Losing a tender sucks! You have put in so much effort and time to compile documents, then after three months or so, you get that notification of regret.
You are sure you did everything right, but maybe or not; you get a vague reason as to why your tender was rejected.
First, you should know that as a bidder, you have a right to request the reasons why your bid was unsuccessful. You can do this by writing to the procuring entity. The awarding authority should respond in writing within 14 days.
Furthermore, you have the right to request a summary of the evaluation report.
Always request a summary even if you are successful. It is essential to know the things you could improve on in the future.
How to challenge a tender award decision
If you are unhappy with the results, summary of the evaluation report, or the response in writing, you can choose to challenge the award decision.
Note: Should you choose to challenge the award decision, it is important to note that this process is not free and is very tedious. It may or not be rewarding.
After the notification of award, before signing the contract, the procuring entity allows 14 days to allow time for any applications to be made for administrative review. i.e., suppose the awarded bidder were to refuse to enter a written contract. In that case, they are allowed time to withdraw, or if another bidder feels the award decision was unfair, they should challenge the decision.
The complaint should be presented in writing to the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) requesting a procuring entity’s review of the award decision.
To lodge a request for review, you should meet the following specifications:
You should be a participant in the tendering process you seek to be reviewed.
You should request for review within 14 days after the notification of regret.
You should present the relevant documents you consider necessary for review. i.e., notification of regret, specific tender details, and the reasons for challenging the award decision.
You should pay an administrative fee of Ksh. 2,000 for your case to be processed.
You will pay an additional amount based on the value of the tender for the case hearing.
You will submit 15 hard copies and a soft copy to the board secretary. The bound copies should be consecutively numbered.
Grounds for challenge
A supplier was unfairly disqualified at the pre-qualification stage.
A bidder received valuable information that was not shared with other tenderers.
There is proof of bias in favour of one bidder.
Proof of acceptance of late tender documents
Lack of transparency in the tender evaluation process
Lack of communication of tender results during the tender opening meeting.
Changing the award criteria or the scoring weightings after receiving bids
Unfair communications or clarifications of the tender.
Exceeding the prescribed period of evaluation
Proof of consideration of unimportant matters during evaluation.
Challenging an award decision is not a walk in the park. You must have solid and valid reasons for the challenge. Furthermore, it requires money, time, and energy, which may leave you exhausted and broke.
However, I would encourage businesses to take this small step to eradicate rogue procurement systems. If companies start challenging the unfair award decisions, procuring entities will be challenged to provide transparent systems for bidders.
Notably, the PPARB should ease their systems to encourage bidders to call out rogue procurement systems and officers.