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EU Tendering Overview

The EU procurement route most commonly adopted by The British Library is the “Restricted” procedure in which potential contractors expressing an interest in tendering are pre-qualified using a predetermined matrix of selection criteria (PQQ stage). A shortlist is then drawn up for the sole purpose of inviting tenders (ITT Stage). Following evaluation of tenders and a statutory 10 day stand-still period contract award is completed

OJEU Notice

The OJEU notice gives details on information that must be submitted by the supplier or on how to receive the necessary documentation to express an interest in being invited to tender

Notices are published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). All current British Library OJEU notices are available to view on the Opportunity Listing page at

Prequalification (PQQ)

In order to reduce numbers to a manageable level for the purposes of tendering expressions of interest from potential suppliers are subject to a process of prequalification

Potential suppliers must demonstrate their financial, commercial and technical capabilities to fully meet the contractual requirements under tender by completing a Prequalification Questionnaire (PQQ)

We also take account of a company's past performance and experience with reference to contracts of a similar nature, both with the Library and other organisations

Additionally we look for clear demonstration of commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, equal opportunities in employment, environmental issues and health and safety where appropriate

Invitation to Tender (ITT)

When PQQ evaluation has been completed an appropriate number of selected suppliers will be invited to submit tenders against a full set of requirements.

A British Library tender will usually include the following electronic documents:

  • Instructions to Tenderers

Detailing the administrative procedures, evaluation criteria and critical dates applicable to the tender

  • Specification of Requirements

Setting out the details of the requirements under tender

  • Form of Tender

Including the pricing schedule to be completed by the Supplier

  • Terms and Conditions

Describing the contractual terms under which the required goods, services or works will be provided

Submission of Tenders

The precise format of the response expected from suppliers will usually be detailed in the ITT

Generally suppliers will be expected to submit a comprehensive written response to the Library’s specification of requirements along with a form of tender detailing costs

Publication of invitations to tender and supplier responses are all carried out online via the Library’s e-tendering website at

Evaluation of tenders

In order to preserve the integrity of the competitive process it is imperative that the evaluation of proposals is undertaken objectively, consistently and without bias towards particular suppliers

Prequalification evaluation is undertaken against a predetermined matrix of selection criteria

Tenders are evaluated against a predetermined set of evaluation criteria. Scoring and weighting of criteria is determined at the same time the tender is compiled

The relative weightings attributed to evaluation criteria will be communicated to potential suppliers for all procurements carried out under the EU Public Procurement Regulations

The British Library will only award a contract to the supplier(s) it considers to offer the best value for money. For this reason the main evaluation criterion for EU tenders will be the "most economically advantageous tender" as determined by the criteria set out in the tender documents. The award criteria will vary depending on the type of contract

The British Library may ask for references from previous customers, bankers and business information companies and in some cases arrange inspection visits to the company and/or its work sites or premises

Award of contract

An evaluation team will examine each tender received and make recommendations as to which tender represents best value for money. At contract award the successful and unsuccessful tenderers will be notified

Unsuccessful tenderers may obtain feedback through written application to the British Library. Since January 2006 a ruling for all procurements carried out under the EU Public Procurement Regulations requires a 10 day stand-still period between the notification of the successful tenderer and the contract award

A contract award notice will be placed in the OJEU within 48 days of the contract being awarded

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