What is a Standstill Period in Tendering?
If you wish to bid a tender for a public sector project, you need to be aware of a key part of the process known as the standstill period. This marks the period of time between a decision being made on the tendered bids and the award of the contract itself and is common to almost all public sector tenders.
In this article, we will look at the standstill period, why it is applied, and what it means for you and your tender writers.
What is the purpose of a standstill period?
The standstill period is designed to benefit all parties to the tendering process – this includes both the commissioning authority itself (or the buyer) and contractors, like yourself, who have submitted tenders. It allows the buyer to ensure that the tender process has been properly adhered to and conducted in a fair manner. It also allows unsuccessful contractors to make any challenges they might have regarding the award.
How long is the standstill period?
Assuming your tender is following the standard rules for public procurement, the standstill period will be for a minimum of 10 days, though this can be extended in certain circumstances. In order to comply with tendering rules, these period must be observed by all parties.
What happens during the standstill period?
Tenderers receive notice from the Commissioning Authority, providing details of their award decision, including feedback and reasons for the buyer’s decision. This forms the start of the standstill period and confers a tenderer’s right to appeal.
If you were unsuccessful, you can use this time to ask for additional feedback on your tender, or to arrange a formal de-briefing session with the Commissioning Authority (either in-person or online). This is a crucial step for any failed bid. Even if there was nothing in the tender process to justify a challenge, a detailed breakdown of your tender and the reason it was not successful can be invaluable when writing your next bid.
Challenging the decision
If, when looking through your feedback or debriefing notes, you spot technical errors or discrepancies in the Authority’s decision, you can launch a formal challenge against the decision. This freezes the award of the contract and requires a legal challenge to be made in court within 30 days of the standstill period beginning. Any challenge you raise needs to be provable in court if it is successful, so you will likely need expert advice before deciding to do so.
As experienced tender writers, Your Tender Team has experience dealing with the standstill period on public sector tenders. Whether you were successful or not with your initial bid, we will do all we can to ensure a positive outcome for you. For more information or to arrange a free consultation, contact Your Tender Team on 0116 218 2700 today.