Debrief for tender participants (Construction Guidance 8.1)

Explains how to debrief tender participants for public construction.

Effective date: 1 July 2018

Objective: To establish greater transparency for the market about government procurement


Agencies must inform all tender participants of the outcome of a tender.

Agencies must offer a debrief to all tender participants in the tender process and, if requested, ensure a debrief is provided promptly.

This guidance describes factors to consider when debriefing tender participants.

Debriefing tender participants

Debriefing is the process by which an Agency provides participants with feedback on their tender submissions. A debrief is available to both successful and unsuccessful participants.

The debrief process helps to identify areas where participants can improve. It gives participants the chance to ask questions to improve their knowledge and understanding of the Agency and government procurement. Debriefs provide the Agency with the opportunity to be fully accountable and transparent and demonstrate that the procurement was conducted fairly. Debriefs provide feedback both ways – they provide an opportunity to receive feedback from participants.

A debrief generally occurs at the end of the tender process - that is, after the contract has been executed with the successful participant.

Advising unsuccessful participants of the outcome of the procurement is different from a debrief. Advising the outcome is specifically about letting participants know they were unsuccessful, rather than providing a more detailed debrief about the reasons.

The opportunity to receive a debrief needs to be included in the Tender Documentation.

Dos and don’ts for debriefing

The debrief should not disclose any other tender participant’s confidential or commercial in confidence information, but should help the tender participant to improve future responses.

The debrief provides an opportunity to answer the tender participant’s questions and to respond to any concerns. At a minimum the debrief should cover:

  • the reason(s) the response was not successful
  • the quality of the tender participant’s response against the selection criteria, pre-qualification criteria and its relative strengths and weaknesses
  • what the participant could do to improve future responses

The form of the debrief should recognise the tender participant’s preference and the nature of the procurement. The debrief may be undertaken by phone, email, letter or at a face-to-face meeting.

The debrief should be provided promptly after it has been requested.

For complex and high value or high risk procurements, a face-to-face meeting is the best way to have an effective debrief and should be offered to tender participants as a matter of course.

After the debrief, write a summary of the meeting and record it with the procurement documents.

Tools and support

The Construction Toolkit includes key documents, guidance and information relating to the Ministerial directions and instructions.

For further information about the Ministerial directions and instructions for public construction procurement, please contact the Construction Policy Team.