An award letter is the decision notice sent out to all successful supplier(s) once the evaluation decision has been made. The despatch of a valid award letter, together with letters to unsuccessful suppliers, represents the start of the important standstill stage in the procurement process. As such, it is one which it is important to get right in order to manage the legal risk of a challenge and to avoid unnecessary delay to the award of the contract.
There are the following general points to bear in mind when drafting an award letter/decision notice to be sent to the successful bidder(s):
- Make sure that the letter does not imply that the contracting authority accepts the offer made by the supplier, as any such acceptance is likely to be binding, and this is not appropriate until the standstill period has expired
- Make sure the notice does not amount to a representation by the contracting authority that it will definitely proceed to accept the supplier’s offer provided that there is no legal challenge during the standstill period
- Given that the contracting authority is likely to be entering into contractual relations with the successful bidder, the aim is to draft the award notice in a positive way that gives encouragement and comfort to the successful bidder, while at the same time ensuring that the contracting authority does not commit itself to any binding legal obligations at this 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 award letter must contain the relevant information for each successful supplier.
The award letters and letters to unsuccessful bidders should all be despatched at the same time.
> Download the award letter (Microsoft Word document)