3.2.3.2 Determining the qualitative selection criteria

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The purpose of the qualitative selection stage is to verify the existence of the characteristics and capacities which the Contracting Authority deems that the economic operator must possess in order to be able to participate in the tender procedure conducted, being thus considered as potentially capable of performing the contract.

This stage involves the determination of the minimum requirements which the Contracting Authority may require from economic operators (i.e. inasmuch as it shall be deemed that these requirements are necessary in order for the economic operators to be considered as potentially capable of performing the contract) regarding their personal situation, necessary experience and equipment, appropriate organisation and financial condition.

The qualitative selection criteria must vary, depending on the conditions established in the case of each contract. In any case, the discretion of the Contracting Authority in this respect is not limitless, as it must conform to all relevant provisions of the Community law as transposed to the law of the Republic of Cyprus by Laws 12(I)/2006 and 11(I)/2006 and, primarily, to the basic principles defined by the Treaty regarding the right of establishment and of free provision of services.

The authors of the tender documents must know that the qualitative selection criteria refer to, and concern, the situation of the economic operators and not their tenders. They must also take into account that the specification of excessively lax or, in other cases, excessively strict qualitative selection criteria may cause problems in the next stage of evaluation of tenders for the appointment of contractor.

As an example, it could be mentioned here that in the case of public contracts for projects involving services of an intellectual nature, where the contents of the technical offers of candidate economic operators are essentially theoretical and selection of the most appropriate solution often hangs on the statements made rather than on hard evidence, determining strict requirements for participation in the tender procedure prevents the selection of a contractor who is unsuitable and, in the longer term, the likelihood of failure in achieving the objectives of the Contracting Authority. In contrast, in the case of contracts where the expected interest from the market is not high, or in the case of contracts where it would be fair or possibly desirable to allow participation of SMEs or of newly-established enterprises in order to stimulate the market, it might be advisable to determine less strict qualitative selection criteria.

The determination of qualitative selection criteria is required in all cases of contracts, regardless of whether the contract award criterion chosen is the most economically advantageous tender or exclusively the lowest price. Indeed, in the latter case, the determination of strict qualitative selection criteria in an accurate, thorough and unambiguous manner may play a decisive part in preventing the contract from being awarded to a contractor who is unsuitable.

Categories of qualitative selection criteria

The qualitative selection criteria can be grouped in the following four (4) categories:

1.Criteria for verifying the personal situation of candidate economic operators

Pursuant to the provisions of article 51 of the Coordination of Procedures for the Award of Public Works Contracts, Public Supply Contracts and Public Service Contracts and for Related Matters Law of 2006 {Law 12(I)/2006} (reference to which is also made in article 56(4) of Law 11(I)/2006 on the Water, Energy, Transport and Postal Services Sectors), the economic operators are excluded, or may be excluded, from participation in tender procedures for the award of public contracts, if they do not meet certain requirements, mandatory or, in some cases, optional (in the opinion of the Contracting Authority) regarding their personal situation.

These requirements, an exhaustive list of which is given in article 51 of Law 12(I)/2006, are the basic qualitative selection criteria which Contracting Authorities may use in the context of public procurement to verify the personal situation of candidate economic operators.

In addition to these criteria, “social criteria” may also be chosen as basic qualitative selection criteria, on condition that these are objective and that their use cannot lead to insufficiently justified exclusions. An example of such a criterion (which is one of the proposed qualitative selection criteria in Part A of the model draft tender documents), is the observance by the candidate economic operator of articles 138 and 182 of the International Labour Convention, which prohibit economic operators from employing or exploiting minors under the age of 15.

The criteria for verifying the personal situation of candidate economic operators are never marked and are not specified in terms of a range of values or of a numerical level which the candidate economic operator must exceed.

The Table below specifies the manner in which fulfilment of the criteria of this category is documented by economic operators. Readers are reminded that the model draft tender documents provide for the obligation of candidate economic operators to submit a specific declaration which shall accompany their tenders, while the Appendix to Part A. INSTRUCTIONS TO ECONOMIC OPERATORS specifies the certificates that the economic operator to which the contract shall be awarded is obliged to submit, prior to signing the contract, in order to confirm the validity of the previously submitted declaration.

