Responsiveness of a bid is determined by the content of the bid itself and the specifications in the bidding documents. Clarifications received or requested for are also considered.
A substantially responsive bid is one which conforms to all the instructions, requirements, terms and conditions of the bidding documents, without material deviation, reservation or omission. The Evaluation Committee has to conduct an examination to determine whether bids are complete and are responsive to the instructions and requirements of the bidding document. This
preliminary examination shall determine whether:
- The bid has been submitted in the correct format;
- Any required bid security has been submitted, in the correct form and amount and valid for at least the period required;
- The bid has been submitted without material reservations or deviations from the terms and conditions of the bidding document;
- The bid has been correctly signed and authorized;
- The correct number of copies of the bid have been submitted;
- The bid is valid for at least the period required;
- All key documents and information have been submitted;
- Any required samples have been submitted; and
- The bid meets any other key requirements of the bidding document.
A material deviation, reservation or omission shall result in rejection of the bid at this stage: this means that the bid shall not be subject to any further evaluation. Non material deviations, reservations or omissions shall not result in rejection of the bid.
Material deviations, reservations or omissions mean:
- A deviation that affects in any substantial way the scope, the quality or the performance of the works, services or supplies specified in the bidding documents.
- A reservation that would limit in any substantial way, inconsistent with the bidding documents, the Procuring Entity‘s rights or the bidder‘s obligations under any resulting Contract; or
- An omission that when corrected would unfairly affect the competitive position of other bidders presenting substantially responsive and compliant bids.
Any bid which contains a material deviation, reservation or omission is automatically declared rejected and may not subsequently be made responsive by the bidder or the Procuring Entity. The classification of a deviation, reservation or omission as material or non-material must be determined in the light of the objectives of the procurement requirement and in comparison to the specified requirements as stated in the bidding document. It has to take into account the impact on key factors, cost or risk.
Consistency in examination has to be ensured. In case of a deviation, it needs to be quantified to the extent possible in order to be qualified as minor or as a source of no responsiveness and it should be taken into account in the evaluation and comparison of tenders. Where examination for responsiveness determines that none of the submitted tenders is responsive, the Procuring Entity shall notify each person who submitted a tender that the bidding was not responsive. Responsiveness should not be solely regarded as an administrative verification but also a technical one. Further, it should be clearly understood that non responsiveness may lead to
appeal and reviews. Therefore the reason for non-responsive declaration must be clearly stated and factual. Where none of the bids is responsive and financial bids have been submitted in a separate envelope, all the financial bids shall be returned to the bidders unopened.