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Guidance for Suppliers responding to tenders via www.etenders.gov.ie

Introduction

The eTenders website is the national procurement portal for public sector bodies in Ireland.  It is a fully electronic confidential tool supporting the advertising and tender transactions for all Irish Public Bodies and those operating in the Utility sphere (i.e. water, energy, transport and postal sectors), as well as those in receipt of public funding.

Public bodies (known as contracting authorities), operating in Ireland are subject to national and EU rules on the award of contracts for supplies, works and services.

Different types of processes

They are obliged to publicly tender all requirements on the Irish Government website www.etenders.gov.ie over certain thresholds, in addition to advertising in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) for larger value contracts.

There are essentially 6 categories of procurement method:

1. Quotations

where the contracting authority has discretion over who to invite to submit a quotation based on in-house thresholds – these are not publicly visible on etenders, but only to those chosen by the contracting authority.

2. National Tenders

where the Contracting Authority must publicly advertise its requirements on www.etenders.gov.ie and comply with strict rules and protocols on tendering.

3. EU Tenders

where the contracting authority must advertise its requirements in the European Journal in addition to www.etenders.gov.ie.  The notice will appear on the OJEU and etenders websites making it accessible to all EU Member States in addition to other countries signatory to various EU trade deals such as the European Economic Area and the Government Procurement Agreement of the World Trade Organisation.  The official OJEU website is www.ted.europa.eu.

The rules of EU tendering are defined by EU legislation, namely

  • Directive 2014/24/EU as transposed into Irish law by Statutory Instrument 284 of 2016 applying to the public sector;
  • Directive 2014/25/EU as transposed into Irish law by Statutory Instrument 286 of 2016 applying to utilities;
  • Directive 2014/23/EU as transposed into Irish law by Statutory Instrument applying to the award of service and works concessions for public sector and utilities.
  • Award contracts via mini-competitions

Contracting authorities may run mini-competitions under Framework Agreements established by their own organisation, or Central Purchasing Bodies such as the Office of Government Procurement or collaborative groups of organisations such as a number of Local Authorities operating together.

In the case of mini-competitions, these are not publicly visible, however the establishing framework would have been advertised on www.etenders.gov.ie / OJEU.

4. Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPS)

Contracting authorities may also use eTenders for the establishment of DPSs, these are lists of qualified economic operators.  They are constantly open for access for economic operators to apply.  The establishment is subject to public advertising; however, the contracts being awarded under the DPS are not, with only those admitted to the DPS being eligible for invitation.  Every time a contracting authority wishes to invite tenders, all members of the DPS must be invited.

5. Panels

Contracting authorities may also use eTenders for the establishment of panels, these are lists of qualified economic operators.  They are constantly open for access for economic operators to apply.  The establishment is subject to public advertising; however, the contracts being awarded under the Panels are not.

A panel is an open list with no limit to numbers who qualify, but the contracting authority may shortlist and invite a limited number to tender depending on the contract value – the tender list would be identified using one or more of the following methods – rotation, random selection or application of specific criteria based on information already provided.  These are generally only used for national value procurements but can be used at OJEU level for Title III services.

6. Qualification Systems (Utilities only)

A similar protocol to Panels/DPS is the use of qualifications systems by utilities – again the system is continually open for access and the contracting entity may shortlist based on rotation / random selection or application of specific rules.

Thresholds

Thresholds and obligations can be summarized as follows:

Mechanism Supplies Threshold Services Threshold Works Threshold
Quotations – or as in-house rules Less than €25,000 (excl. VAT) Less than €25,000 (excl. VAT) Less than €50,000 (excl. VAT)
CENTRAL GOVERNMENT
National Value Between €25,000 and €139,000 Between €25,000 and €139,000 Between €50,000 and €5,350,000
EU Value Greater than €139,000 Greater than €139,000 Greater than €5,350,000
EU Value – TITLE III Services* n/a Greater than €750,000 n/a
EU Value –   Concessions** n/a Greater than €5,350,000 Greater than €5,350,000
SUB-CENTRAL GOVERNMENT – Local Authorities / Bodies Governed by Public Law / Bodies in receipt of Public Funding
National value Between €25,000 and €214,000 Between €25,000 and €214,000 Between €50,000 and €5,350,000
EU Value Greater than €214,000 Greater than €214,000 Greater than €5,350,000
EU Value – TITLE III Services* n/a Greater than €750,000 n/a
EU Value Concessions** n/a Greater than €5,350,000 Greater than €5,350,000
UTILITIES – Water, Energy, Transport and Postal Sectors
National value   Between €25,000 and €428,000 Between €25,000 and €428,000 Between €50,000 and €5,350,000
EU Tenders Greater than €428,000 Greater than €428,000 Greater than €5,350,000
EU Value – Title III Services* n/a Greater than €1,000,000 n/a
EU Value Concessions** n/a Greater than €5,350,000 Greater than €5,350,000