 

CRITERIA CATEGORY 1:

PERSONAL SITUATION OF THE CANDIDATE/TENDERER

DOCUMENTATION METHOD

Absence of a final judgement against the economic operator for:

Participation in a criminal organisation, as defined in Article 2(1) of Council Joint Action 98/733/JHA.
Corruption, as defined in Article 3 of the Council Act of 26 May 1997 and Article 3(1) of Council Joint Action 98/742/JHA, respectively.
Fraud within the meaning of Article 1 of the Convention relating to the protection of the financial interests of the European Communities.
Money laundering, as defined in Article 1 of Council Directive 91/308/EEC of 10 June 1991 on prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering, as amended by Directive 2001/97/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council.

Extract from the “judicial record” or, failing that, of an equivalent document issued by a competent judicial or administrative authority of the country where the economic operator is established. This document must have been issued three months before the signature of the contract at the latest.

Where the country in question does not issue the above certificate, this may be replaced by a declaration on oath by the economic operator or, in countries where there is no provision for declarations on oath, by a solemn declaration made by the economic operator before a competent judicial or administrative authority, a notary or a competent professional or trade body, in the country where the economic operator is established.

Any economic operator must not:

Have been convicted by a judgment which has the force of res judicata of any offence concerning his professional conduct.
Have been guilty of grave professional misconduct proven by any means which the Contracting Authorities can demonstrate.

Any economic operator must not:

Be bankrupt or in the process of being wound up, have his affairs administered by the court, have entered into an arrangement with creditors, have suspended business activities or be in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure under national laws and regulations.
Be the subject of proceedings for a declaration of bankruptcy, for an order for compulsory winding up or administration by the court or of an arrangement with creditors or of any other similar proceedings under national laws and regulations.

An original Certificate issued by a competent administrative or judicial authority in accordance with the legal provisions of the country where the economic operator is established. This document must have been issued three months before the signature of the contract at the latest.

Where the country in question does not issue the above certificate, this may be replaced by a declaration on oath by the economic operator or, in countries where there is no provision for declarations on oath, by a solemn declaration made by the economic operator before a competent judicial or administrative authority, a notary or a competent professional or trade body, in the country where the economic operator is established.

Any economic operator must not:

Have failed to fulfil his obligations relating to the payment of social security contributions in accordance with the legal provisions of the country in which he is established or with those of the Republic of Cyprus.
Have failed to fulfil his obligations relating to the payment of taxes in accordance with the legal provisions of the country in which he is established or with those of the Republic of Cyprus.

An original Certificate issued by a competent authority of the country where the economic operator is established.

Where the country in question does not issue the above certificate, this may be replaced by a declaration on oath by the economic operator or, in countries where there is no provision for declarations on oath, by a solemn declaration made by the economic operator before a competent judicial or administrative authority, a notary or a competent professional or trade body, in the country where the economic operator is established.

In the case of public service contracts or public works contracts, an economic operators should be aware of and respect the obligations deriving from the provisions of the legislation on the protection of the employees and on working conditions currently in force in the Republic of Cyprus and applicable to the place of provision of the services or of execution of the works.

Completion and submission, together with the tender, of the relevant certification, in the format of the template contained in the Appendix to the model draft tender documents.

Information about the authorities and organisations responsible for issuing the above documents in the EU Member States is available from the following Webpage: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/.

The tender documents must provide that, in the case of a consortium, the criteria regarding the verification of the personal situation must be met by all consortium members. The same obligation must also be foreseen in the case of entities on whose capacities the candidate economic operator relies, pursuant to the provisions of article 53(2) of Law 12(I)/2006 (or the respective provisions of article 55(4) of Law 11(I)/2006).

2.Criteria for verifying the suitability of candidate economic operators to pursue professional activity

Pursuant to the provisions of article 52 of the Coordination of Procedures for the Award of Public Works Contracts, Public Supply Contracts and Public Service Contracts and for Related Matters Law of 2006, the Contacting Authority is entitled to require candidate economic operators to be enrolled on an official professional or trade register.

