Chapter 06. Solicitation
Table of Contents
After requirements have been clearly and completely defined (see Chapter 4.4 Requirements Definition) and sourcing of vendors has been undertaken (see Chapter 5 Sourcing), the next step in the procurement process is a solicitation. The solicitation process is the method used to communicate a procurement requirement and request an offer from potential vendors.
Further to the market and vendor information identified in the sourcing process, Procurement Officials should ensure consistent alignment of the solicitation with the existing category management strategy. Unless exceptions to the use of formal methods of solicitation are justified, procurement contracts shall be awarded based on competition, which includes:
- Acquisition planning for developing an overall procurement strategy and methodology, an analysis of demand and supply market data, in alignment with an existing category management strategy (if applicable);
- Market research for identifying a potential vendor;
- Formal methods of solicitation or informal methods of solicitation;
- Consideration of prudent commercial practices.
Ensuring effective competition is a core principle of UN procurement. Competition should be internationally based. A key purpose of international competition is to provide a wide and diverse range of potential vendors. Procurement Officials must comply with the UN’s principle of encouraging international competition and, in doing so, should encourage equal access and fair opportunity for all qualified vendors globally to compete for UN contracts for goods or services.
The following conditions are conducive to achieving effective international competition:
- Market analysis and advertisement is conducted to identify prospective bidders;
- Requirements are specified in a generic manner, allowing for competition between multiple bidders;
- A sufficient number of prospective contractors are identified and effectively invited to compete;
- Prospective contractors are from as wide a geographical distribution as possible and practicable;
- Prospective vendors act independently of each other;
- Prospective vendors compete for the same business opportunity under the same conditions.
A low number of offers received from prospective contractors in response to a solicitation is not necessarily an indication of an absence of effective international competition, given that industries, geographical markets, and individual requirements may have idiosyncrasies that affect the number of viable and responsive competitors.
Financial Rule 105.14 provides that the UN’s procurement contracts shall be awarded on the basis of effective competition unless exceptions to the use of formal methods of solicitation pursuant to Financial Rule 105.16 are justified. To that end, the competitive process requires:
- Acquisition planning for developing an overall procurement strategy and procurement methodologies;
- Market research for identifying potential vendors;
- Consideration of prudent commercial practices;
- Formal methods of solicitation, utilizing ITBs or requests for proposals on the basis of the advertisement or direct solicitation of invited vendors, or informal methods of solicitation, such as requests for quotations.
While international competition should be pursued in principle, there are some circumstances where limiting the pool of vendors may be appropriate. This may apply when the solicitation process is restricted to a shortlist of vendors selected in a nondiscriminatory manner from rosters (e.g. list of authorized resellers), pre-qualifications, market research, or other means of sourcing.
For example, limited tendering may be considered in the following circumstances:
- When the requirement is in a national context and it is not reasonably possible that international vendors would be able to address it (e.g. advertising services in national newspapers, local licenses required to operate, etc.);
- For reasons of safety and security;
- When the estimated value of the requirement is less than US$ 150,000;
- Any other equivalent, exceptional reason that prevents international competition.
If the Procurement Official, using professional judgment, believes that limiting the pool of vendors should be applied to a particular solicitation process, then the use of a limited pool must be approved by a Procurement Approving Authority at or above the CPO level (if not at UNHQ) or the Section Chief level (if at UNHQ). Such approval must be given at the time of shortlisting approval (by signing the corresponding field in the List of Invitees). Furthermore, the basis for the decision to limit international competition must be justified in writing by the Procurement Approving Authority responsible for approving the solicitation document and recorded in the applicable procurement case file.
To ensure good and fair competition in the solicitation process, Procurement Officials should do their best to identify any circumstances that may indicate risk of collusion by potential vendors (i.e., vendors uniting for common profit and defeating the purpose of competition).
Unless exceptions to formal methods of solicitation are justified in accordance with the Financial Regulations and Rules, formal methods of solicitation must be used. See Financial Rule 105.15 (Formal methods of solicitation and Financial Rule 105.16 (Exceptions to the use of formal methods of solicitation).
The table below summarizes the four primary methods of solicitation. A more detailed explanation of the four methods is set forth in the immediately following chapters.
≤ US$ 10,000
Off-the-shelf goods, standard specification, simple services
Lowest priced, technically acceptable offer
No requirement for sealed offers
≤ US$ 150,000
Goods or services which are clear and specific
Lowest priced, technically acceptable offer
No requirement for sealed offers. Upon introduction of e-tendering, offers will be secured until the deadline for all Submissions.
Procurement Officials should undertake their best efforts to ensure that 5 or more quotations are received. However, should fewer than 3 quotations be received, the Director, PD or CPO must authorize the release of the quotations received. In an entity without a CPO, the approval of the official with the highest delegated procurement authority shall be sought.
> US$ 150,000
Goods or services which are clearly and completely specified
substantially conforming bid
> US$ 150,000
Goods or services that cannot be expressed quantitatively and qualitatively, or complex requirements that may be met in a variety of ways
Cumulative/weighted analysis; award based on the most responsive proposal
TABLE 3. FOUR CATEGORIES OF SOLICITATION METHODS
The four main solicitation methods are ITBs, RFPs, RFQs, or LVAs. These four methods of solicitation, as well as other exceptions to formal methods of solicitation, are discussed in detail below.
ITBs and RFPs are “formal” methods of solicitation. ITBs and RFPs are governed by Financial Rule 105.15. Low Value Acquisitions (LVAs) and RFQs are “informal” methods of solicitation. LVAs and RFQs are exceptions to the use of formal methods and are governed by Financial Rule 105.16.
Several factors, such as market conditions, the complexity and nature of the requirement (i.e., goods, services, or works), an estimated monetary value, influence the choice of solicitation method. Location and urgency might also influence the choice of solicitation method and the procedures followed.
An LVA is a direct form of purchasing undertaken by the Requisitioner or a Procurement Official and not conducted via a formal solicitation. An LVA is used for procuring readily available, off-the-shelf or standard specification goods or services up to or equal to US$ 10,000, or simple works or services up to or equal to the value of US$ 10,000.
184.108.40.206 Criteria of an LVA
LVAs are awarded based on the ‘lowest-priced, technically acceptable offer’ and are approved by a Procurement Official or a Certifying Officer (CO), subject to the following conditions:
- Under no circumstances shall the requirements be split into multiple solicitations or combined between RFQs and LVAs for the same or related requirement to avoid a formal method of solicitation. If the estimated value of the requirements exceeds US$ 10,000 (or the equivalent amount, as per UN Operational Rates of Exchange on the quotation date), the requirement shall be submitted for procurement action through the established procedures;
- The LVA must comply with the four principles stated in Financial Regulation 5.12 (i.e., Best Value for Money; fairness, integrity and transparency; effective international competition; the interest of the United Nations);
- The LVA should not be used to buy goods or services that are recurring requirements in the procurement pipeline, unless it is required to cater for unforeseen requirements or if UN stock is unavailable, or it is used to order from an established BPO;
- Should an entity identify that LVAs are being used repeatedly within the same year to buy similar requirements by the same office or several offices pertaining to such entity, efforts should be made to aggregate the requirements and conduct a bidding exercise, with the aim to replace the use of LVAs with a Contract or a Blanket Purchase Order as soon as possible.
