As mentioned in the Legislation section, public sector procurement is governed by the EU Procurement Directives, transposed into national law through the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. Procurement over certain thresholds needs to follow a certain process in line with the OJEU procurement rules.
Pre-qualification is an important element in the procurement process and is the means by which the financial standing, capability and technical capacity of suppliers are assessed and it is never more important than in food contracts. Those suppliers which do not meet the minimum criteria specified can be excluded at this stage from the tender process.
In the case of food, it is recommended that suppliers not meeting food safety requirements and regulations should be ruled out from the tendering process.
If needed, suppliers can be pointed in the direction of the Food Standards Agency and their local authority Environmental Health Department for advice on how to develop HACCP plans and traceability procedures to ensure they comply with the appropriate food legislation.
The minimum requirements and selection criteria must be stated up front in the contract advert / procurement documents.
If pre-qualification takes place in the context of the "open" procedure, suppliers submit their tenders and are then assessed against the selection criteria.
Where the "restricted" procedure is used, suppliers are asked to respond firstly with "expressions of interest" which contain certain limited information, and a pre-qualification exercise is carried out before a restricted number of suppliers are asked to tender formally. Suppliers may be disqualified if they fail to meet the minimum standards specified. The relevant criteria for pre-qualification are set out in the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.
For above OJEU procurements your contracting authority’s procurement procedures and standing orders should be followed in conjunction with the Public Contracts Regulation 2015. A link to more information in the General PRP, which is currently under re-development, will be provided in due course once it is back online.
Sustainable food procurement can have positive effects on the environment, economy and society.