It’s good to talk……
The new directives have a number of allowances for a return to the use of Negotiation. Negotiation itself is quite a skill and so, something worth really understanding before entering into as a part of a procurement.
The following are deemed situations where negotiation could be used:-
- Works contracts where non-standard buildings are to be built or where works include design or innovative solutions. In essence you could consider this useful for ‘complex purchases’ where there are elements of ‘intellectual property’
- Where an open or restricted procedure has resulted in irregular or ‘unacceptable’ tenders
There are of course caveats to this such as procurement of ‘off the shelf solutions’ – where there are multiple solutions available for delivery of a service, negotiation should not be used. In the event that you are in receipt of an irregular tender, then it is apparent that negotiation could be used to ‘normalise’ the tenders.
While this all sounds great, the traditional principles of equality and transparency still apply and as such:-
- Minimum requirements of the procurement have to be set out from the beginning
- The criteria cannot subsequently be changed part way through negotiation
- The criteria need to be set out in writing
- Tenders need to be submitted in writing as well
Whether negotiation will be suitable for use by everyone remains to be seen, and whether its use will be welcomed by suppliers is certainly open to debate as while the principles of negotiation use to really ‘bespoke’ a solution to a buyers requirements may be the ultimate desire, the possibility that the negotiated procedure could be used to hammer down pricing by over zealous buyers while insisting that all their requirements are being met is certainly of concern and something that would need to be carefully mitigated against – particularly when the premise of negotiation is that it is for use when ‘intellectual property’ is being purchased.