Use of this criterion is recommended in cases where enrolment of an economic operator on a professional or trade register may also serve as a criterion of the economic operators technical and professional ability (e.g. enrolment in a specific class under a category of projects at the Council of Registration and Control of Buildings and Civil Engineering Constructors in Cyprus, or at the Register of Contractors in Greece, in the case of public works contracts).

Instead of using this particular criterion, the Contracting Authority may limit its requirement to the verification of the proof of establishment and lawful operation of the candidate economic operator.

The Table below specifies the manner in which fulfilment of the criterion of suitability to pursue professional activity is documented by economic operators.

 

CRITERIA CATEGORY 2:

SUITABILITY TO PURSUE PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITY

DOCUMENTATION METHOD

Enrolment on a professional or trade register.

Certificate of enrolment of the candidate economic operator on a professional or trade register or declaration on oath regarding the pursuit of professional activity, issued by a competent Public authority or, in the case of economic operators established in countries other than the Republic of Cyprus, certificate issued by the competent authority of the country where they are established proving their enrolment on the registers of the relevant Chamber or their registration with equivalent professional organisations.

(Annexes VIIIA, VIIIB and VIIC of Law 12(Ι)/2006 list the professional or trade registers in each Member State for public works contracts, public supply contracts and public service contracts, respectively).

 

The Contracting Authority may provide in the tender documents that, in the case of a consortium, the obligation for enrollment on a professional or trade register must be met by all consortium members.

3.Criteria for verifying the economic and financial standing of candidate economic operators

Pursuant to the provisions of article 53 of the Coordination of Procedures for the Award of Public Works Contracts, Public Supply Contracts and Public Service Contracts and for Related Matters Law of 2006 {Law 12(I)/2006} (or to article 53 of Law 11(I)/2006 on the Water, Energy, Transport and Postal Services Sectors), the Contracting Authority may in a particular contract limit participation to candidate economic operators who meet specific criteria used to establish their economic and financial standing.

These qualitative selection criteria must be determined taking into consideration the requirements of the particular contract, as well as the capabilities of the specific market addressed by it and the need to ensure conditions of genuine competition.

Choosing particularly strict or complicated economic and financial standing criteria may have the opposite results than those intended, while it may also lead to diminished competition or even to inability of the competent evaluation body of the Contracting Authority to verify correctly their fulfilment. It is therefore appropriate and advisable to use them sparingly and limit them accordingly, especially in the case of ordinary contracts which are not particularly complex or are not characterised by a particularly high economic or technological or other value.

Once the appropriate economic and financial standing criteria for a particular contract have been chosen, the minimum limits for these criteria (e.g. minimum average annual turnover) should then be clearly specified: these limits will function as thresholds, and the candidate economic operators who exceed them will be deemed to meet the respective criterion. However, these minimum limits should be those objectively necessary to document the suitability of candidate economic operators in relation to the particular contract scope and/or the duration of its implementation.

The acceptable evidence to be used to document the fulfilment of these criteria by candidate economic operators may be one or more of those specified restrictively in the Law. It is understood that if, for any valid reason, an economic operator is unable, to provide the evidence requested, it may submit any other document(s) which the Contracting Authority is obliged to examine as to their suitability.

The Table below provides guidelines and examples (non-exhaustive) for determining the method to be used for documenting the fulfilment of the criteria in this category by candidate economic operators.

 

CRITERIA CATEGORY 3: ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL STANDING

DOCUMENTATION METHOD

Overall turnover.

The average annual turnover required from economic operators for the last three (3) financial years is recommended to vary between 100% and 500% of the annual project budget, with the higher per cent rate being chosen in special cases of complex projects that are of particular significance to the Contracting Authority. It is pointed out that the annual project budget is calculated by dividing the budget by the number of implementation years, while if the project implementation period is less than twelve (12) months, the comparison must be made against the total project budget.

Note: Depending on the particular case, the criterion chosen may be that of the overall turnover of economic operators or that of the turnover in activities similar to those of the contract. This last solution may be chosen when the contract scope is so highly specialised as to result in the serious likelihood of the overall turnover of candidate economic operators being shaped to a large extent by other activities of little to minimum relevance to the scope of the contract.