- specifications used to describe the requirement shall be generic in nature. For proprietary goods or services (e.g. spare parts), or for goods or services that cannot be described in a generic manner due to operational requirements (e.g. size-specific items to fit in an existing structure), the Requisitioner shall provide a written justification and obtain the CO’s approval prior to seeking quotations. The CO’s approval not to use generic specifications is to be uploaded in UMOJA;
- LVAs for non-standardized software/hardware require the technical review from OICT3. LVAs for standardized software/hardware do not require technical review;
- Regarding LVAs and purchase orders for software, the LVAs or purchase order (PO) instrument must clearly indicate that only the United Nations General Terms and Conditions of Contract (UNGCC) are to apply and that no additional terms or changes to UNGCC are to be accepted. Provisions that may be included on vendors’ websites, product schedules or other ordering documents, or in ’shrink wrap/click-wrap’ agreements, are not to be incorporated into the LVA or PO instruments because such provisions may conflict with the terms of the UNGCC. In this context, LVAs and purchase orders for software shall be accompanied by the language contained in the attached Annex 10 (LVA Guidelines) when sent to vendors. In case of objections from a vendor, such language may be negotiated only with the assistance of a Procurement Official;
- LVAs cannot be used for blood or blood products;
- No Existing Contracts: LVAs should not be used to purchase goods or services that are available (e.g. with a similar or equivalent function) in a current global or local systems contract or, if subject to UN standardization, unless it can be demonstrated that such purchase constitutes Best Value for Money. The Procurement Official or the Requisitioner must record such an assessment in a written note in UMOJA including any required technical review note as per paragraph e. and g. above. If an LVA is used to purchase from an existing system contract, the LVA should be linked to the relevant system contract in UMOJA and be consistent with terms and conditions of the system contract;
- The Procurement Official or the Requisitioner shall obtain a minimum of three quotations from vendors, via phone, e-mail, fax, in person, or online. If a Requisitioner or Procurement Official is not able to produce at least three quotations despite its best efforts, a written explanation of the reasons must be recorded in UMOJA for the approval of the CO or Procurement Approving Authority. The quotations must be sought from competitive vendors for a quantitatively and qualitatively similar requirement. Quotation via phone or in person shall be obtained only when it is not possible to obtain written quotations;
- Quotations should cover price, quantity, quality (using generic specifications, unless authorized by the CO), delivery place and time, warranties, after-sale support, and any other reasonable requirements, as applicable. In all but the most exceptional circumstances, quotations must be in writing from the vendors. If quotations are not in writing, the Requisitioner or Procurement Official shall prepare a written record thereof;
- Quotations should allow a like-for-like comparison to achieve Best Value for Money by selecting the lowest quotation. If the Requisitioner or Procurement Official determines that the quotation offering Best Value for Money does not constitute the lowest cost, a written explanation must be recorded in UMOJA for the CO’s or Procurement Approving Authority’s approval. Quotations must be uploaded in UMOJA;
- Cash advances should not be made. Advance payment terms should not be accepted unless normal commercial practice or the interest of the United Nations requires it. Approval from the delegation holder in accordance with Financial Rule 105.19 is necessary;
- Ex post facto cases should be rare exceptions, and when they occur, written justification shall be provided to explain the reasons why timely submission of the case was not possible. Such justification should identify the reasons for the ex post facto situation and propose how to address the root cause in order to avoid reoccurrence
Requisitioners or Procurement Officials shall not enter into any LVA commitments with vendors unless the LVA’s PO is approved by the CO or Procurement Approving Authority.
All LVA purchases should be in writing (stating price, quantity, brand/model, delivery place/time, warranties, after-sale support, etc., as applicable), with receipts obtained. Receipt, inspection, and payment shall follow the normal process as for goods/services acquired via a formal procurement exercise.
Annex 10 – Language to accompany LVAs and purchase orders for software SCOG_SR6: Acquire through Low Value Acquisitions
220.127.116.11 Exceptions to LVAs
The following requirements cannot be purchased through an LVA and shall be processed via procurement, regardless of value:
- Firearms and ammunition;
- Blood or blood products;
- Software to be run in data centres.
For easy reference, click the link to the “Business Partner Commercial Companies” to create UMOJA LVA vendors: https://iseek-newyork.un.org/departmental_page/master-data-maintenance-0.
IPSAS Compliance: LVAs for goods that are considered “assets” as defined by IPSAS must be properly identified in Shopping Carts in order to allow the appropriate downstream process in relation to capitalizing cost, inventory, etc. (see training material “SC318 – UMOJA Requisitioning”, and User Guide “UMOJA Requisitioning”).
An RFQ is an informal method of solicitation. It is used for low-value procurement (equal to or below US$ 150,000) where the requirement for goods or services is clear and specific, and the estimated value is up to US$ 150,000. The RFQ process shall comply with the four principles stated in Financial Regulation 5.12.
RFQs are awarded based on the technically acceptable offer that is the lowest price. RFQs are subject to the following conditions:
- Under no circumstances shall the requirement be split into multiple solicitations or combined with other RFQs or LVAs for the same or related, in order to avoid a formal method of solicitation. The RFQ solicitation process can only be conducted by a qualified Procurement Official who was delegated such authority;
- Prior to commencing the RFQ, the Procurement Official will estimate the total value of the goods and/or services and substantiate such estimate in the Source Selection Plan.
- A minimum of five invitees to an RFQ is required. However, the Procurement Official shall ensure that sufficient number of invitees are invited to generate more than five quotations but no less than a minimum of three quotations. Should it not be possible to invite five vendors, the reason must be recorded in writing and signed by the Procurement Official;
- Procurement Officials should undertake their best efforts to ensure that 5 or more quotations are received. An RFQ should generate a minimum of three offers. If a Procurement Official is not able to obtain at least three (3) quotations despite his/her best efforts, a written explanation of the reasons must be recorded in the relevant system for the approval by the Director, PD or the CPO, to allow award based on lower number of offers;
- The use of the RFQ templates is mandatory in all cases, except when there is a justifiable reason not to use them (such as when the RFQ is issued in a language for which a template does not exist). RFQs must have a clearly defined submission deadline, which must be specified in the RFQ document and communicated to all prospective bidders. Quotations in response to an RFQ must be received in writing to a centralized, dedicated e-mail address as established by each Procurement Office and released to the Procurement Official simultaneously. Gradually, the e- tendering process will be expanded to RFQ requirements;
- Quotations should be uploaded in UMOJA for monitoring and audit purposes. Alternatively, quotations may also be filed electronically, e.g. in sharepoint, as long as monitoring and audit requirements will be met;
- Should the RFQ process result in a contract value exceeding the threshold for informal methods of solicitation, the Procurement Approving Authority shall consider and determine on a case-by- case basis whether to re-issue the solicitation under the appropriate solicitation method. If the final contract value exceeds the threshold by a significant amount, or if the contract is not urgently needed, preference should be given to rebid the requirement under the appropriate solicitation method unless there are justifiable reasons not to.
- Awards are made based on the “lowest-priced, technically acceptable offer” evaluation methodology and based on Financial Rule 105.16 (a)(x) (see Chapter 8 Evaluation of Submissions).
An ITB is a formal method of solicitation where vendors are invited to submit a bid for the provision of goods or services. It is normally used when the requirements for goods/services are i) simple and straightforward, ii) can be expressed well quantitatively and qualitatively at the time of solicitation, and iii) can be provided in a straightforward way. For UN procurements above US$ 150,000, one of the two formal methods of solicitation (i.e. ITB or RFP) must be used unless there is an exception to the normal process, in accordance with Financial Rule 105.16. ITB can also be used for lower value procurement equal to or below US$ 150,000 if the Procurement Official determines it appropriate to the particularities of the requirement.
Criteria of an ITB: ITBs are awarded based on the technically acceptable offer that is the lowest price. ITBs are subject to the following conditions:
a. The use of the ITB templates is mandatory in all cases. ITBs must have a clearly defined submission deadline, which must be specified in the ITB document and communicated to all prospective bidders. Bids in response to an ITB must be received in writing;
b. ITBs are based on a one-envelope system, i.e., the financial and the technical components of a bid are combined in one single document. ITBs are subject to the bid receipt and opening procedures outlined in Chapter 7 Management of Submissions;
c. An ITB can either define the minimum requirements to be met, or outline a range of acceptable requirements. During the evaluation, a bid is compliant based on pass/fail criteria;
d. Applicable Financial Rule: Awards are based on the lowest-priced, substantially conforming bid evaluation methodology, including delivery terms, and any other technical requirements stated in the ITB Financial Rule 105.15 (a)) (see Chapter 8 Evaluation of Submissions).
An RFP is a formal method of solicitation. It is used for procurement of goods and services when requirements cannot be expressed quantitatively and qualitatively (e.g. consulting or similar services) at the time of solicitation or for the purchase of complex goods and/or services where the requirements may be met in a variety of ways and, accordingly, an evaluation based on cumulative/weighted analysis is most appropriate. In this case, the UN prepares Solicitation Documents, which describe the Requirement for goods/services and requests that vendors submit proposals with solutions and associated pricing for the goods/services that the UN is requiring. For UN procurements above US $150,000, one of the two formal methods of solicitation (i.e., ITB or RFP) must be used (unless there is an exception to the normal process in accordance with Financial Rule 105.16). An RFP is only required for procurement above US$ 150,000 but can also be used for lower value procurement (equal to or below US$ 150,000) if requirements are complex or if the Procurement Official otherwise determines it appropriate.
Criteria of an RFP: RFPs are subject to the following conditions:
- An RFP requests that bidders submit a technical proposal that offers a solution to the requirements specified in the solicitation documents. Bidders are also to submit a separate financial proposal indicating all costs that the bidder will charge in carrying out the technical proposal. In response to an RFP, vendors must submit the technical and financial proposals in separate sealed envelopes (two-envelope system). The purpose of the two-envelope system is to make sure the technical evaluation focuses solely on the contents of the technical proposals, without influence from the financial proposals.
- RFPs are subject to the bid receipt and opening procedures outlined in Chapter 7, including the requirement for separate opening sessions for technical proposals (all proposals received) and financial proposals (only for those whose proposals are deemed technically compliant after evaluation).
