Which Regulations apply?

The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 apply to all procurement procedures commenced on or after 26 February 2015. Broadly speaking, the date that the procurement is first advertised will be the date that it is “commenced” for these purposes. For more detail, please see new regulation 118.

> Download Public Contracts Regulations 2015 guide

Unsuccessful bidder letter

An unsuccessful bidder letter is the decision notice sent out to all unsuccessful suppliers once the evaluation decision has been made. The despatch of valid unsuccessful bidder letters, together with award letters to the successful supplier(s), represents the start of the important standstill period. As such, it is important to get this right in order to manage the legal risk of a challenge and to avoid unnecessary delay to the award of the contract.

It is important that the descriptive section of the letter where bidders are informed of the relative advantages and characteristics of the winning bid is drafted in a way that is bespoke and individual to each unsuccessful bid. Including the same standard paragraph for each unsuccessful bidder is unlikely to meet the requirements for unsuccessful bidders to be afforded a clear understanding of the ways in which the winning bid scored more highly than their own.

The unsuccessful bidder letter should be sent to all unsuccessful suppliers except those who have previously been notified of their exclusion from the process and the reasons for it (e.g. at the PQQ stage).

This letter can be adapted for use for procurements regulated by both the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 (PCR 2006) and the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR 2015). Procurements commenced before 26 February 2015 will be regulated by the PCR 2006. Procurements commenced on or after 26 February 2015 will be regulated by the PCR 2015. Accordingly, when using this document, you will need to delete references to the regulations which do not apply to your procurement. For these purposes, a procurement will be “commenced” when:

  • A contract notice has been sent to the Official Journal in order to invite offers or requests to be selected to tender for or to negotiate in respect of the proposed contract or framework agreement; or
  • The contracting authority has had published any form of advertisement seeking offers or expressions of interest in the proposed contract or framework agreement, or
  • The contracting authority has contacted any supplier in order to (i) seek expressions of interest or offers in respect of the proposed contract or framework agreement; or (ii) respond to an unsolicited expression of interest or offer received from that supplier in relation to the proposed contract or framework agreement.

Note that this document is a template and will require tailoring to add the relevant detail. In particular, note that where there is more than one successful supplier (such as a framework agreement with multiple suppliers) the unsuccessful supplier letter must contain the relevant information for each successful supplier.

The letters to unsuccessful bidders and award letters should all be despatched at the same time.

> Download the unsuccessful bidder letter (Microsoft Word document)

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