Competitive Dialogue Procedure†
1.1 The competitive dialogue procedure is a new procedure introduced in the public sector procurement directive (2004/18/EC), which has been implemented in the Public Contracts Regulations (SI 2006/5) with effect from 31 January 2006. It is for use in the award of complex contracts, where there is a need for the contracting authorities to discuss all aspects of the proposed contract with candidates. Such dialogue would not be possible under open and restricted procedures.
1.2 The structure of the procedure changed considerably during the course of the negotiations leading to the adoption of 2004/18/EC. Lobbying by UK stakeholders, both public and private sector, helped to ensure that the final text fitted better with existing UK PFI practice. The end result is a structured negotiated procedure, which is similar in many ways to the existing practice of letting PFI contracts.
1.3 The main features of the new procedure are:
- dialogue is allowed with selected suppliers to identify and define solutions to meet the needs and requirements of the contracting authority;
- the award is made only on the most ec onomically advantageous tender criteria;
- dialogue may be conducted in successive stages, with the aim of reducing the number of solutions/bidders, and
- there are explicit rules on post-tender discussion.
1.4 The main differences from the competitive negotiated procedure are that a structured tendering approach is provided for and, as mentioned above, there are rules on the conduct of discussions at the post tender stage both with tenderers who have submitted final bids and subsequently with the tenderer who has provided the most economically advantageous tender (preferred bidder).