Reviewing tenders

A well thought out and structured procurement process should really make the decision for you. However, even with your best efforts to define your requirements precisely and eliminate subjectivity, there may be valid differences of opinion about the merits of different products.

We talk about this in the section on Testing and evaluating where we give guidance on devising a scoring mechanism and dealing with differences of opinion. We advise discussing different perceptions and coming to a consensus rather than using a simple averaging of scores which might result in a solution that is not a best fit.

It is valid to discuss and adjust scores especially where there are 'grey areas' as to how well a supplier meets a particular requirement. It is also valid to ask suppliers for further clarification of their responses. The process is intended to be transparent and fair and it should also give you the outcome that best meets your needs.

There was not a lot of difference in the scoring between the suppliers but different parts of the business felt passionately about different things.


Often there are incredibly small differences in scoring between the top two suppliers. This suggests the process isn't working because really the forerunner should be clearly distinguished. It is a sign that you haven't been able to create clear distinguishing markers in your tender.

Bas Ten Holter, Director, Higher Education Europe, Instructure

Top tip

Apply what you know about fair and equitable assessment to evaluating supplier responses to your ITT.

The University of Huddersfield undertook double-blind marking of tenders then compared the outcomes as a team and discussed any discrepancies.