Frequently Asked Questions
What role does the Commission follow in its public procurement?
The European Commission is bound by the same Directives on Public Procurement that apply in the Member States. As a general rule, any contract for services or supplies above a certain estimated value (currently €60 000) has to be awarded through calls for tenders.
In the JRC, purchases are generally made through open calls for tenders under the Service or the Supply Procurement Directives. This ensures the widest possible competition among suppliers from all around the world.
Direct negotiations with possible suppliers are restricted to very specific circumstances, and usually to amounts below the threshold mentioned. Contacting the Commission directly in order to propose goods or services is therefore not a useful course to follow.
What is the average time from the publication of the contract notice to the award of the contract?
This process normally takes from 6 to 9 months.
This period is not entirely dependent on the JRC department publishing the notice. Some if the delays are prescribed by the Public Procurement Directives (minimum time between publishing online the Tendering Specifications and the reception of offers - in order to give tenderers sufficient time to respond).
What is the difference between the "prior information notice" and the "contract notice"?
The prior information notice only expresses the Commission's intention to launch an open call for tenders for such and such supply and/or services or works.
The delay between the prior information notice and the contract notice varies in each case. If the prior information is not followed by the contract notice within one year, a new notice of prior information could be published.
The contract notice is considered as the starting point of the call for tenders procedure. It gives more details on the market and practical information concerning the deposit of tenders (i.e. final date for receipt of the offer, information visits, opening of the offer, etc).
How much time do we have to deposit our tender after the publication of the contract notice?
The exact final date for receipt of tenders is stated in the contract notice and in the CFTW webpage where the call is announced.
In the case of particularly complex contracts, the contract notice may specify a longer period than normal.
How is the tender evaluated ?
The assessment of tenderers and offers will take place in 4 main stages. The procedure will be as follows:
- Exclusion of tenderers
- Selection of tenderers
- Evaluation of offers
- Award of the contract
The assessment will be based on the information and documents provided by the tenderer. In addition, the Commission reserves the right to use any other information from public or specialist sources. All the information will be assessed against the criteria specified in the appropriate section of the tendering specifications.
Only offers meeting the requirements of a particular stage will pass on to the next stage of the assessment.
What about the opening of the offers?
All tenders under the open procedure will be opened in public at the date, time and place specified in the contract notice and/or the covering letter. If you or your company submitted an offer, you or one person representing you can attend the opening, together with the other tenderers who so wish. It is not obligatory to attend the opening of the offers.
I submitted an offer for a call for tenders. Can I get information on the evaluation? When will the final choice be communicated?
During the evaluation period, no information on the evaluation can be provided. It is useless to call, fax or E-mail the administrative department or the contact point given for the submission period.
Only after the whole evaluation procedure has been finalized will the tenderers be informed in writing about the outcome, either positive or negative. After signature of the contract, the result of the award of the contract will be published in the Official Journal.
What kind of contracts does the JRC usually sign?
The JRC usually signs supply contracts, services contracts, works contract, supply and maintenance contracts and framework contracts. In this last case, as the name suggests, the contract sets up the frame of the contractual relation between the Commission and the contractor. It must be stressed that the framework contract itself does not constitute an order. Orders are placed by specific contracts.
What is a specific contract?
A specific contract is an order for a specific delivery, or series of deliveries. It is the implementation stage of a framework contract and generally indicates the details of this stage (quantities, places and time of delivery, etc).
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