- The evaluation criteria for an RFP are to be expressly stated in the SSP and in the Solicitation Documents. Both the technical and the financial (i.e. commercial) evaluation factors shall be described. Mandatory evaluation criteria (if any) must also be described.
- The weight of technical factors versus financial factors must also be indicated.
Proposals are evaluated, ranked, and awarded according to the ‘cumulative/weighted analysis’ evaluation methodology, defining best value as the paramount overall benefit when considering technical and financial factors. The contract is awarded to the qualified vendor whose proposal is considered to be most responsive to the requirements in the solicitation and offers the best value (technical and financial) (Financial Rule 105.15 (b).
To give bidders a sense of what the UN deems important in the evaluation process, the technical and commercial criteria shall be listed in the RFP Solicitation Documents in priority order of their weight. However, the exact weights of each technical and financial sub-criterion may not be disclosed to bidders in the Solicitation Documents or otherwise.
The weighting of technical proposal vs. financial proposal should be considered as follows:
- The applicable balance between the technical and commercial evaluation criteria must be established before the RFP is issued, and expressly stated in the SSP and in the Solicitation Documents. Weighting needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis to achieve the appropriate balance.
- Weightings of technical and financial proposals can be in the proportion of either 80%-20%, 70%-30%, 60%-40%, or 50%-50%, or as deemed appropriate by the Procurement Official, depending on whether the technical elements or the financial element have been determined to have higher importance. The lower the complexity of the technical requirements, the higher the weight that should be given to the financial element. If the financial element is difficult to reliably foresee or control over the course of the contract, then the weight given to the financial element may be lower.
- Each technical and commercial evaluation criterion needs to have a pre-established weight unless the criterion is a mandatory requirement (If it is a mandatory requirement, then the bidders’ compliance with the criterion will be evaluated on a pass/fail basis).
In the SSP and in the RFP, a minimum passing threshold in terms of percentage of the total points of the technical proposal (normally 60% or 70% of total points) must be indicated. If a bidder’s technical proposal passes this minimum threshold and meets all mandatory requirements, the proposal will be deemed technically compliant to the RFP. If it is technically responsive, then the bidder’s financial proposal will be subject to the financial evaluation. If it is not deemed technically compliant, then the bidder’s proposal will not be further considered for purposes of being awarded a contract pursuant to the RFP.
TIPS FOR RFP
Weighting of technical and financial proposals needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis to achieve the appropriate balance.
The technical and commercial criteria in the RFP shall be listed in the priority order of their weight, while the exact weights of each technical and financial sub-criterion may not be disclosed in the solicitation document.
Each technical and commercial evaluation criterion needs to have a pre-established weight, unless they are mandatory requirement.
18.104.22.168 Multi-Stage RFPs
A multi-stage RFP procurement process may be chosen in exceptional cases and only upon approval by the ASG, OSCM or his or her designate, as the method of solicitation.
Two-Step Process: The multi-stage RFP is similar to a standard RFP process. However, in a multi-stage RFP procurement process, bidders are to submit interim proposals. Prior to submission of their interim proposals for evaluation, the UN enters into discussion/dialogue with all prequalified bidders. The evaluation may result either in all bidders being permitted to the next stage or some bidders being eliminated from further consideration if their proposals are deemed clearly unsuitable for the needs of the UN. On an individual basis, the UN will enter into discussion/dialogue with those bidders that passed the interim evaluation to enable them to submit final proposals in response to the RFP.
Prototypes or Proof-of-Concept Elements: Pursuant to the SSP, the RFP may require the proposals to include prototypes or proof of concept elements. The interim proposals and, if applicable, the prototype/proof of concepts will be evaluated based on pre-established technical criteria that are clearly indicated in the SSP. The technical criteria should not be changed during the solicitation process. Please note that prototypes or proof-of-concepts may be incorporated into normal RFPs as well as multi-stage RFPs.
Amendments to the RFP: In connection with the evaluation of the interim proposals and the subsequent dialogues, the RFP may be amended to clarify the terms of the requirements. The amended RFP should be issued to all remaining bidders. It should be noted, however, that the requirements outlined in the original RFP cannot be materially changed. Furthermore, the technical and financial evaluation criteria cannot be materially changed at this stage.
Criteria: The multi-stage RFP is an exceptional process which may be selected if
i. The means of delivering the requirement of the UN cannot be met without adaptation of readily available solutions.
ii. The UN’s needs are for complex and innovative solutions that cannot be defined in sufficient detail in a SOW; and
iii. Other methods of solicitation do not allow for the required level of collaboration between the UN and bidders to develop a suitable solution (i.e., the use of a standard RFP has been assessed and determined to be not appropriate or constitutes an unacceptable level of high risk).
The fact that the requirement entails aspects of innovation does not in itself justify the use of a multi- stage RFP.
Resource-intensive Process: The multi-stage RFP process is a detailed, resource- intensive process that needs to be properly managed for its benefits to be fully realized while maintaining the principles of fairness and integrity. Its use and suitability for a specific requirement should be justified in the SSP.
Negotiations: Procurement Officials should note that the use of multi-stage RFPs does not preclude negotiations with the vendor recommended for award. However, the technical criteria as well as the requirement should not be changed during negotiations.
Probity Monitor: To ensure that the multi-stage RFP process is done consistent with the applicable UN Financial Regulations and Rules and recognized best practices, an independent Probity Monitor may be appointed by the ASG, OSCM to provide probity assurance services throughout the process. The Probity Monitor should not have any decision-making role in the RFP process. The Probity Monitor should be an independent party and should not report to Procurement or the Requisitioning Office; it should report to ASG, OSCM.
Terms of Reference (TOR) Probity Monitor
UN standard solicitation templates should be used when soliciting offers from vendors through RFQs, ITBs, or RFPs and which will contain all information necessary to prepare a suitable offer. The standard solicitation documents are templates that include mandatory requirements, terms and conditions customized to fit the specific requirements (goods/services), and the procurement method undertaken (informal/formal). The templates are to be completed with the details applicable to each solicitation process.
While the details and complexity of solicitation documents may vary according to the nature and value of the requirements, each set of solicitation documents must contain all information and appropriate provisions that are necessary for bidders to understand the UN’s needs and to prepare a competitive offer. Thus, the solicitation documents must include all information concerning a specific solicitation process and be as concise as possible. New requirements cannot be introduced, and existing ones cannot be changed after the solicitation documents have been issued unless amended in line with Chapter 6.6.
The standard paragraphs of the solicitation documents, including the annexes, cannot be amended except for Annex B, which includes the SOW or TOR. Furthermore, solicitation documents should not include any text, requirements, or conditions that contradict the UNGCC.
UN solicitation documents usually consist of the following components:
a. Letter of Invitation (main tender document);
b. Acknowledgment Letter;
c. Statement of Works/Requirements;
d. Special Instructions and Evaluation Criteria;
e. Performance Security Form (if applicable); and
f. Form of Contract and relevant UNGCC.
The following articles (Chapters 6.4.2 through 6.4.9) describe the information that is typically part of each of the components mentioned above. However, in some cases, the Procurement Official may alter the composition of some of the components if, in the professional judgment, the documents provide a clear and complete description of the requirements and instructions to bidders.
