Source the supplier

Follow these steps to evaluate offers from suppliers and choose who will provide goods, works or services.

These steps will guide you to select a supplier that meets your needs.

Give forward notice for construction tenders

You must publish a notice about an upcoming tender for construction services or work. Publish the notice on the Buying for Victoria portal. It will alert suppliers who have registered for updates.

Forward notice gives suppliers the opportunity and time to compete and respond once the tender opens. Direction and Instruction 5.1 explains how to give suppliers reasonable forward notice.

Invite offers

  • publish your invitation to supply on the Buying For Victoria tenders portal
  • make sure you include all the required information for suppliers to respond
  • refer to prepare your documents to double check you have everything
  • if your invitation is limited, make sure you notify enough suppliers to ensure you get value from the process
  • check that your invitation to supply follows probity guidelines.
  • make sure you advertise for the time specified in your tender documents
  • give suppliers a reasonable time to respond
  • check to see if you need to comply with free trade agreements

For goods and services, you can find the list of offer requirements in the guide to market approach.

Where appropriate, give suppliers of goods and services the invitation to supply template.

For expressions of interest, use this template. 

For construction buying, you may also advertise the invitation:

  • on your organisation’s website
  • in newspapers or trade publications

If you advertise in a publication, you must follow the Government Advertising Policy.

For more information about documenting, see construction tenders.

Manage the invitation process

Managing the invitation process can include:

  • answering questions from suppliers
  • maintaining fairness and transparency with all suppliers
  • briefing suppliers about the procurement 
  • site visits if necessary

Respond to supplier questions

Suppliers may have questions about your tender. You must respond to each enquiry in a timely manner.

Your tender documents specify whether suppliers can ask questions by phone, email or an online procurement system.

You can organise a briefing session for suppliers to attend ask questions.

Collate your responses to every question and make them available to all suppliers. This ensures the process is fair and transparent.

You can set a deadline for when suppliers can ask questions.

Manage the need to provide more addenda 

Thorough preparation of your documents should help you avoid or minimise the need to give the suppliers more briefing material.

New briefing material should maintain the original intent and desired outcome of the procurement.

If you need to give more detail, you must give it to all suppliers. Consider extending the tender due date. This gives suppliers time to respond to the new information. Consider doing this if you release additional material is during the tender open period, or if the additional material impacts the scope of the tender.

Manage site visits

Suppliers may need to inspect the site where works or services will be done.

Your tender documents outline when suppliers can visit. You will need to manage how suppliers get safe access to the site.

Do not accept gifts, benefits or hospitality

During this time, suppliers may offer gifts, benefits or hospitality. It is good practice to reject the offer and tell the project sponsor about the offer.

Get ready for the evaluation process

Check your evaluation team is ready to assess offers once the submission period closes.

Receive offers

Check with your procurement governance unit whether they can support you to receive offers.

You can receive offers via electronic or hard copy. You have outlined how you receive offers in your tender documents.

You must follow your organisation’s record management policy. This ensures supplier bids are safe and confidential.

If you accept hard copy submissions using a tender box, you must follow your procurement governance unit’s processes.

You must notify each supplier when you receive their submission. This could be via letter, email or an online system notification.

Manage late responses

Late responses are generally not accepted. This ensures the process is fair and transparent.

In exceptional circumstances, a supplier can request the organisation’s chief procurement officer (CPO) accept their submission. However not all organisations have a CPO.

The Market Approach Policy 4, 1.1.1, has more information about late responses.  

Evaluate offers

Use the evaluation criteria or plan and panel you set up to assess the offers.

You must follow the evaluation method outlined in your tender documents. If you’re buying goods and services or construction, follow the evaluation plan you created.

Eliminate any submissions that:

  • do not meet the requirements
  • are not competitive with other submissions that show value for money

You can seek clarity from suppliers as you evaluate submissions.

Do your due diligence. Check that suppliers have the capacity and capability to deliver over the life of the contract.

Check your organisation has no conflicts of interest with a supplier. If there are, you need to resolve it or decide how it is managed.

Keep a record of your evaluation decisions. This ensures you maintain a transparent, fair and equitable process.

The panel recommends a preferred supplier or a shortlist, depending on how complex your procurement is. The results of your evaluation are confidential.

If the panel recommends a shortlist of suppliers, you can select your preferred supplier from the shortlist.

There is a guide for evaluating, negotiating and selecting a supplier of goods and services.

Negotiate and select the supplier

Negotiation gives you an opportunity to improve value for money and clarify issues.

Contact the supplier you evaluated as the best option. Negotiate terms including price, time frames and deliverables. Your procurement governance unit can help you through this process.

Possible benefits of negotiating include:

  • shorter delivery periods
  • reduced costs
  • a better targeted product or service
  • better stakeholder/client satisfaction
  • fewer disputes
  • more opportunity to innovate
  • a more even share of risk

Keep a record of your negotiations. This keeps the process fair and transparent. It is recommended you seek legal advice before finalising the terms of the contract.  

In most cases, use a standard form contract. This contract is what you included in your tender documents with some possible minor changes.

Once you’ve awarded the contract, publish brief details about the successful supplier on the Buying For Victoria portal. This must be done if the contract value is equal or over $100,000.

For general information on Contract Management see the guide.

Contract management and disclosure policy has more specific information about publishing contract details.

Debrief suppliers

Offer a debrief with successful and unsuccessful suppliers. Do this soon after you have finalised the contract with the successful supplier.

Notify unsuccessful suppliers of your decision in writing. Thank them for their time and offer a debrief.

You should provide suppliers feedback about:

  • sections where they should have given more detail
  • areas where you scored them low in the evaluation
  • what you considered to be their strengths and weaknesses
  • how you perceived their company

Do not discuss feedback about other suppliers’ offers.

Direction and Instruction 8.1 guides you on how to debrief with construction suppliers.

Reviewed 18 November 2019

Buying for Victoria

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