Pursuant to the provisions of the Law, the economic and financial standing of the economic operator may as a rule be demonstrated by one or more of the following supporting documents:

Audited financial statements or extracts of them, where the publication of audited financial statements is required under the company laws of the country where the economic operator is established.
A statement of the overall turnover and, possibly, of the turnover in the area covered by the contract for a maximum of the last three financial years, depending on the date on which the economic operator was set up or started trading, as far as the information on these turnovers is available.
Appropriate statements from banks or, where appropriate, evidence of relevant professional risk indemnity insurance.

The above supporting documents may be expanded by adding to them the audited financial statements and the auditors reports accompanying these, in the event that the criterion of annual operating results is chosen.

Reference to “appropriate” statements from banks as evidence without specifying them precisely, is unclear, and its inclusion in the tender documents is recommended only if the Contracting Authority is in a position to specify them.

In all cases, pursuant to the provisions of the Law, the tender documents must provide that economic operators who, for any valid reason, are unable to provide the evidence requested, may submit any other document(s) which the Contracting Authority is obliged to examine as to their suitability.

Annual operating results.

It is recommended to Contracting Authorities to require that the average annual operating results for the last three (3) years be positive.

Use of this criterion is recommended in cases of large projects (in terms of implementation duration as well as in terms of budget), as in such cases the need to assess the financial viability of the contractor in order to safeguard the successful completion of the project is imperative.

Various liquidity and financial structure ratios, as appropriate in each case.

Their use is recommended to be made sparingly, in cases of important large projects, where Contracting Authorities may wish to limit suitable candidates only to those for whom short-term and long-term financial stability may be substantiated.

Note: If use of these ratios is chosen, the Contracting Authority must specify in the tender documents the method for their calculation.

An example of the application of such a ratio is that of the “Solvency ratio”, which serves as measure of the long-term financial stability of the candidate economic operator.

If this specific ratio is chosen as qualitative selection criterion, then a relevant algorithm must be defined (e.g. the result of dividing the undertakings Capital by its Total Assets could be one such solvency ratio). Taking into account that, according to published statistical studies, medium-capitalisation internationally listed companies have, on average, solvency ratios of the order of 25% to 40%, the Contracting Authority might specify a minimum acceptable level of 15% for the qualitative selection criterion of the solvency ratio.

In the case of public works contracts, for example, the following ratios could be used:

the current ratio,
the interest cover ratio.

 

The tender documents must provide that, in the case of a consortium, it is sufficient for the economic and financial standing criteria to be met cumulatively by the consortium members.

It is understood that the tender documents must provide that in the event that the candidate economic operator relies on the capacities of other entities, pursuant to the provisions of article 53(2) of Law 12(I)/2006 (or the respective provisions of article 55(4) of Law 11(I)/2006), it must be able to prove to the Contracting Authority that it shall have at its disposal the resources necessary. To this end, the submission of e.g. solemn declarations by these entities, whereby they shall guarantee to the Contracting Authority that, should the candidate economic operator be appointed Contractor, they shall place at its disposal the necessary resources as appropriate, could be requested.

4.Criteria for verifying the technical and/or professional ability of candidate economic operators

Pursuant to the provisions of articles 54 to 56 of the Coordination of Procedures for the Award of Public Works Contracts, Public Supply Contracts and Public Service Contracts and for Related Matters Law of 2006 {Law 12(I)/2006} (or to articles 54 to 56 of Law 11(I)/2006 on the Water, Energy, Transport and Postal Services Sectors), the technical and/or professional ability of candidate economic operators constitute also qualitative selection criteria.

In order to decide that an economic operator possesses the technical and professional ability required for implementing the contract, i.e. that it has available the human resources, infrastructure equipment, quality assurance systems and experience which may be required, it is necessary to verify the fulfilment of specific criteria which the Contracting Authority must define in the tender documents, specifying in parallel the type of evidence that the candidate economic operator is required to submit in each case, in order to document the fulfilment of each criterion.

