What information must our OJEU advertisement include?
Everything that is in the standard form OJEU notice – all fields are mandatory save where not applicable.
If a contracting authority is publishing an OJEU notice on a merely voluntary basis (for example, in relation to a Part B services contract) it is common to include a statement in the OJEU notice that, while the contracting authority has decided to advertise on a voluntary basis, does not represent a commitment to follow one of the four official procurement procedures. However, even where this statement is included, we would recommend that in practice the contracting authority aims to follow one of the four contract award procedures.
When do I need to place the advert?
This depends on which procedure you are using. For open – the contract must be advertised at least 52 days before the closing date for responses; restricted, negotiated and competitive dialogue – at least 37 days before the closing date for expressions of interest. These timings may be reduced, eg, where the OJEU notice is submitted via electronic means. Key procurement timescales are set out in our timescale tracker.
Do I need to publish the advertisement anywhere else other than the OJEU?
If your organisation is part of central government (including departments, their agents, agencies, all Non-Departmental Public Bodies, Trading Funds and National Health Service bodies) and the value of the contract is over £10,000, then the contract will be subject to the government's new transparency regime. Amongst other things, this requires tender documents (i.e. the OJEU advert, the PQQ, the ITT) to be published on a "Contracts Finder" portal at the appropriate stage of your procurement process. Please see our Q & A section on Transparency for more information.
What contract value should we put in the OJEU notice for a framework agreement?
This should be your best estimate of the likely total spend under the framework.
Can I amend an OJEU notice once it is published?
Yes, but where any material changes are made the dates for responding to the OJEU notice should be extended to allow the relevant minimum timeframe following the date on which the amendments are submitted to the OJEU. An official form must be used to notify the OJEU of any amendments.
Do we have to advertise contracts that are: (1) under the relevant threshold; (2) where the contract is for Part B services; or (3) public concession contracts? If so, where should we advertise?
The Regulations themselves do not require advertisement of Part B services, concession or under-threshold contracts. However EU guidance states that the general principles of equality of treatment, non-discrimination and transparency require contracting authorities to consider the likely cross-border interest in the contract and ensure that it is opened up to an appropriate degree of advertising/competition accordingly. An OJEU notice will be deemed to meet this requirement, but appropriate forms of more targeted advertising (eg, in trade journals) may also be appropriate.
What is a PIN?
A PIN, or Prior Information Notice, is a notice published in the OJEU which sets out a contracting authority's purchasing intentions. It does not oblige the contracting authority to proceed with a procurement process, but informs the market that they should expect a procurement to be commenced within the next 12 months. Publishing a PIN is not mandatory unless the contracting authority is seeking to use a PIN to reduce procurement timescales.
What is the point of publishing a Prior Information Notice (PIN)?
Where a valid PIN has been published at least 52 days and not more than 12 months in advance of a contract notice, the contracting authority may shorten the timescales under both the open and restricted procedures. The shortest possible timescale available (without having to justify using an accelerated procedure) can be achieved by having a PIN in place, and ensuring that the OJEU notice and contract documents are in electronic form. The impact of a PIN on key procurement timescales is set out in our timescale tracker.
Do we need to publish a PIN?
It is no longer a requirement of the legislation that contracting authorities always have to publish PINs where their requirements are expected to exceed the relevant thresholds. PINs only need to be used when a contracting authority wishes to take advantage of the shorter timescales that the timely publication of a detailed PIN will allow. The impact of a PIN on key procurement timescales is set out in our timescale tracker.
What information should we include in our PIN?
The information to be included depends upon the type of contracts being listed in the PIN. For supply contracts it is the total estimated spend under the relevant contracts over the next 12 months for the relevant type of goods. For services it is the total estimated spend under the relevant contracts in each category of Part A services as listed in the Schedule to the Regulations. For works it is the essential characteristics of each covered works contract which is expected at that time to be awarded.
Where a contracting authority intends to use the PIN to reduce the timescale for an open or restricted procedure for a particular contract, the PIN must include all the information that would normally be provided in the contract notice to the extent that it is available at the time the PIN is submitted.