4.3.2. Drafting and content of the tender dossier

Tender documents must be carefully drafted to ensure that both the contract and the procurement procedure are carried out correctly.

Tender documents must contain all the provisions and information that tenderers need in order to submit their tenders: the procedures to follow, the documents to provide, cases of non-compliance, award criteria, etc. When the contracting authority is the European Commission, it may be desirable to involve representatives of the final beneficiaries in preparing the tender at an early stage. See section 2.6. for guidelines on drafting Technical Specifications.

Technical specifications must afford equal access for candidates and tenderers and not have the effect of creating unjustified obstacles to competitive tendering. They specify what is required of a product, service or material or work to achieve the purpose for which they are intended. The specifications include:

a) a clear definition of the tasks to be performed;

b) minimal quality levels;

c) environmental performance;

d) wherever possible, accessibility criteria for people with disabilities or design for all users;

e) levels of and procedures for conformity assessment;

f) fitness for use;

g) safety or measurements, including, for supplies, the sales name and user instructions, and, for all contracts, terminology, symbols, testing and test methods, packaging, marking and labelling, production procedures and methods;

The contracting authority is responsible for drawing up these documents.

Given the technical complexity of many supply contracts, the preparation of the tender dossier -particularly the technical specifications - may require the assistance of one or more external technical specialist(s). Each specialist must sign a Declaration of Objectivity and Confidentiality (see Annex A3).

As with terms of reference for service contracts, particular attention must be paid to drafting the technical specifications. They are the key to successful procurement, a sound supply contract and a successful project.

The technical specifications state - where applicable, lot by lot - the exact nature and performance characteristics of the supplies. Where applicable, they also specify conditions for delivery and installation, training and after-sales service.

It is essential that the performance characteristics suit the intended purpose. If there needs to be an information meeting or site visit to clarify technical requirements where the supplies are to be installed, this should be specified in the instructions to tenderers, together with the arrangements.

The purpose of the technical specifications is to define the required supplies precisely. The minimum quality standards, defined by the technical specifications, will enable the evaluation committee to determine which tenders are technically compliant.

Unless warranted by the nature of the contract, technical specifications referring to or describing products of a given brand or origin and thereby favouring or excluding certain products are prohibited. However, where products cannot be described in a sufficiently clear or intelligible manner, they may be named as long as they are followed by the words 'or equivalent'.


The tender dossier must be approved by the European Commission. The standard practice is also to consult and obtain the approval of the beneficiary country, and where appropriate of other parties involved.


The contracting authority must submit the tender dossier to the Delegation of the European Union for approval prior to issue.


No prior approval of the tender dossier by the European Commission is required.


A. Instruction to Tenderers

B. Draft Contract, Special Conditions and Annexes (incl. Technical Specifications)

C. Further Information

D. Tender Form for a Supply Contract

See the standard format in Annex C 4.

The tender dossier must clearly state whether a firm, non-revisable price must be quoted. The prices should normally be fixed and not subject to revision, but in specific cases a price revision clause might be justified. If that is the case, the tender dossier must lay down the conditions and/or formulas for revision of prices during the lifetime of the contract. In such cases the contracting authority must take particular account of:

a) the object of the procurement procedure and the economic situation in which it is taking place;

b) the type of tasks and contract and their duration;

c) its financial interests.

A tender guarantee assures the Contracting Authority that submitted tenders will not be withdrawn. If the contracting authority deems a tender guarantee to be appropriate and proportionate, it may request it, representing 1% to 2% of the overall value of the contract. The contracting authority shall return the tender guarantee as foreseen in point at the end and 4.3.10. and release it

  • -  to the unsuccessful tenderer(s) once the tender procedure has been completed, and

  • -  to the successful tenderer once the contract has been signed. The contracting authority shall call upon the tender guarantee if a tender submitted by the final date for submission is subsequently withdrawn.

According to the applicable rules, guarantees (pre-financing and/or performance guarantee) could be required or not. If so, this must be mentioned in the tender dossier.