The solicitation documents should include on the first page a letter (a “Letter of Invitation”) inviting vendors to submit quotations/bids/proposals. The Letter of Invitation should include the following, among other elements:
a. A reference to the specific procurement activity (title and reference number);
b. A list of the sections that make up the solicitation documents and the supporting documents to be issued as part of the solicitation documents;
c. Name and contact details of the UN Procurement Official in charge of the solicitation and for the clarifications process. Alternatively, it can include a generic email address from the procurement unit or the mechanism by which clarifications are handled on an e-tendering system (if the solicitation process is done via e-tendering);
d. The solicitation documents should stipulate that any additional information, clarification, correction of errors, or modifications of bidding documents will be distributed and detailed in a written notification to bidders prior to the deadline for receipt, in order to enable bidders to take appropriate actions;
e. Similarly, all vendors should be informed of the right to modify or make corrections to quotations, bids, or proposals, provided that any such modification or corrections are received by the UN in writing prior to the deadline for Submissions in the same manner of submission, as instructed in the Letter of Invitation;
f. Vendors should be requested to keep their offers valid for a specified number of days, allowing time for evaluation of offers and award of contract. Typically, a vendor should be requested to keep its offer valid for a period of 60 or 180 days for ITBs and RFPs, and for 30-60 days for RFQs, but the timeframe could be reduced if the price of the good/service to be procured fluctuates rapidly (e.g. raw materials, petroleum products, etc.);
g. The Letter of Invitation shall indicate in which currency the prices of the offer should be quoted or if vendors can determine the currency. Further, the instructions should state that the contract will be issued in the currency determined by the UN in the bidding document or in the bidder’s offer (as the case may be), and the payment will be issued in the currency of the contract;
h. If receipt of offers is permitted in another currency, the UN shall convert prices to a single currency using the United Nations operational rate of exchange, applicable on the deadline date for receipt of offers;
i. Article II, Section 7 of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities provides, inter alia, that the United Nations is exempt from all direct taxes, except charges for public utility services, and is exempt from customs restrictions, duties, and charges of a similar nature, in respect of articles imported or exported for its official use;
j. The solicitation document should state that all bids shall be submitted net of any direct taxes and any other taxes and duties payable for the purpose of bid evaluation. Therefore, the Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) Incoterm must not be used in solicitation documents for goods and OLA or an entity’s Legal Advisor must approve exceptions to this rule;
k. The Special Instructions shall indicate whether Bid Security is to be required. If Bid Security is required, then the amount and form of the Bid Security should be indicated. (See Chapter 6.4.8 for more information on Bid Security requirements);
l. The solicitation documents shall stipulate that the bidder must identify any subcontractors that will be material to the vendor’s performance under the contract. The use of subcontractors does not relieve the vendor with whom the UN has a contract of its responsibility to fulfill the terms and conditions of the contract. The UN reserves the right to obtain from the subcontractors the same level of information as from the prime contractor, for the sake of due diligence (security, capacity, financial strength, etc.). However, it must be clear that the UN will not enter into a contractual relationship with any subcontractors, and as such, holds no liability to subcontractors. Once a contract is awarded, the UN’s consent is required to replace subcontractors;
m. The solicitation documents, as well as the offers, are to be prepared in English and/or official UN languages, as needed and subject to the capacity of the office;
n. Translation of the solicitation documents into a local language may be necessary and is encouraged to facilitate access to business opportunities by local vendors if deemed appropriate. If such need and corresponding capacity exist, optional translations into other languages may be undertaken. Regardless of whether a translated version of the solicitations documents is provided for convenience purposes, the English version of the solicitation documents (including the UNGCC and the model form of contract, included as part of the solicitation document) alone shall govern the contractual relations between the UN and the bidder. The translated version(s) is provided for convenience only and is not to be relied upon as having any force and effect for contractual purposes. A statement to this effect should be included in any document that is translated;
- The date, time and place for submission of offers must be clearly stated, together with the location, date, and time for the opening of offers (if public);
- The deadline for submission should allow a vendor a sufficient number of days to prepare and submit an offer. Consult the below table for the recommended minimum solicitation periods (excluding the issue date but including the closing date);
- If due cause exists, the Procurement Approving Authority can authorize a shorter solicitation period. However, the Procurement Official must justify the decision for waiving the minimum period requirement in a note to the file that describes the reasons and explains how the requirement for the competition will be met, despite the shortened solicitation period. The note to the file must also confirm the availability of the evaluation committee members immediately after the end of the solicitation period. Such note must be included in the procurement case file;
Minimum Solicitation Period (in calendar days)
21 (15 days without a requirement for samples)
ITB and RFP
Works or services
TABLE 4. GUIDELINES FOR THE RECOMMENDED MINIMUM SOLICITATION PERIOD
p. In order to convey all relevant instructions governing the preparation and submission of offers, the solicitation documents must include a list of documents required to form a complete offer, as well as notice to bidders that non-compliant offers may be rejected. A compliant offer is one that meets the formal criteria by conforming substantially to all terms, conditions, and specifications in the solicitation documents. Further, the Invitation Letter should always include:
i. Mode of submission (email, fax, hand-delivered, mail, UN e-tendering system);
ii. Address/fax number/email;
iii. Instructions on offer packaging, (e.g. sealed, number of copies, the requirement in RFPs to submit technical and financial offers separately (two-envelope system), etc.
q. Information will be included about whether a public tender opening of bids will be held, and, if so, details for the same (date, time, venue). For details, refer to Chapter 7 Management of Submissions;
r. The Letter of Invitation will indicate whether Performance Security is required. If Performance Security is required, then the amount and form of the Performance Security should be indicated. (See Chapter 6.4.8 Bid/ Advance Payment/ Performance Security Forms and Requirements for more information on Performance Security requirements.);
s. The solicitation documents must specify the payment terms:
- The payment terms are usually net 30 days upon receipt of invoice with all required documents deemed to be satisfactory by the UN, as well as receipt and acceptance of goods or services, or upon receipt of required shipping documentation, depending on the Incoterm used (see Chapter 13: Contract Management and Contract Administration);
- No advance payments should be made, except when the conditions outlined in Financial Rule 105.19 apply. The Procurement Official shall record the reasons for advance or progress payments in the procurement case file. Under certain conditions, the UN may agree to pay for partial delivery of the goods or upon completion of clearly defined milestones for services or works, provided adequate security for the advance or progress payment is established. In such cases, the Procurement Official should consider establishing specially developed payment terms, taking payment flows into consideration, provided such terms are approved by the Director, PD or the CPO and are tailored to the specific procurement. Where advance payments are necessary the approval thresholds of the relevant DOA must be complied with;
- Lease payments paid in the same month to which they relate, regardless if they are paid on the first or last day of the month, are not considered advance payments. However, lease payments paid prior to the month to which they relate are considered advance payments.
The Acknowledgment Letter serves as a notification by the vendors, advising the Procurement Official whether they intend to submit a proposal/bid and/or attend the public tender opening.
The Scope of Work for the Requirements should be included so that the bidders have all information necessary to prepare a responsive and meaningful offer (See Chapter 4.4 Requirements Definition). The Scope of Work and the Form of Contract are drafted in a way that they are coherent with each other.
Annex C is the ‘Special Instructions and Evaluation Criteria’ Annex. It is intended to give the bidders a detailed overview of the solicitation process, including a description of how bids are to be evaluated. The components of the Special Instructions are described below. The components of the Evaluation Criteria are described in the next chapter (i.e., Chapter 6.4.6 Evaluation Criteria (i.e., Part of Annex C)).
22.214.171.124 Pricing Requirements
Annex C shall include price information and additional information, such as whether a contract will be signed based on fixed price/lump-sum, or cost reimbursement in suitable cases (such as for travel/DSA).
Commodities: If the price of the commodities is likely to fluctuate over time, (e.g. petroleum products, metal products) and it is the UN’s intention to issue a contract based on a price formula that may include variable components (such as the Platts Index or London Metal Exchange), then the price formula should be clearly specified in Annex C; the wording for the same may be cleared in advance by OLA or a Legal Advisor.
UN Right to Change Quantities of Goods or Services: If applicable, it should be stated, in Annex C and in the Form of Contract, that the UN reserves the right to increase or decrease the quantity of goods and/or services originally specified in the solicitation documents, without any change from bidders in the unit prices or conditions. Alternatively, the solicitation documents may also specify that the quantities of goods and services are estimates, and that no obligation to buy a minimum quantity exists for the UN.
126.96.36.199 Site Visits and Bidders’ Conferences
The Special Instructions Annex in the solicitation documents should communicate to the bidders any information about the location, date, and time of any bidders’ conference or site-visits that will be conducted for the tender. If a solicitation contemplates site visits as well as a bidders’ conference, the site visits should generally take place prior to the bidders’ conference, to allow bidders to include any questions about the sites.
Site Visits: The purpose of site visits is to enhance the understanding of the requirement by allowing bidders to examine the physical sites where they are being asked to provide services.
- Attendance of the site visits may be mandatory or non-mandatory. The Procurement Official, in consultation with the Requisitioner, will apply sound judgment to establish when site visits are necessary and if participation should be mandatory for all participating bidders;
- Participation in site visits should only be mandatory in those cases in which the Procurement Official, in consultation with relevant Requisitioner, deems that the bidders could not understand the scope and breadth of the requirement based only on the information shared in the solicitation documents, or in those cases in which it has been determined that the quality of the Submissions would greatly improve by providing a forum for bidders to observe the actual conditions on the ground;
- In the case that site visits are non-mandatory and the bidder chooses not to attend, the bidder is implicitly renouncing all the benefits of a better knowledge of the physical conditions on the ground. For that reason, lack of knowledge of such conditions will not be accepted as grounds not to comply with any of the contractual obligations of the resulting contract;
- Site visits can be guided and/or non-guided. The solicitation documents will clearly indicate which type of site visits the UN will allow in each case, and the procedures to follow to participate:
i. Guided Site Visits: The UN will organize an itinerary and an agenda, which will be shared with all bidders prior to the start of the site visits. Bidders are requested to fully comply with the agenda and itinerary in order for their attendance to be certified;
ii. Non-Guided Site Visits: The UN will provide a time window of a few days in which the bidder, at its own initiative, may visit the site. The bidder must announce its visit in advance for security purposes, as detailed in the solicitation documents. Unguided site- visits will not be facilitated by any of the UN personnel directly involved in the solicitation, but by other personnel on the site. No information will be shared in such visits other than a tour of the facilities, so the bidder can observe the conditions on the ground. All bidders will be afforded the same tour;
e. In cases when site visits are not practical, or when otherwise the Procurement Official, in consultation with relevant Requisitioner, deems it appropriate, the Procurement Official may consider the use of videos or other electronic means during the bidders’ conference. This is especially recommended for non-mandatory site visits;
f. Prospective bidders shall bear all costs related to their participation in site visits;
g. See sub-clause (iii) below regarding additional requirements applicable to mandatory site visits and mandatory bidders’ conferences.
