensure the evaluation panel has access to, and are informed by, the appropriate skills and expertise required to assess the project.
Depending on the project’s specific requirements, an evaluation panel typically comprises 3–5 people with the following expertise:
- understanding of the functional requirements
- technical specialists
- financial and commercial expertise
- legal expertise.
Each panel member should:
- understand the skills, knowledge and expertise required to ensure a robust evaluation
- be available to participate over the evaluation process timeline
- complete a conflict of interest declaration and sign a confidentiality agreement
- maintain confidentiality by avoiding discussing any part of the process with colleagues or anyone else outside of the evaluation panel.
Depending on the project’s scale and complexity, you may wish to appoint external advisors, or have sub-panels assisting with the evaluation analysis, to advise on particular aspects of tenderers’ responses. External advisors and sub-panels are not generally members of the evaluation panel. Where sub-panels are utilised, it may be important to ensure that information is not shared between sub-panels, for example, the pricing of the proposal versus the technical solution proposed.
The tender evaluation plan should detail the evaluation process you will undertake once you receive responses from the tenderers.
The evaluation process should consider:
- initial screening – the evaluation process may commence by filtering responses that do not meet the mandatory requirements or are clearly not competitive. Responses that do not pass the minimum screening do not need to proceed to a full evaluation
- separation of evaluation activities – to ensure an objective evaluation, you may consider a process that separates the pricing and commercial from technical evaluation activities. For example, a process where panel members reviewing a technical design response do not see the tenderers’ pricing response
- the process to seek clarification of responses
- value-for-money assessment
- shortlisting processes (if relevant)
- referee checks, interviews or demonstrations that the TAFE may require of shortlisted tenderers (if relevant)
- notification and debriefing of unsuccessful tenderers.