In appropriate cases of public service contracts and public works contracts, environmental criteria may also be determined as qualitative selection criteria. These criteria are included in the criteria for verifying the technical and/or professional ability of candidate economic operators.

It must be pointed out that, in certain cases, the environmental criteria related to the contract scope become equally important selection criteria as the criteria of quality or technical value of the tender. For example, when a Contracting Authority intends to award a contract for the implementation of a waste treatment plant, determining environmental criteria will allow the selection of the contractor to be made not only based on the pure economic benefit (lowest price) to the Contracting Authority, but also taking into account the general interests of citizens which, in this particular case, are to ensure minimisation of the impacts to the citys environment.

The requirement for applying environmental management measures or systems during the implementation of a public contract must be fully justified by the nature of the works and/or services under the contract.

For the purposes of specifying the technical and professional ability criteria, the Contracting Authority must specify minimum limits (e.g. minimum number of persons employed, minimum number of successfully completed similar contracts) and/or specific requirements (e.g. compliance with quality assurance standards or compliance with environmental management standards). These limits will function as thresholds, and the tenders of candidate economic operators who exceed them will be evaluated in the next stage.

In order to choose the technical and professional ability criteria, the Contracting Authority must take into account the particularities, characteristics and requirements of the specific contract for which it chooses them, without disregarding the need to ensure conditions of genuine competition or the key principles governing the selection of evaluation criteria and in particular the principle of proportionality.

Articles 54 to 56 of Law 12(Ι)/2006 provide an exhaustive list of the evidence used to demonstrate the professional and technical ability, which Contracting Authorities may use in order to the most appropriate ones, depending on the nature, quantity, objectives and overall characteristics of each contract.

The Table below provides guidelines and examples (non-exhaustive) for determining the method to be used for documenting the fulfilment of the criteria in this category by candidate economic operators.

 

CRITERIA CATEGORY 4: TECHNICAL AND PROFESSIONAL ABILITY

DOCUMENTATION METHOD

Experience in the implementation of projects with a scope similar to that of the contract.

Note: The Contracting Authority must specify) the number and type of services or activities for which it requires the availability of experience, by applying the following rules:

These services should be the same with those included in the contract scope or similar to them if it is estimated that experience in exactly the same services is limited in the market and there is a likelihood of diminished competition.
The requirement for experience in types of services or activities or works which represent a very small part of the contract scope or are of a low value compared to the anticipated overall result from the implementation project, should be avoided.

To document their relevant experience, candidate economic operators must submit with their tenders:

Α. In the case of public service contracts or public supply contracts:

A list of projects, in the format of the template contained in the Appendix to the model draft tender documents.
Evidence of successful implementation of the number of projects specified by the Contracting Authority from those in the abovementioned list, which the candidate economic operator has concluded and successfully completed during the last three (3) years. The tender documents must specify the minimum budget of these projects, which shall be expressed as a per cent rate of the budget of the contract, as well as the participation percentage of the candidate economic operator in the implementation of these projects. The following are recommended as such evidence:
If the Employer is a Public Entity, a relevant certificate issued by the competent Public Authority, or an acceptance certificate.
If the Employer is a private entity, a certificate from that private entity or, failing this, a simple declaration by the Tenderer in which the data of the contact person at the entity where the contract was executed must be given.
Β.In the case of public works contracts, as evidence of the experience but also of the overall technical and professional abilities of the economic operators, submission of the annual permit issued by virtue of the Councils of Registration and Control of Buildings and Civil Engineering Constructors Law, for the execution of projects of the class and category of the works under the contract or of a higher class. In the case of economic operators established in countries other than the Republic of Cyprus, submission of a certificate, as specified in Annex VIIA of Law 12(I)/2006 (Article 46 of Directive 2004/18/EC), proving their enrolment on a professional register of their country of origin may be required, provided that they also meet the conditions required for obtaining the annual permit mentioned for economic operators established in the Republic of Cyprus.