Bidders’ Conferences: The purpose of a bidders’ conference is to enhance the understanding of the requirement among the participating bidders in a solicitation:
- The Procurement Official, in consultation with relevant requisitioner, should apply sound judgment to establish when a bidders’ conference is necessary and if participation should be mandatory for all participating bidders. Participation in bidders’ conferences should only be mandatory in those cases in which the Procurement Official, in consultation with the relevant Requisitioner, deems that the bidders could not understand the scope and breadth of the requirement based only on the information shared in the solicitation documents, or in those cases in which it has been determined that the quality of the Submissions would greatly improve by providing a forum for bidders’ to interact with the UN. In all other cases, which include most solicitations for the provision of standard goods, participation in bidders’ conferences, if any, should be left to the prerogative of the bidder (e.g. non-mandatory);
- The Procurement Official is encouraged to use electronic means to organize bidders’ conferences, as it makes it easier for bidders, from a time and economic perspective, to participate. This is especially recommended for non-mandatory bidders’ conferences;
- Bidders should be requested to send questions and comments about the solicitation documents in writing prior to the bidders’ conference so they can be addressed in an orderly fashion. The Procurement Official may, at his or her own discretion, allow for further questions and comments spontaneously raised during the bidders’ conferences or encourage discussions, if those may contribute to clarify the requirement and are aligned with the purpose of the bidders’ conference;
- Information shared during the bidders’ conferences is for informational purposes only. If any information is shared that modifies or provides further details on any of the conditions of the solicitation documents, such modification and/or clarification is only valid if it is confirmed via a formal amendment to the solicitation documents;
- The Procurement Official is not obligated to address all questions raised during a bidders’ conference, only those that, in his or her opinion, in consultation with the relevant Requisitioner, are helpful to clarify the Requirement. All questions formally submitted in writing within the stipulated time frame prior to the bidders’ conference must be formally answered to all bidders in writing. In some cases, the Procurement Official may allow more questions to be submitted in writing after the bidders’ conference;
- In case of non-mandatory bidders’ conferences, the Procurement Official will also keep in the file a record of which bidders attended:
i. Only bidders that are sent a Letter of Invitation directly by the UN (see Chapter 6.4.1) have permission to attend bidders’ conferences. The Procurement Official may, on an exceptional basis, allow other bidders to attend if a revised List of Invitees including such additional bidders is submitted to the Approval Authority for approval prior to the bidders’ conference. A bidder must specify which person(s) is/are designated an employee or representative to attend the bidders’ conference on its behalf. A single representative may not represent two or more companies at a bidders’ conference. The Procurement Official may allow for an exception if two companies are two subsidiaries of the same group (e.g. the parent company and the local subsidiary). The Procurement Official may limit the number of participants per bidder for reasons of space and logistics;
ii. Prospective bidders shall bear all costs related to their participation in bidders’ conferences;
iii. See sub-clause (iii) below regarding additional requirements applicable to mandatory site visits and mandatory bidders’ conferences.
Mandatory Site Visits and Mandatory Bidders’ Conferences: In case of bidders’ conferences or site visits for which participation is mandatory, the following will apply:
- Participation of all sessions of the bidders’ conference or site visits is mandatory. Bidders that miss one session (e.g. the first morning, the last day, etc.) will not be marked as having attended. Arriving slightly delayed to one or more sessions will not be considered as non-participation;
- It is the bidders’ sole responsibility to arrive at the bidders’ conference and the site visits. The UN cannot take any responsibility for any event that may preclude the bidder from participating, such as missed flights, problems with visas, problems with security clearance, etc. Bidders are encouraged to plan in advance in order to minimize the risks of non-attendance;
- For an in-person bidders’ conference, all participants must sign an attendance sheet per session/day, which must be kept on file by the Procurement Official. For electronic bidders’ conferences, other means may be used to certify attendance;
- In some cases, and if requested by the bidder well in advance, the United Nations may be able to facilitate a letter to the bidder for the purpose of obtaining visas from the host country to attend the bidder’s conference. However, this is not an obligation for the UN, and the bidder should rely on its own means to obtain the necessary visas;
- Bidders that did not participate in mandatory site visits and/or bidders’ conferences and who therefore are not eligible for the award will be excluded from any further communication about the solicitation, such as amendments to the solicitation process or notices.
188.8.131.52 Partial Bids/Split Award
Information about whether partial offers, often segregated in the solicitation document into so-called “lots”, are acceptable should be included in the solicitation document.
If the requirements are divided into several components or lots, the solicitation should indicate (i) whether bidders must submit bids on all of the lots or whether bidders have the right to submit proposals/bids on just some of the lots (i.e., partial bids) and (ii) whether the UN will be awarding one contract to the bidder that has the best overall bid with respect to all components/lots or whether the UN has the right to award multiple contracts to more than one bidder based on the best proposal/bid submitted per component/lot (i.e., split award).
When determining whether to split the award, possible savings from purchasing items at a lower price should be considered and the resource requirements for administrating and placing several contracts and the supply chain, logistical and other risks related to having multiple contracts in place should be considered.
Requirements cannot be split into separate solicitation processes to avoid thresholds for formal competition. Equally, awards following a single solicitation process should not be split with the sole purpose of avoiding the review by a Review Committee or approval by an appropriate Procurement Approving Authority. The appropriate Procurement Approving Authority for the cumulative estimated value of the total requirement must approve the issuance of separate tenders for a related or linked requirement.
If the requirements are divided into several lots, the solicitation documents should indicate the UN’s right to award the contract to the vendor offering the best offer for all lots or per lot.
Requirements cannot be split into separate tenders to avoid thresholds for formal competition.
The appropriate Procurement Approving Authority must approve the issuance of separate tenders for a related or linked requirement for the cumulative estimated value of the total requirement.
184.108.40.206 Advance Payment Security
The UN does not agree to pay advance payments (i.e., payments in advance of the contractor’s performance under a contract) unless the conditions of Financial Rule 105.19 apply, and, as provided in Financial Rule 105.19, the decision to make an advance payment has been recorded in writing. If the UN has decided to inform bidders to a solicitation process that the UN has decided to allow for advance payment(s) for the contract that is to be awarded, then the Procurement Official should indicate in Annex C whether the winning bidder will be required to deliver to the UN a guarantee of performance security instrument in connection with the UN’s advance payment(s) as a condition for the awarding of the contract. If an Advance Payment Security is required, then bidders would need to factor this into the pricing of their proposals/bids. In addition, a guarantee for advance payment can be requested by the UN when the vendor requests an advance payment and this request has exceptionally been approved as per Financial Rule 105.19 by the appropriate Procurement Approving Authority.
If there are elements to the solicitation process that are either not obvious from the SOW or are worthy of highlighting, then they should be clarified in Annex C (e.g. the need for samples or inspections prior to contract signature). For example, if the solicitation process is being undertaken to establish an LTA or BPO, the Procurement Official could choose to highlight this in Annex C.
If samples of goods are required for the evaluation, the solicitation documents shall state the number, size and other detailed specifications of the required samples, as well as a description of the tests that will be performed. The solicitation documents shall specify that failure to provide the required samples renders the Submission non-compliant and will lead to its rejection. If a vendor voluntarily provides samples without being requested, the samples shall either be disregarded or, if considered of value to the evaluation, all invited vendors shall be requested to provide samples. The solicitation documents shall state that samples shall be provided by the invited vendors free of charge with no guarantee that they will be returned by the UN unless the vendor agrees to take them back in "as-is" condition and pays for their return. The UN shall give no guarantee as to the condition of the samples upon completion of the designated tests and technical evaluation. If any sample is not returned, it shall become part of the regular UN inventory. The UN may require that the vendors give a demonstration of offered goods as part of the evaluation. The solicitation documents shall state the scope of such demonstrations. Such demonstrations shall be provided free of charge, and the UN shall not accept any liability for any damage to or loss of the goods in connection with such demonstrations.
Annex C is the ’Special Instructions and Evaluation Criteria’ Annex. It is intended to give the bidders a detailed overview of the solicitation process, including a description of how bids are to be evaluated. The components of the evaluation criteria are described below. The components of the special instructions are described in the chapter above (i.e., Chapter 6.4.5 Annex C: Special Instructions and Evaluation Criteria).