*Title III Services as defined in the Directives include training and education, social and related services, catering and hotel services, security services, etc.

**Concession Contracts are contracts based upon two fundamental aspects – remuneration and risk.  The remuneration is paid for by those using the service/work and the risk (being a significant element of the contract involved) must be taken by the concessionaire.   A typical service concession is a bank ATM machine or a coffee shop at a public building/facility.  A typical works concession is a toll road.

This Guidance Document aims to explain the process involved for economic operators responding to quotations, tenders or mini-competitions via the www.etenders.gov.ie website.

Guidance on Accessing eTenders
TO GET THE DOCUMENTS 

Log on to www.etenders.gov.ie

Step 1
locate the competition under System ID number if known, or via email link from eTenders or by searching by the Contracting Authority

This is accessed via the website Notice Search function



Step 2

Click on the hyperlink under the Tender Name – in the blue text

Step 3

Check the  button on the top left

Step 4
Enter the username and password

Step 5
Click the   button on the top left

Step 6
Click on the Access Documents Section

Step 7
Download all the documents – read carefully and ensure you comply with rules for tender submissions.

Guidance on using Messaging / Question and Answer Facility
TO ASK QUESTIONS

Step 1
Click on the Messaging Tab

Step 2
Click on the New Message button

Step 3
Complete the message including subject, content and press Send.

Note #1: Please note that in public tenders, where questions are asked by tenderers, the answers, anonymised are issued to all interested parties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guidance on Submitting the Formal Response

Step 1
LOGIN

Step 2
On the HOME screen under My Request for Tenders, click on the Tender Competition using the blue hyperlinked text.

Step 3
Go to the My Response Section and respond to the sections as follows:

Step 4
My Response
There may be a requirement to complete an ESPD (European Single Procurement Document), if so, click on Manage ESPD Responses where you can create the ESPD from scratch, or import from a previously completed document in addition to exporting the one created for re-use again (remember where you save it to!!).  The ESPD relates the requirement to self-declare certain financial, technical and exclusion related selection/suitability criteria.  While it can be self-declared, the evidence will be required prior to the decision to award/include on a tender list.

If it asks for Additional Response Documents – just upload the response documents ensuring they are properly named under the Attach Documents button.


Make sure the documents are:

·       Named with easily identifiable titles including organisation name;
·       Indexed;
·       Page numbered;

Step 5
The Percent Complete will turn green when documents are uploaded and the ESPD has been completed.
Please note if there are multiple lots, it may appear as 100% complete once you upload against one lot, but if you want to respond to multiple lots, remember to upload against each lot.

Step 6
When you are ready to submit, press the blue Submit response button:

Step 7
A request is made for the username and password again – this must be completed to fulfil the submission obligation.

If you need to withdraw, you can press the Cancel expression of interest button and always resubmit.

Note #1: Please note that once uploaded it is possible to cancel the submission and re-upload if required, once the closing date and time has not passed.

Note #2: The maximum file size is 2.14Gb.  There is no limit on the number of documents which can be uploaded in a tender response unless limited by the instructions from the buyers.

Note #3: It is recommended to minimise the number of documents submitted where possible.   Please ensure all documents are named correctly and logically so that the Contracting Authority can easily determine what the file contains.   

Note #4: Please leave sufficient time to upload the documents taking account of the size/number of files to be uploaded, and the broadband speed and capacity in the local area.

It is possible to log in and practice uploading in advance.

  • Don’t press submit if practising, but don’t forget to press submit in time for the real submission.
  • Make sure to delete any test documents and upload correct documents.

Note#5: Please note the system will time out after 1 hour, so if it is taking longer, save and exit and start again.

Note#6: If you run into difficulty, please contact the eTenders Helpdesk at 021 2439277 or email them at etenders@eu-supply.com.