2.7.3 Determination of Technical Specifications

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Any evaluation strategy must begin with the project specification. The specification (or brief) provides a description of what the contracting authority requires, and or what the supplier is expected to tender for and, if successful, deliver. It should include performance targets or criteria for goods, services or work acceptance. The specification should also provide bidders with details of how the tender is to be objectively evaluated.

Preparing the specification is an essential step in the procurement cycle and is crucial to the success of procurement. It will often determine how successful you are at acquiring the goods and services required to the correct standard, on time, and within the value for money framework.

The specification needs to strike a balance between giving enough information to be certain that suppliers will offer what you need, and being flexible enough to allow a  supplier to submit a  compliant, innovative, BVFM solution, that fully meets your business needs. A specification should be unambiguous so that the product or service fully meets the user's business needs, but not so explicit that it prevents or discourages the supplier from proposing innovative solutions, or offering better value for money. It must be prepared using language that is consistent and understood within the specific sectors in which the procurement is required.

If you feel that you do not have the knowledge to create a specification then consider the use of a specialist. It is quite often the case that an effective procurement team is a combination of professional procurement specialists along with technical and financial experts.

The extent of the specification can vary from a few paragraphs to several pages and should take account of the following:

estimated indicative budget
strategic importance
risks involved & possible transfer of risk
Innovation required
Availability of external standards
Potential life of the contract

If any one of the above issues is “high” it is likely that a more extensive brief or specification will be required.

If the specification is wrong, inadequate or overtly explicit it may result in one or more of the following:

a suitable bidder is precluded from bidding or submitting quotes
the requirements are wrongly or variously interpreted
tender submissions are unsatisfactory
difficulty in evaluating bids
incorrect or unsuitable goods and services are offered/supplied
best value for money is not achieved
considerable costs and losses incurred
adverse publicity or a poor public image created
Delay in or non delivery of projects.


© 2007 Republic of Cyprus, Treasury of the Republic, Public Procurement Directorate
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