Overview: Annex C of the solicitation documents must state the evaluation method, according to the solicitation method designated in the SSP (i.e., RFQ, ITB, or RFP). In addition, the solicitation documents must state the evaluation criteria, including as applicable:
a. Preliminary Screening resulting in a compliant bid;
b. Mandatory criteria;
c. Technical criteria;
d. Financial criteria.
The evaluation criteria shall be appropriate to the type, nature, market conditions, and complexity of what is being procured, and should be clearly specified in detail in the solicitation document. Evaluation criteria should be designed to enable the UN to achieve Best Value for Money.
The evaluation must be carried out pursuant to the formal criteria specified in the solicitation documents and the SSP. Should there be the need to make changes to solicitation documents during the solicitation process and before the closing date and time, any such amendments will be made in accordance to Chapter 6.6 Amendments to Solicitation Documents, and amendments to the SSP are to be issued accordingly.
220.127.116.11 Preliminary Screening
During preliminary screening (see Chapter 8.5 Preliminary Screening), the Procurement Official shall review the compliance of the submission with the solicitation documentation and related criteria.
Examples of such formal criteria are:
- The offer is accompanied by the required documentation, including the bid submission form, with signatures in the key portion of the bid form when this is clearly specified in the tender;
- The offer is accompanied by the required securities, when applicable;
- In cases of RFPs, the offer is submitted in two separate envelopes: one containing the technical proposal and the other containing the financial proposal;
- The offer covers the requirement in full or in part, specifically for partial bids;
- The offer includes evidence of acceptance of other important conditions specified in the solicitation documents (e.g. performance security);
- The bidder does not have a conflict of interest, as defined in Chapter 18.104.22.168 Vendor Conflict of Interest;
- The bidder is included in the List of Invitees.
22.214.171.124 Mandatory and Technical Criteria
Mandatory and technical criteria are evaluated during technical evaluation. Mandatory Criteria:
- Mandatory criteria when included in a solicitation document are evaluated on a pass/fail basis, regardless whether the solicitation process is an RFQ, ITB or RFP.
- The extent of the mandatory criteria must have a rational basis related to the fundamental purpose of the requirement. Also, in deciding whether there should be mandatory criteria, the Procurement Official, together with the Requisitioner, should consider the value of the contract and the complexity of the solicitation process. The Procurement Official should ensure that mandatory criteria are not used to limit competition. The following aspects are examples of factors that could be considered mandatory criteria:
- Legal and regulatory requirements such as registration certificates, licenses, standards, etc.;
- Minimum requirements regarding the value of previous contracts;
- Availability of after-sales services or agents in the country of delivery;
- Qualification and experience of proposed personnel;
- No adverse reports of any aspect considered relevant to the requirement in a specified last number of years;
- Evidence that, during a number of years prior to the tender opening date, the bidder is in continuous business of providing similar goods/ services to those offered;
- Institutional and workload capability, such as capacity and availability of production site, staff, etc.;
- Financial capability, such as annual sales turnover of a minimum amount during one/multiple past years and minimum financial profitability and liquidity ratios.
- A bidder must meet all mandatory criteria for the respective lot for which it is recommended for award. The UN will award each of the lots in a manner which achieves the best overall value-for- money combination for the UN.
- Technical criteria are developed for evaluation according to a pass/fail basis, regarding the compliance to the specifications and other requirements (in RFQs and ITBs) and/or the cumulative weighted analysis evaluation method (in RFPs);
- The cumulative weighted analysis evaluation method consists of allocating points using weighted criteria. When using the cumulative weighted analysis evaluation method, technical evaluation criteria are related to the approach and methodology proposed to reach the expected results or solve the identified problem, as described in the requirement definition (TOR or SOW). In these cases, the SSP must clearly state the breakdown of percentages or points allocated to each overall criterion (e.g. experience: [xx] points, approach and methodology: [xx] points, qualifications and competence of proposed personnel: [xx] points). In the solicitation documents, the technical criteria should be listed in order of priority given their allocated scores and weights (i.e., the technical criteria with the highest maximum points should be listed first, without identifying the weight given to each criterion);
- In addition, with respect to RFPs, the UN may consider including a number of technical points for interviews/oral presentations for all bidders or those that have achieved a minimum number of points upon evaluation of the documentation submitted. This should be done only when it is of relevance to determine the overall quality of the proposal and where it is normal commercial practice. The criteria for the interview need to be pre-established and objective in nature. It is important to manage the process properly and ensure the RFP includes wording on the purpose of the interview/oral presentations. Normally, the purpose of the interviews/oral presentations is to validate the information provided by the bidders in their proposal and to test the bidder’s understanding of the requirement. It is encouraged to state in the solicitation documents the approximate dates when such interviews/oral presentations will take place if the date can be reasonably estimated.
Rating Each Technical Criterion
- The Requisitioner, in consultation with the Procurement Official, shall establish a rating system as part of the SSP that can be used to evaluate the submission in an objective manner. The scored technical evaluation criteria should, within reason and where possible, be established in a way that allows bidder’s responses to be assessed by measurable and quantifiable indicators. The rating system shall be relevant to the requirement and involve numerical scoring, and it shall be accompanied by a description of the rating defined in narrative form, supplemented by an explanation of such scoring;
- As an example, the following rating system could be used:
More than 10 years of experience in providing the requirements
Between 6-10 years of experience in providing the requirements
Between 3-5 years of experience in providing the requirements
Less than 3 years of experience in providing the requirements
TABLE 5: SAMPLE NUMERICAL SCORING SYSTEM
126.96.36.199 Financial Criteria
Price is an important evaluation criterion, but the weight of the price depends on the chosen evaluation methodology (see Chapter 8.4 Evaluation Methodologies). It is important to clearly state in the solicitation documents which price factors will be used for evaluation. Various factors such as freight cost, operational cost, incidental or start-up costs, as well as life cycle costs, can be taken into consideration.
In all cases, required breakdown of pricing, as well as evaluation criteria, should be clearly stated in the solicitation documents.
Only the factors stated in the solicitation documents will be considered in the financial evaluation.
In order to further assist bidders in determining the appropriate quality of goods or services, the UN may choose to include estimates of personnel and other input required in order to reach the expected results. However, it is strongly recommended that the UN not disclose the available budget for the contract. Such disclosure may be only done upon approval from the Director, PD or the CPO.
- The UN may state in the solicitation document that the financial evaluation will consider the full life-cycle cost. The full life-cycle cost of a product typically considers costs associated with the purchase and use of the product and may include:
- Product cost (initial cost);
- Freight cost;
- Operational cost over the useful life of the product (e.g. electricity, fuel, consumables);
- Installation and training cost;
- Maintenance cost over the useful life of the product (e.g. after-sales services, repair, spare parts, human resources);
- Disposal cost (including handling and treatment and takeback if included) or residual value at the end of use.
Life cycle costing should be included in the financial evaluation when the costs of operation and/or maintenance over the specified life of the goods are estimated to be considerable, in comparison with the initial cost and may vary among different offers received. Selection of the lowest-priced offer based on life cycle costing analysis can lead to win-win situations when cost savings go hand-in-hand with better overall sustainability.
When using life cycle costing, the solicitation document shall specify:
- A minimum number of years for the life cycle cost consideration, (i.e., the number of years that the product or service is expected to be used);
- The methodology to be used for calculating the operational, maintenance costs, including the information to be provided by bidders in their offers.
- When including freight in the requirements, an evaluation must be made on the total cost delivered to the final destination (“landed cost”) and may require bidders to quote prices on FCA/FOB/EXW Incoterms basis, with freight cost quoted separately, and CPT/DAT/DAP Incoterms basis prices. In cases where the UN requests prices on FCA/FOB/EXW basis, the UN reserves the right to seek freight quotations from its freight forwarders with which there is an LTA in place and to issue the award to the bidder whose landed cost is lowest after adding their FCA/FOB/EXW price to the freight quotation obtained by the UN;
- For more information on Incoterms please refer to Chapter 12 Logistics;
188.8.131.52 Evaluation Criteria for Joint Ventures
A bidder may submit an offer in association with other entities, particularly with an entity in the country where the goods and/or services are to be provided. It is the preference and strong recommendation that contracts be signed with a prime vendor and for any partners to act as subcontractors, as joint ventures can give rise to legal risks. In the case of a joint venture or consortium,
- All parties of a joint venture or consortium shall be jointly and severally liable to the UN for any obligations arising from their offer and the contract that may be awarded to them as a result of the solicitation process;
- The offer shall clearly identify the entity designated to act as the contact point to deal with the UN, as detailed in the bid/proposal. Such entity shall have the authority to make binding decisions upon the joint venture or consortium during the solicitation process, and any such authority shall not be altered during the solicitation process (and, with respect to the winning bidder, during the term of the contract) without the prior consent of the UN;
- The composition or the constitution of the joint venture or consortium shall not be altered without the prior consent of the UN.
