Competitive Dialogue

The competitive dialogue is a new procedure introduced in the public sector procurement directive (2004/18/EC). It has been implemented in the UK by statutory instrument (SI 2006/5) to be effective from 31 January 2006. It is for use in the award of complex contracts such as those for the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). The procedure is intended to replace the competitive negotiated procedure as the routine choice for such complex contracts, as the EU Commission has felt that the competitive negotiated procedure has been wrongly selected in many cases.

Advantages of Competitive Dialogue (Public Sector)

• The authority will be obliged to put much more effort into the early stages of the procurement, prior to the OJEU notice, in creating draft versions of the main procurement documents and output specification and thoroughly thinking through strategic elements of the project such as the award criteria.

• The discussions with private sector bidders will take place during the dialogue phase, where there is still a competitive element in the process. This ought to promote more value for money solutions for the authority and promote innovative thinking.

• There is flexibility in the process to discuss all the elements of the solution.

• The process now explicitly acknowledges that the dialogue can take place in stages at which some bidders may be eliminated.

• A shorter closure phase, post-preferred bidder, with restrictions on the scope of changes which the authority and the preferred bidder can make to the overall commercial deal. This prevents significant deal creep.

Advantages of Competitive Dialogue (Private Sector)

• The process gives an impetus to put the required effort into the tender documents such as contracts, specifications and service level agreements as well as envisaging what the “To Be” phase is likely to look like.

• The solution is designed in partnership with key commercial suppliers who will undoubtedly discuss or suggest alternative models that meet the requirements of the company but have a totally different way of operating than was envisaged.

• There is a huge amount of rigour in the process not normally associated with standard tendering processes.

• There is time and a process to revisit the preferred solution with the shortlisted bidders.

Benefits of our experience

• We understand the supplier perspective.

• We have a suite of existing documents that interrelate and can be adapted to most situations.

• We are highly commercial.

• We have a very high working knowledge of the legal process.

• Higher savings.

• Low risk procurement process.

• Program management.

• Specific legal advice from our legal partner.

• Value for money end-to-end procurement support.