Notes:

The number of projects included in the list must be limited (it is recommended to limit this number to a maximum of ten projects), in order to avoid abuse by the economic operators who, in order to prove that they are overqualified in terms of experience, may present an excessively large number of projects which cannot be verified by the competent body of the Contracting Authority.
The evidence of successful completion is recommended to refer to 1 to 3 projects, depending on the complexity and specialisation of the contract scope. These projects must include services, activities or works of relevance to the principal respective services, activities or works included in the scope of the project put out to tender.
The minimum budget of a project, in order for that project to qualify as evidence of the candidate economic operators experience, must be estimated by the Contracting Authority based on the contract scope and budget (e.g. if the contract put out to tender is a multi-annual contract with a high budgeted cost due to the large number of services rather than to their technological or other value, this per cent rate may be reduced accordingly), but also on the need to secure competition. It is obvious that this per cent rate must not exceed 100% of the contract budget.
The participation percentage of a candidate economic operator in the implementation of a project, in order for that project to qualify as evidence of that economic operators experience, is recommended not to be less than 40%.

Number of employed personnel.

Note: Depending on the particular case, this criterion may refer to all personnel or to the personnel in particular specialisation areas of relevance to the scope of the project being put out to tender.

Its use is recommended in public service contracts and public works contracts. In public supply contracts, its use is necessary only if the contract includes activities (e.g. installation, maintenance, training) which the Contracting Authority considers to be important.

The number of natural persons employed under a permanent employment relationship is an indication of the capacities and reliability of the interested economic operator. In this sense, the requirement for a minimum number of personnel, regardless of whether they are fully or partly involved in the project, is both legitimate and advisable. In any case, the Contracting Authority should take into account the level of dynamics required by the scope of the project put out to tender and specify this minimum number in proportion to this.

A list of the personnel employed by the candidate economic operator under a permanent employment relationship, in the format of the template contained in the Appendix to the model draft tender documents.

Alternatively, in the case of projects requiring specialised expertise, a list of the persons employed by the economic operator under a permanent employment relationship in activity areas similar to the contract scope (or, if the scope includes different individual activities, similar to such area(s) as the Contracting Authority shall at its discretion deem to be the most important).

The minimum required number of personnel of candidate economic operators may also be defined in relation to the number of experts required for the execution of the contract. In cases where the minimum number of personnel refers to all personnel, then it may be requested that this number be 2 to 4 times the number of experts required. In cases where the minimum number of personnel refers only to personnel involved in activity areas similar to the contract scope, then it may be requested that this number be 1 to 2 times the number of experts required.

Experience of Project Team members.

Note: This criterion is used in public service contracts and public works contracts. In the case of public supply contracts, its use is necessary only if the contract includes activities (e.g. installation, maintenance, training) whose performance requires the participation of experts in the Project Team.

To document the experience of the proposed Project Team members, economic operators must submit with their tenders detailed CVs for all key experts required for the implementation of the contract, as these have been specified in the Terms of Reference forming part of the tender documents.  

The detailed CVs, which must be in the format contained in the Appendix to the model draft tender documents, should demonstrate that the Project Team members under evaluation meet at least the requirements defined in the Terms of Reference regarding:

Their qualifications and skills (on the basis of educational qualifications, professional qualifications, technical skills, team management skills or communication skills, depending on the part of the contract scope they will be involved with).
Their general or specific professional experience (on the basis of their participation in similar work and activities in the context of other contracts, the key details of which should be mentioned in brief in the CV).

In the case of public works contracts, as evidence of the professional and technical qualifications and of the experience of specific Project Team Members whose participation in the implementation of the contract is, in the opinion of the Contracting Authority, particularly crucial, submission of the annual permit issued by virtue of the Councils of Registration and Control of Buildings and Civil Engineering Constructors Law, for the execution of projects of the required class and category of the works, which is specified in the Terms of Reference. In the case of economic operators established in countries other than the Republic of Cyprus, submission of a certificate, as specified in Annex VIIA of Law 12(I)/2006 (Article 46 of Directive 2004/18/EC), proving their enrolment on a professional register of their country of origin may be required, provided that they also meet the conditions required for obtaining the annual permit mentioned for professionals (natural persons) established in the Republic of Cyprus.

