How organisations can bid for contracts as a consortium, including the relevant requirements set out in the invitation to tender (ITT).

What consortia bidding is

A consortium in this context is two or more suppliers coming together to bid during a procurement.

There is no limit to the number of members that may be in a consortium and consortia bidding is welcome.

When to bid as a consortium

Organisations usually bid as a consortium:

  • when two or more organisations take the view that they could collectively put in a bid
  • when individually two or more organisations are not able to meet all of the relevant requirements of the ITT, but believe they can collectively

How consortia are referred to in the ITT

Consortia are referred to as a ‘group of economic operators’.

Consortia members may need to appoint a lead supplier as a lead contact to complete the bid on behalf of all of the consortium members.

What authorisation the lead supplier requires from other consortium members

The lead supplier must be authorised in writing by each of the other members of the consortium to:

  • provide the responses to the ITT
  • submit the bid on behalf of the consortium

Whether you need a form of bidding agreement

The details of any bidding agreements between members of a consortium is a matter for the members. Therefore, we do not mandate it.

Members will need to take their own professional advice on what should be covered in their bidding agreement.

You should take into account the specific:

  • roles
  • responsibilities
  • risk
  • resource allocation
  • cost allocation
  • overall bidding approach agreed

Whether you need a legal form to bid

Consortia are not required to have a particular legal form to submit a bid.

We may require consortia to assume a specific legal form if they are awarded the contract.

However, we require that a single entity must enter into the contract.

What types of legal forms you can enter into for the contract

For the contract, you can enter into either:

  • a joint venture company or special purpose vehicle (SPV). A SPV is a company set up by the members of a consortium for the purposes of delivering one or more specific contracts
  • a lead contractor and sub-contractor arrangement: with one member of the consortium taking the role of prime/lead contractor

Whether you need a guarantor for lead contractor arrangement

We will assess the finances of the prime or lead contractor. This will include any proposed guarantee arrangements from a relevant group company.

The assessment will be based on the criteria set out in the ITT.

Consortia using this model can offer a proposed bidding structure and guarantee arrangement that meets the criteria set out in the ITT.

Giving details of the roles of each consortium member

In the selection questionnaire, you must complete:

  • details of the consortium members
  • the percentage of obligations assigned to each member

You must make it clear in your responses if your consortium is relying on one or more of its members to provide the services. For example, relying on their technical or professional ability.

In your response, you must explain the consortium member’s role, capability and experience in the context of the question.

Whether you need to complete the selection questionnaire

Each consortium member needs to complete an additional copy of the selection questionnaire if:

  • they have been assigned 25% of the contractual obligations
  • the consortium relies on them to meet the selection criteria

However, we can require that any other consortium member must also complete the selection questionnaire if necessary.

Making changes after the tender submission deadline and possible exclusion

We have the right to exclude a consortium at any time during the procurement depending on their proposed changes.

For example, if a member withdraws from the consortium meaning the it no longer meets certain ITT requirements

If a consortium fails to promptly notify us of any changes, they may also be disqualified.

Being involved with multiple bids

You may be involved with the submission of multiple bids provided that:

  • you only submit one bid for a particular procurement or lot in its own right and name (to include where it is a lead supplier)

  • it does not result in any potential or actual conflicts of interest, supplier capacity problems, restrictions or distortions in competition, or collusion

Published 8 September 2020 Contents