3.3.4. Award criteria

The contract award criteria serve to identify the best value for money. These criteria cover both the technical quality and price of the tender.

The technical criteria allow the quality of technical tenders to be assessed. The two main types of technical criteria are the methodology, and for fee-based contracts, the curriculum vitae (CV) of the key experts proposed. The technical criteria may be divided into sub-criteria. The methodology, for example, may be examined in the light of the terms of reference, the optimum use of the technical and professional resources available in the partner country, the work schedule, the appropriateness of the resources to the tasks, the support proposed for experts in the field, etc. CVs may be awarded points for such criteria as qualifications, professional experience, geographical experience, language skills, etc. The tender evaluation committee is required to ensure that any methodology submitted by the tenderer complies with the requirements of the terms of reference. The methodology may add to the requirements of the terms of reference but must in no way detract from them.

Each criterion is allotted a number of points out of 100 distributed between the different sub-criteria. Their respective weightings depend on the nature of the services required and are determined on a case-by-case basis in the tender dossier as indicated in the evaluation grid.

The points must be related as closely as possible to the terms of reference describing the services to be provided and refer to parameters that are easy to identify in the tenders and, if possible, quantifiable.

The tender dossier must contain full details of the technical evaluation grid, with its criteria and sub-criteria and their weightings.

There must be no overlap between the selection criteria used to draw up the shortlist and the award criteria used to determine the best tender.

Abnormally low tenders

Contracting authorities can reject tenders that appear to be abnormally low in relation to services concerned.

However rejection on that ground alone is not automatic.

The concerned tenderer must be asked, in writing, to provide details of the constituent elements of its tender, notably those relating to compliance with employment protection legislation and working conditions in the location of the contract, such as the service provision process, the technical solutions chosen or any exceptionally favourable condition available to the tenderer, the originality of the tender.

In view of the evidence provided by the tenderer, the contracting authority decides on whether to reject the tender or not.

Both that decision and its justification must be recorded in the evaluation report.