Requirements regarding the suitability  of products, technical equipment, equipment and means of study and research, organisation and staffing of technical bodies, machinery, facilities and other infrastructures.

May be documented by the following, as the case may be:

A description of the technical facilities and measures used by the supplier or service provider for ensuring quality and the study and research facilities.
Checks carried out by the Contracting Authority or on its behalf by a competent official body of the country in which the supplier or service provider is established.
An indication of the technical bodies involved, whether or not belonging directly to the economic operator's undertaking, and, in the case of public works contracts, those upon whom the contractor can call in order to carry out the work.
A statement of the tools, plant or technical equipment available to the service provider or contractor for carrying out the contract.
Samples, descriptions and/or photographs, the authenticity of which must be certified if the Contracting Authority so requests.
Certificates issued by official quality control institutes or agencies of recognised competence, attesting the conformity of products clearly identified by references to specifications or standards.

Compliance with quality assurance standards.

Note: This criterion is a serious indication of the effectiveness of the measures taken by economic operators to ensure the quality of their activities.

Contracting Authorities must use this criterion in the case of contracts whose scope is complex or of particular technological value.

A certificate issued by an independent organisation, attesting the compliance of the candidate economic operator with a quality assurance standard based on the CYS EN ISO 9000 series of Cyprus standards, or other equivalent certifications issued by bodies established in other Member States of the European Union, or other evidence of equivalent quality assurance measures. It is understood that if the candidate economic operator is a consortium of persons, the above requirement must be met by all consortium members who shall perform the specific activities for which the application of this criterion shall be required.

Compliance with environmental management standards.

Note: This criterion should be used exclusively in the case of public works contracts or public service contracts whose implementation might pose a risk to the environment, thus necessitating the adoption of measures to protect it during implementation.

When the Contracting Authorities require the production of certificates issued by independent bodies attesting the compliance of the economic operator with specific environmental management standards, they must refer to the Community Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) or to environmental management standards based on the relevant European or international standards certified by bodies conforming to Community law, or the relevant European or international standards concerning certification.

The Contracting Authorities must recognise equivalent certificates from bodies established in other Member States, and must accept other evidence of equivalent environmental management measures submitted by economic operators.

Additionally, the Contracting Authority may specify in the tender documents that the economic operators who are guilty of professional misconduct regarding non-compliance with the environmental legislation, which can be verified through the relevant certificate (extract of the “judicial record” or other equivalent document) required under the category of criteria for verifying the personal situation of candidate economic operators, shall be excluded from participation in the tender procedure.

The tender documents must provide that, in the case of a consortium, it is sufficient for the criteria referring to the verification of the technical and professional ability to be met cumulatively by the consortium members. In public service contracts in particular, these criteria may be addressed by indicating the part of the contract which the candidate economic operator intends possibly to subcontract to third parties.

It is understood that the tender documents must provide that in the event that the candidate economic operator relies on the capacities of other entities, pursuant to the provisions of article 53(2) of Law 12(I)/2006 (or the respective provisions of article 55(4) of Law 11(I)/2006), it must be able to prove to the Contracting Authority that it shall have at its disposal the resources necessary. To this end, the submission of e.g. solemn declarations by these entities, whereby they shall guarantee to the Contracting Authority that, should the candidate economic operator be appointed Contractor, they shall place at its disposal the necessary resources as appropriate, could be requested.

Limiting the number of candidates in the case of the restricted procedure

The qualitative selection of the candidate economic operators is the first stage of evaluation in every tender procedure, regardless of the procedure to be chosen. In what in particular regards tenders conducted in accordance with the restricted procedure, the conclusion of the qualitative selection signals the invitation of tenders from the economic operators who have been selected by the Contracting Authority, so that the second stage, that of award of the contract, may commence.

Pursuant to the provisions of Law 12(Ι)/2006, in the restricted procedure the Contracting Authorities may limit the number of suitable candidates they will invite to tender to a minimum of five (5), provided that a sufficient number of suitable candidates is available.

The Contracting Authorities must specify in the tender documents, the objective and non-discriminatory criteria or rules that they intend to apply for the prequalification of candidates. They must also specify the minimum number of candidates they intend to invite and, where appropriate, the maximum number.

