Policy Policy

The University's Procurement Policy requires 'sealed bid tenders' to be obtained for all proposed purchases of Goods and Services, where the estimated value is in excess of £25,000. Funding Bodies may require the 'sealed bids' procedure to apply at lower values. The following procedure is to ensure that all Spending Units adopt a uniform process in the receipt, opening and recording of tenders.

Invitation to Tender Invitation to Tender

Invitations to Tender should clearly state the address and reference to be quoted on the return envelope, together with the closing date and time for receipt of tenders.

If the tender return date is subsequently extended, all tenderers must be advised, by e-mail, or in writing of the revised date and time and the Return Label altered accordingly.

Receipt of Tenders Receipt of Tenders

On receipt, tender envelopes must NOT be opened in the normal post. Envelopes should be stamped with the date of receipt and stored in a secure cupboard, drawer or safe. If a tender is accidentally opened, it should be re-sealed and a note made on the envelope of the action taken.

See under 'Exceptional Actions' for circumstances where faxed, telephoned or e-mailed tenders may be considered.

Tender Panel Tender Panel

The Head of Spending Unit will appoint a person to be responsible for convening a tender opening panel. This person will be independent of the contract award and ordering process (eg School Administrative Officer).

The tender panel shall, as a minimum, include the above-mentioned person or deputy (who should be independent of the contract award and ordering process) and the person inviting tenders. Where central services are inviting tenders on behalf of other Spending Units, the client Spending Unit should also be invited to send a representative.

For tenders where the estimated value exceeds £500,000 an independent witness from  Finance Division should also be included on the tender panel.

Tender Opening Tender Opening

The Tender Panel shall convene within one working day of the closing date for return of tenders. A member of the Tender Panel will collect the unopened tender envelopes from secure storage and the panel shall assemble, preferably in a room where they can be undisturbed.

If the number of tenders received does not equate to the number invited (allowing for any declines), the panel must decide whether to proceed with the opening or not. A decision to delay opening would be appropriate if there are insufficient tenders to provide true competition. See under 'Exceptional Actions' for options available in these circumstances.

Each envelope should be opened in turn and the tender date, name of the tenderer, tender sum(s) and delivery time recorded on the Schedule of Tenders. All pages containing prices should be date stamped and initialled by a member of the Tender Panel. When all tenders have been recorded, each member of the Tender Panel should sign the Schedule of Tenders. The purpose of this procedure is to record the tender as submitted, there should be no attempt to rank tenders or decide who will get the business.

Where more than one copy of a Tender is submitted the Tender Panel should ensure that the tender sum(s) on each copy are identical. One copy should be marked 'Master Copy' and retained by the person responsible for the tender exercise, this will form part of the contract documentation.

A copy of the completed Schedule of Tenders should be sent to the Purchasing Office.

Late Tenders Late Tenders

Tenders received after tenders have been opened will be treated as 'Late Tenders'.  On receipt of a Late Tender, the Tender Panel shall reconvene (with the original members if possible) and the Late Tender opened and recorded on the Schedule of Tenders as described above, but clearly marked as a Late Tender.

Late Tenders will not normally be considered and the tenderer should be so informed.  However, if the tenderer dispatched the tender so as (in the normal course of events) to arrive by the closing date and time, the Head of Spending Unit may allow the tender to rank for consideration. This decision and the reasons for it should be recorded on the Schedule of Tenders and signed by the Head of the Spending Unit.

Exceptional Action Exceptional Action

The purpose of sealed-bid tenders is to obtain the best possible price by competition, whilst ensuring that tenderers are treated equally and fairly. In exercising any judgment under this heading, staff must ensure that they do not treat any tenderer unfairly, even at the expense of the final cost to the University.

In the event that tender opening has been delayed due to an insufficient number of tenders having been returned by the due date, the Tender Panel shall:

  • contact all tenderers to determine which have submitted tenders and, in particular any that may be 'in transit'; and

  • based on the above, delay opening for up to one working day, to allow for any late delivery; or

  • opt to accept a tender by fax or by e-mail so that the tender opening can go ahead, provided that the tender in question is already in transit and that this can be demonstrated (by postmark or courier collection note). In this case the faxed or e-mailed tender must be opened before the other tenders; or

  • extend the return date and time for all tenderers (allowing tenders already submitted to be revised) for such period as is necessary to enable an adequate number of tenders to be obtained. NB: this may involve a revision of the specification and/or additional tenderers.

The Head of Spending Unit may allow a Late Tender to rank for consideration, if:

  • there is evidence that the tender was posted prior to the tenders having been opened; or

  • there are other circumstances which justify the tender being considered, provided that it is clear (from the tender price or otherwise) that the late tenderer was not aware of other tender prices. If tender prices are close, the Late Tender should normally be disqualified; and

  • the reasons for allowing a Late Tender should be recorded on the Schedule of Tenders and any evidence (envelope, etc) should be attached.

Links Links

Forms Forms

Schedule of Tenders (Word)

Contract Award over £25,000 form (Excel)


Procurement Guidance Note No.3