In the EU, if you are a Public Procurement body, then, for procurements over the relevant EU threshold, you have to issue an OJEU notice, which will be placed in the Official Journal of the European Communities. This notice, which informs the public on the progress of an official competitive procurement, typically takes the form of a Prior Information Notice (PIN), Contract Notice, Contract Award Notice, or a Cancellation Notice. Each notice must meet certain requirements in addition to meeting the needs of the organization. The OGC site provides suggested content for the Contract Notice, as well as a fitness for purpose checklist, but not much advice on actual drafting.
A recent article over on SupplyManagement.com provides some good pointers on how to draft a clear, concise notice that will leave no room for challenges that anyone involved in EU public procurement should at least scan as challenges can significantly delay projects while costing a considerable amount of public dollars.
Some of the good pieces of advice it contains include:
- if the length or scope of the contract may be extended during award, say so specifically in the notice (as this can be a grounds for all participants to challenge an award),
- use clear language — SI agrees with Dick Locke (who has an entire state on his side), who did some blogging on international contracting, and recommends language that can be clearly understood by a high school student,
- shortlisting must be specified as this is another basis for bidders to challenge an award,
- make sure the contact person can be reached and, finally,
- specify a realistic timeframe. If you take too long, it opens up the opportunity for legal challenges from suppliers who didn’t even bid because they might have had they known the process was going to take longer.