A specification is a description of the physical or functional characteristics of a good, service, or a construction item. It is a description of what the purchaser seeks to buy, and to which a bidder/offeror must be responsive in order to be considered for award of a contract. The more clear and precise the specifications are, the less time will be needed to respond to prospective bidder‘s/offeror‘s questions, the more compliant the responses will be, and the fewer complaints and protests there will be. Specifications have a great impact on the price. Whether the specification is open or restrictive directly affects the extent of competition.
Poorly written specifications:
1. Deter potential offerors.
2. Increases costs
3. Decreases the chance of desired results.
4. Are easily misinterpreted.
5. Are open to challenge and protests by unsuccessful bidders.
6. Increases risk.
Well-written, complete, clear, concise, specific criteria and specifications:
1. Attract many qualified offerors.
2. Are easier to evaluate.
3. Minimizes the possibility of protests.
4. Lowers risks.
5. Lowers costs.
Types of Specifications:
1. Design Specifications:
These types of specifications often have precise requirements that limit competition, prevent consideration of the latest technological improvements, and discourage innovation. Design specifications establish the material and operating requirements of goods.
2. Performance Specifications:
Performance specifications describe what a good is expected to do. There is less concern about the material composition of the good and the way it is manufactured or assembled, and more concern about its performance when put into use. The bidder/offeroris not directed to act in a certain way but is given an opportunity to use ingenuity and to innovate in order to provide a
good which will perform a specific task.
3. Combination Specifications:
A single type of specification cannot always adequately describe the need. Sometimes, the design-performance combination will be the best approach, with the design requirements kept to a minimum and the performance characteristics very detailed.
A good specification should be:
- Easy to read and understand.
- Easy to revise, if needed.
- Formatted with good direction.
- Organized and categorized.
- Concise and free of repetition.
When preparing specifications, consider:
- Who will receive the document?
- What do I want people to know or do?
- How detailed and exact should my information be?
- What questions might they ask?
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Successful completion of a Procurement Plan requires action from multiple departments within a ministry or the wider public sector (procuring entity) depending on the type and nature of procurement. Roles and responsibilities of project stakeholders are provided hereunder:
The Procurement Unit
It must: Plan, manage and fully document the process to acquire goods, works and services;
- Ensure that the procurement meets program requirements;
- Determine the type of procurement method to be undertaken, i.e., open tendering, request for quotations, single-sourcing etc.
- Be thoroughly familiar with the governments‘ procurement policy, procurement law, revised standard bidding documents, revised regulations and accompanying guidelines for the standard bidding documents.
- Manage solicitation and contract award processes in a prudent and unbiased manner that fairly treats all potential vendors and bidders;
- Ensure that contracts for goods, works and services are designed to provide the best value to government;
- Ensure that all ministry acquisitions are consistent with policy and applicable legislation;
- Coordination – The procurement unit must understand its roles and the roles of all other procurement entities in order to ensure smooth and orderly coordination in the approval and no objection processes.
Responsibility of the Evaluation Committee:
- Ensuring the tenders submitted are fully compliant with the special conditions outlined in the data sheet;
- Ensuring the evaluation and ranking of bidders is completed in a fully transparent manner without bias to any one bidder.
Responsibilities of the Finance/Accounting Department
- Ensure that funding is available as per the deliverable and payment schedule as set out in the contract.
- Payments are made in a timely manner.