Where joint ventures are anticipated in a solicitation process, the solicitation document should state how each evaluation criterion would be applied. In particular, it should be clear regarding each criterion whether:
- All joint venture members combined must meet it;
- Each joint venture member must meet it;
- At least one of the joint venture members must meet it.
Normally, mandatory criteria, such as specific experience requirements and turnover requirements, refer to all joint venture partners combined, whilst eligibility criteria are per each joint venture partner (non- inclusion in ineligibility lists, etc.).
The solicitation document should include specific forms/schedules to be filled out by bidders and included in the bidders’ bids/proposals. The number and specific forms/schedules to be included should be in accordance with the complexity of the requirements and solicitation method selected.
Once the bidders have completed the requested information as specified in the solicitation document and a contract has been awarded, the information contained in the bid/proposal and in these schedules of the successful bidder will be extracted from the bid/proposal and incorporated into the contract to be signed. The bid/proposal itself is not ordinarily to be included in the contract as an attachment.
If applicable, Procurement Officials shall include in the solicitation documents the appropriate forms for Bid Security or Advance Payment Security, if required pursuant to the SSP. If performance security is required of the winning bidder, then the form of performance security also should be included in the solicitation documents. The Procurement Officials shall ensure that, as part of their offers, bidders accept the provision of such security.
Bid Security Form and Requirements
The purpose of Bid Security is to discourage frivolous and irresponsible offers with an adverse impact on the procurement process, which may lead to additional cost for re-tendering and evaluation, and/or possible delays in implementation of mandates. Bid/proposal securities can be requested by the UN to mitigate the following bidder-related risks:
a. Withdrawal or modification of a bid or proposal after the bid receipt deadline;
b. Failure to sign the contract;
c. Failure to provide the required security for the performance under the contract after a bid or proposal has been accepted;
d. Failure to comply with any other conditions specified in the solicitation documents, prior to signing the contract.
Bid Security is not always required for a solicitation exercise. It is recommended to require bid security in the following circumstances:
- The high value of goods/services to be purchased;
- The urgency of the request (e.g. goods must be in the country or construction works must be performed before the rainy season);
- Emergencies (i.e., life and death situations);
- High risk of offer withdrawal due to market conditions, increasing raw material prices, country instability, etc.;
- The contract cannot be placed within a relatively short period).
The obligation to furnish a bid security may be a deterring factor preventing bidders from doing business with the United Nations, especially for awards estimated in low amounts, therefore Procurement Officials may exercise discretion in determining when it is advisable to request it.
If Bid Security is required, the amount and form of the bid security shall be specified in the solicitation documents. Furthermore, the bid security shall remain valid for a period that provides sufficient time to the UN in the event the security has to be cashed (i.e., until the date of expected contract signature).
Bid security shall be released to unsuccessful bidders once the contract has been signed with the winning bidder.
Calculation of the value of Bid Security should consider various elements, amongst them the costs of evaluating offers and re-tendering and the estimated value of the contract. For reference purposes, the value of the Bid Security could range between 0.5% and 4% of the expected contract amount; however, the Bid Security must always be stated as a specific lump sum rather than as a percentage of the bid amount (to avoid signaling the budget estimate), except for solicitation processes with multiple lots, if this approach is not practical. Bid security represents a cost to the bidder, and therefore, it is essential that the bid security is set at a level that will not discourage participation in the solicitation process. The bid security is normally in the form of a bank guarantee. Other forms of bid security (e.g. a bond, demand draft, cashier’s cheques, or irrevocable cheques certified by a bank) may be used either with prior review by OLA or a Legal Advisor or upon approval by the Director, PD or the Chief Procurement Officer. The acceptable formats should be indicated in the solicitation document along with relevant templates.
In UN office locations where it is difficult for bidders to obtain Bid Security or it is not a normal market requirement, it can be replaced by a ‘bid securing declaration’, which is a non-monetary statement committing the bidder to sign the contract if awarded. In these cases, a standard template must be used, and PD’s guidance sought prior to using it in that template in the first solicitation exercise, and approval must be obtained from the relevant Procurement Approving Authority.
Performance Security Requirements
Performance security may be requested in solicitation documents by the UN from the winning bidder as a requirement to be provided, following an award, in order to mitigate the risk of non-performance and breach of contractual obligations (such as the delivery of all equipment, services rendered, and works completed as per the contract).
The performance security is normally to be in the form of an unconditional and irrevocable on-demand bank guarantee. Other forms of performance security (e.g. a bond, a demand draft, cashier’s cheques, or irrevocable cheques certified by a bank) may be used with prior review by OLA or a Legal Advisor. The acceptable formats should be indicated in the solicitation document along with relevant templates.
The value of the performance security may vary, depending on the nature, risk, and magnitude of the services or goods to be provided under the contract (e.g. large variety of products to be covered under the contract with a risk of failure to deliver or delicate products with a high risk of damage during handling). The performance security should reflect the value of the assessed risk and subsequent loss to the UN should the contractor fail to fully perform under the respective contract. This would be dependent on the market, situation, local conditions, and/or political and economic situation of the location of the end-user. It is recommended that the total value of the performance security should normally not exceed ten percent (10%) of the contract value. The higher the percentage, the less attractive may be for bidders to participate in the tender exercise, to the point that it may become a deterrent for some prospective bidders; also, the bidders’ financial proposals are likely to cost more if the performance security is higher.
A copy of the applicable Form of Contract and the relevant UNGCC should either be included with the solicitation documents or else reference should be made to the UNGCC, available on the UNPD’s public website. Including a form of contract allows bidders to know the terms and conditions of the specific agreement before submitting a bid/proposal and allows them to understand what they would be expected to sign if selected as the winning bidder. Several forms of model contracts can be found on the OLA website. For complex requirements for which the standard UN model contracts might need some tailoring to meet the needs of the Requirement, the Procurement Official may wish to consult with OLA.
The solicitation documents should state that bidders are requested to accept the UNGCC and the applicable form of the contract included in the solicitation document. The solicitation documents should further provide that if a bidder has any comments or reservations to the UNGCC or form contract, they must submit such comments or reservations with their bids. Failure to submit such comments or reservations will be deemed by the UN as acceptance of all contract terms. Submission of comments or reservations does not, however, mean that the UN will automatically accept them should they be awarded the contract. The solicitation documents should specify whether a bidder’s failure to accept the UNGCC and the form contract, as is, may lead to the bidder’s disqualification or affect the bidder’s weighted score.
In any specific procurement action in which modifications are proposed to the UNGCC, the proposals should be carefully reviewed and only undertaken upon review and advice of the applicable UN Legal Advisor. If necessary, OLA should be consulted prior to reaching any agreement to modify the standard terms and conditions of the UNGCC. The Procurement Official must obtain such clearance prior to issuance of the solicitation documents or signature of a contract. Any such modifications should be considered as applying to the specific procurement action in question only and should not be regarded as setting a precedent for other procurement actions or as a reformulation of the specific provisions of the UNGCC.
Whenever changes are required to be made to the UNGCC, such changes should be reflected in the main agreement and not on the form of the UNGCC themselves
After the solicitation documents have been prepared and completed, the following steps must be undertaken before the documents are distributed.
Approval of Solicitation Documents
The solicitation documents must be approved by the Procurement Approving Authority at the appropriate level, with the corresponding level of delegated procurement authority, prior to issuance and each time they are amended.
Distribution of Solicitation Documents
The solicitation documents shall be issued and distributed simultaneously to all potential vendors included in the List of Invitees, duly signed by the Procurement Approving Authority at the appropriate level with the corresponding level of delegated procurement authority so that all bidders are given the same opportunity to respond. The list should be comprised of vendors identified during market research, via EOI, prequalification, or other means of supply market analysis. They may also be made available to all interested vendors upon request if the request is made within a reasonable time prior to bid closing and would not lead to a delay (i.e., an extension of the bid closing deadline), provided they register at the basic level before the solicitation documents are issued to them.
If the solicitation documents are issued electronically, the Procurement Official should ensure that the documents are issued in limited editing format. In addition, the solicitation document must include a clause stating that the UN takes no responsibility for effective delivery of the electronic document.
A signed copy of the solicitation documents and List of Invitees must be kept on file by the Procurement Official together with documentation on where and how long it was posted (e.g. printouts of screenshots from e-tendering solution), and to whom it was issued (e.g. fax receipts, copies of emails, courier receipts, etc.) to facilitate an audit of the process.
Confidentiality of the List of Invitees:
In order to safeguard the principle of competition, the UN shall not disclose the names of any invited companies.
