Who are the key players in this journey from project conception to RFT release? What are their roles and who has ultimate authority for deciding which tenderer wins the contract and who has to wait for another day?
The procurement section:
Government departments often have a core area that oversees their procurement policies and procedures. These staff can develop the tender documents or provide advice to the individual work groups who are responsible for procuring the products or services.
The project team:
Depending on the size of the project this could be an individual or it could be a team comprising full time staff and contractors. This team will do the grunt work of consulting with stakeholders to identify their requirements, drafting the tender documents together and administering the project. Some departments outsource this work to specialist consulting firms.
Chair of the TEP:
This role usually requires someone with a degree of experience in government procurement. They will usually be a member of the project team and could also be the contact officer noted in the RFT. They will manage the evaluation of tenders and generally write the evaluation report. The Chair could be either a full time member of the department’s staff or an external contractor brought in for this specific purpose.
This role could be a technical expert or a procurement expert who is engaged to sit on the TEP and bring a level of objectivity to the evaluation process. They are also the department’s way of being able to demonstrate to any critics that any decisions were transparent and unbiased. From Whence they Come — The Origins of the Tender Winning Government Tenders
The membership of the TEP will often comprise technical experts and representatives of divisions within the department that are stakeholders in the project. Members of the TEP usually play no part in developing the tender documents, other than the Chair, and revert to their daily jobs once the evaluation process is complete.
The delegate is the final decision maker on who wins the tender. They are usually a member of senior management and play no role in the evaluation process.
The probity advisor is often, but necessarily, a lawyer, although they do need to be an expert in government procurement. They help the TEP interpret the probity plan and procurement guidelines and apply them to the project. They have no voting role in deciding which tender wins and which loses.
The legal advisor will advise the TEP on matters relating to the draft contract such as risks associated with a tenderer’s partial compliance or non-compliance with certain clauses. This role may be filled by the department’s internal legal staff or outsourced to an external legal firm.