Introduction to EU Procurement Directives Introduction to EU Procurement Directives

For Public Authorities such as the University EU procurement directives cover the purchase of supplies, works and services. These are enacted in UK law in Statutory Instruments: The Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

The Directives are designed to open public spending to suppliers from across the European Union and as such imposes an obligation on buyers to advertise their requirements, use European standards and to treat all prospective suppliers in the same objective manner, irrespective of nationality.

Failure to comply with the detailed processes contained in the directive can lead to any prospective supplier applying to the High Court for damages, an injunction to stop the award process, or even to invalidate or terminate a contract that has already been awarded.

Process when your requirement is above £181,301 Process when your requirement is above £181,301

Before proceeding you must have confirmed that:

1. Contact Procurement 1. Contact Procurement

The Procurement team must be informed where the proposed purchase value exceeds £25,000 (ex VAT). This is designed to:

  • ensure that the University obtains best value for money by the appropriate use of the professional purchasing expertise available in the Procurement team

  • record savings made through good procurement practice

  • demonstrate to existing and potential funding bodies that the University is making good use of their money

The Procurement team will talk the buyer through their requirement and determine if, how and when a tender procedure should be undertaken. A brief overview of the procedures are below.

Procedures Procedures

There are five procedures that we can use for each of the directives:

  • Open procedure where all suppliers, interested in the contract and who meet the criteria set out in the contract notice, can submit tenders.

  • Restricted procedure where we select suppliers to tender, based on objective criteria, and only they may submit tenders.

  • Negotiated procedure where authorities may negotiate the terms of a contract with one or more suppliers of their choice.  This procedure can only be used in certain justified circumstances.

  • Competitive Dialogue procedure which, in particularly complex procurements, allows for post-tender negotiations with (a minimum of 3) tenderers.

  • Dynamic Purchasing Systems which require an e-procurement system to be established for the receipt of tenders and the award of contracts.  UEA does not currently have access to such a system.

UEA will normally use the Restricted Procedure.

2. Creating the Tender 2. Creating the Tender

A tender specifies the university's requirement to potential suppliers. The tender is structured in a specific way consisting of several documents that can include:

Tender Document Function
UEA Terms and Conditions the terms and conditions of the contract between UEA and the supplier. Procurement have standards Terms and Conditions to be used in most circumstances.
Invitation to Tender (ITT) invites interested businesses to participate in the tender and gives instructions of how businesses can bid
Specification detailed description of exactly what the University requires
Supplier Response document where bidders can answer UEA's questions. These questions are aimed at identifying with prospective bidder offers the best value and quality to the University.
Pricing document where the supplier can submit the price of their bid.
Evaluation Guidance guide for the supplier identifying how UEA will determine which supplier offers the best value for money made up of quality and price


Procurement will support staff members in developing these documents. However, the specification is a document that procurement can only support with regards to structure. The buyer must be able to clearly identify their requirement.

3. Invite Suppliers to bid 3. Invite Suppliers to bid

Procurement will release the tender documents on the University's e-procurement system In-Tend. The tender will be released to the market inviting suppliers to submit formal offers for UEA's requirement.

Tenders could be open to the market for anywhere between 30 and 70 days. Therefore staff should factor these timescales into their requirements.

A deadline will be sent with the tender documentation requiring any prospective suppliers submit their bid by a specific time and date.

Timescales Timescales

All timescales stated are minimum periods 

Open Procedures

52 days (36 days) for the receipt of tenders

Restricted Procedure

37 days for receipt of requests to participate
40 days (26 days) for the receipt of tenders

Negotiated Procedure

37 days for the receipt of requests to participate

Standstill (all procedures)

10 days between rejecting unsuccessful tenders
and awarding the contract to the successful tenderer

The number of days may be reduced to those shown in ( ) where you have issued an indicative / prior information notice (PIN). Organisations are required to publish as soon as possible after the beginning of their financial year the intended total procurement which they envisage awarding during the subsequent 12 months where the total estimated value is not less than £513,166 for Services and Supplies. A PIN should be issued as soon as possible for Works contracts.

4. Evaluate Suppliers' Bids 4. Evaluate Suppliers' Bids

After the submission deadline an evaluation panel consisting of the relevant staff must evaluate all submissions. Evaluation will be based on the evaluation document released with the tender and mentioned in step 2 above.

The evaluation process will identify the best value supplier whom will be awarded the contract.