These objective criteria do not necessarily imply the application of a weighting scheme, as specified by the Law. However, in order for the ranking of economic operators in decreasing order of eligibility to be possible, clear selection rules must be specified a necessary and sufficient condition for adherence to the principle of transparency which must govern every procurement procedure.

Ranking of the candidates who meet the qualitative selection criteria may be based on one of the qualitative selection criteria or on a combination of appropriately weighted qualitative selection criteria, which the Contracting Authority must specify in the tender documents. It is obvious that a weighting scheme may be specified only for some of the criteria in the two last categories presented in the previous section (namely, the criteria for verifying the personal situation and the criteria for verifying the technical and/or professional ability of candidate economic operates), and in particular for those which can be marked objectively. The criteria meeting this requirement include the turnover, the solvency ratio or any other indicator/ratio which the Contracting Authority may choose, the number of permanently employed personnel, the experience in the implementation of projects similar to that of the contract, etc..

If weighting of a combination of criteria is chosen as the method to be used for ranking the candidate economic operators, the authors of the tender documents could adopt the practice outlined below, which is considered in terms of methodology to be suitable for use as the basis for comparing candidate economic operators:

First step:        Selection, from the two last categories of criteria presented in the previous section, of criteria to which it is possible to assign marks and for which it is estimated that, if they were exceeded, this would maximise the reliability of candidates and would reduce the likelihood of failure in carrying out the contract.

Second step:        Ranking of the selected criteria in decreasing order of significance, and assignment to them of corresponding weighting factors.

Third step:        Specification, for each one of the above criteria, of thresholds for the purposes of comparisons and of the respective marks.

 

APPLICATION EXAMPLE

In connection with a given contract, the authors of the tender documents, in collaboration with the Head of the competent Department of the Contracting Authority, select the following criteria as criteria which can be used in the weighting process:

oExperience in the implementation of similar projects
oTurnover
oNumber of permanently employed personnel

They then rank the criteria in decreasing order of their significance, and choose the following weighting factors:

oExperience in the implementation of similar projects:        Weighting factor: 5
oTurnover:                                                        Weighting factor: 3
oNumber of permanently employed personnel:                Weighting factor: 2

For each one of the aforementioned criteria, they then identify specific thresholds and respective marks, as follows:

oExperience in the implementation of similar projects

If the minimum number of projects implemented by the candidate economic operator has been set to 3 projects, then the thresholds are determined as follows:

       Number of projects: 3 5                                        MARK: 1

       Number of projects: 6 9                                        MARK: 2

       Number of projects: > 9                                        MARK: 3

oTurnover

If the minimum turnover has been set to 100% of the contract budget, then the thresholds are determined as follows:

       Turnover: 100% - 150% of the budget                        MARK: 1

       Turnover: 151% - 200% of the budget                        MARK: 2

       Turnover > 200% of the budget                                MARK: 3

oNumber of permanently employed personnel

If the minimum number of permanently employed personnel has been set to 20, then the thresholds are determined as follows:

       Number of employed personnel: 20 30                        MARK: 1

       Number of employed personnel: 31 50                        MARK: 2

       Number of employed personnel > 50                                MARK: 3

The approach for marking the above example is presented in paragraph 4.3.4 of Chapter 4 of the Guide.

If use of a single criterion is chosen for ranking candidates, then the procedure is more simple. The following is an indicative example: The tender documents include, as one of the qualitative selection criteria, a minimum number of successfully completed contracts for similar projects. To limit the number of candidate economic operators (if the number of candidates meeting the qualitative selection criteria specified is higher than the maximum number of candidates which has been stated will be invited to tender), the Contracting Authority may specify that preference shall be given, during the qualitative selection stage, to candidates who have implemented the largest number of similar projects.

Limiting the number of candidates is of value only in the case of contracts where the expected turnout of candidates is high and the Contracting Authority foresees that the large number of tenders will result in difficulties and delays during the evaluation and contract award procedure. It is obvious that where the contract award criterion is exclusively the lowest price there is no reason to limit the number of candidate economic operators, and this procedure is therefore not recommended.


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