At any time before the deadline for submission of offers, the UN may, for any reason, whether on its own initiative or following a request for clarification by a vendor, modify the solicitation documents by issuing a formal amendment to the solicitation.
Questions submitted by bidders in writing by the established deadline and their corresponding answers, as well as any relevant documents shared with the vendors during the bidders’ conference, shall be included into the solicitation and considered an integral part of it via formal solicitation amendment. The appropriate Procurement Approving Authority must approve amendments to solicitation documents.
The amendment must be made within a reasonable time before the deadline for submission of offers, in order for vendors to address changes in their offers. In certain cases, amendments may justify an extension of the submission deadline. This should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
In order to ensure that all vendors have the same information, amendments of solicitation documents must be sent simultaneously in writing to all invited vendors.
Bidders that did not attend a mandatory bidders’ conference, and are therefore not eligible for an award, are not required to receive the amendments to the solicitation unless a new opportunity to attend is provided for through an amendment.
Should the amendment to the solicitation include the introduction of new requirements or a substantial change to the nature of the requirements, the Procurement Official will give due consideration to cancelling the procurement process and issuing a new one, as allowed by the operational environment, as a change of requirements may potentially have an impact on the interest of the market for the solicitation.
The UN reserves the right to cancel a solicitation without recourse at any time prior to the contract award. The relevant Procurement Approving Authority must approve all cancellations. Conditions that may give rise to cancellation are:
a. The justification for the initial solicitation is no longer valid;
b. The requirements require material revision.
In the event a solicitation exercise is cancelled, all bidders must receive written notification and offers will be made available for collection by the respective bidder. The UN shall reserve the right to discard such offers unopened without further notice to the bidders. The UN shall not bear any costs associated with returning offers to bidders. The Procurement Official must make sure that all bid securities are returned to the bidders.
When direct contracting under sole sourcing is justified, an offer is requested only by the appropriate Procurement Official from only one vendor following approval by the appropriate Procurement Approving Authority, in accordance with Financial Rule 105.16(a).
Although the direct contracting modality waives the competitive process, this method does not diminish the responsibilities and accountabilities of personnel involved in the procurement process. Under the direct contracting modality, a contract must still be awarded to a vendor whose offer substantially conforms to the requirements at a reasonable price.
The following procurement actions shall still be required:
a. Seeking the necessary approvals to commence the procurement action under the relevant Financial Rule;
b. Writing the requirements definition;
d. An advertisement of a synopsis of the requirement should be posted in the form of a request for EOI. If the Procurement Official decides not to post a request for EOI because the circumstances of the case do not warrant it, s/he shall document the reasons in a note to the case file;
e. Soliciting an offer from the selected vendor based on the requirements definition, the applicable Form of Contract, and the UNGCC;
h. Awarding the contract at the level of the Procurement Approving Authority, including prior review by a committee on contracts, as applicable.
Since there is no competition in a direct contracting approach, the use of standard solicitation documents (RFQ, RFP, ITB,) when requesting an offer is not necessary. However, to facilitate the evaluation process, Procurement Officials should request the vendor to provide information that would allow for a comprehensive assessment of its offer based on pre-established evaluation criteria and ensure that it meets the needs of the UN.
|Although the direct contracting modality waives the competitive process, this method does not diminish the responsibilities and accountabilities of personnel involved in the procurement process. Under the direct contracting modality, a contract must still be awarded to a vendor whose offer substantially conforms to the requirements at a reasonable price.|
If a long-term agreement (LTA) has been established by the UN (see Chapter 11.6 Long-Term Agreement (LTA)) for the goods or services required in a specific case, offers should be solicited as follows from vendors, depending on the LTA’s set-up:
Single-Vendor LTA, or Multiple-Vendor LTA Without Secondary Bidding: Procurement Officials shall contact the contractor directly to confirm the call-off in accordance with the prices and other terms and conditions of the LTA and inquire about shipping costs, if applicable. (See Chapter 11 regarding Call-Off Orders).
Multiple-vendor LTA with secondary bidding: for all secondary bidding exercises, the following shall apply:
a. It is highly recommended to use a standard template (which could be a simplified version of the standard RFQ template for goods and services);
b. The item description should include the item reference, as included in the LTA;
c. Offers resulting from a secondary bidding exercise do not need to be submitted to a secure email/fax number or sent in a sealed envelope, regardless of their value, unless so decided by the Procurement Official;
d. A note to the file, signed by the relevant Procurement Official, justifying the final selection decision should be included in the file to document the approval of the resulting call-off order(s).
LTAs can be used only for ordering the goods or services specified in that LTA. If other goods or services are required from that vendor, then other solicitation methods must be followed, unless a sole source decision can be justified. Extending the scope of the LTA in order to meet additional requirements (such as new licenses to replace depreciated version) requires either an award issued pursuant to a new solicitation or a properly justified sole-source decision.
During the tender period, no communication regarding the contents of the solicitation documents or proposals is permitted between vendors and the UN Procurement Official, except through the methods of handling queries, as described below, and seeking clarifications from bidders during the evaluation process.
Queries from vendors must be handled through written correspondence and/or by a bidders’ conference, followed up by written minutes made available to all potential bidders. Vendors requiring clarifications to the solicitation documents must submit their queries in writing to the UN to the point of contact indicated in the solicitation documents. The UN will prepare and dispatch written replies to such queries and make all replies known, together with the text of the queries, to all vendors at the same time, without referencing the source of the queries.
Furthermore, meetings with vendors, as well as attendance to conferences, trade exhibitions or similar, should be carried out in consultation with procurement officials.
Requisitioners may contact contractors (i.e., awarded vendors) for matters relating to the execution and management of an existing contract within the scope of that contract. Requisitioners should keep Procurement Officials informed, as appropriate, of their communications with contractors and keep records thereof, in case of any future disputes. On the other hand, Procurement Officials shall undertake all actions related to contract administration, as defined in Chapter 13.1.2 below.
Any requests to the contractor that amends the terms of a contract must be negotiated by Procurement Officials and formally agreed via a contract amendment signed by the authorized Procurement Official, to avoid claims resulting from the Requisitioner’s apparent authority to amend the contract.
Financial Rule 105.16 sets forth the circumstances in which the Procurement Approving Authority may determine, for a particular procurement action, that using formal methods of solicitation is not in the best interest of the UN. Those reasons are set forth below, along with further analysis and examples. The examples provided for invoking each of the exceptions are not exhaustive and may include other situations that can be justified under such exceptions. Before commencing a procurement action under Financial Rule 105.16, the Procurement Official shall obtain approval from the relevant Procurement Approving Authority or Authorized Official, as the case may be, in accordance with the DOA Annex B.
For exceptions under Financial Rules 105.16(a)(iii) and 105.17, please refer to Chapter 14.
There can be an exception to using formal methods of solicitation when there is no competitive marketplace for the requirement, such as where a monopoly exists, where prices are fixed by legislation or government regulation, or where the requirement involves a proprietary product or service (Financial Rule 105.16(a)(i)).
If fixed prices/rates are the justification why formal methods of solicitation are not to be employed, the Procurement Official should document the name of the regulatory body or law that controls rates or established prices within the request for award for designated vender and, if available, a current price/rate schedule should be provided in the request for approval.
Proprietary product or service refers to situations where only one source can reasonably meet the needs of the UN, such as:
- Proprietary items subject to legal restrictions (i.e., patents and copyrights) are to be procured;
- Matters involving defense or security render single-source procurement the most appropriate method of procurement;
- The goods or services are available only from a particular vendor or contractor, or a particular vendor or contractor has exclusive rights in respect of the goods or services and no reasonable alternative or substitute exists.
If there is to be an exemption to using formal methods of solicitation for reasons of no competitive marketplace, fixed prices or proprietary product/service, then the Procurement Official must document the reasons, including demonstration of reasonableness of price (e.g. comparison with previous purchase prices).
An exception to using formal methods of solicitation can be made when there has been a previous determination, or when there is a need to standardize the requirement (Financial Rule 105.16(a)(ii)).
Previous determination means the product to be purchased is determined by a previous purchase, e.g. a piece of equipment was previously purchased and components that can only be obtained from the manufacturer must now be replaced, or complex services were purchased from a vendor and only the vendor who performed the initial services can realistically provide the required additional services.
Standardization shall be acceptable when identical goods, equipment, or technology have recently been purchased from an existing or previous UN contractor, and it is determined that there is a need for compatibility with existing goods, equipment or technology, or works. The effectiveness of the original procurement in meeting the needs of the UN, the limited size of the proposed procurement in relation to the original procurement, the reasonableness of the price, and the unsuitability of alternatives to the goods in question shall always be considered and justified. In any case, an appropriate technical authority, such as the ICTB, shall officially establish standardization.
Branding alone is not necessarily a justification for exceptions. A competitive process should be undertaken if multiple sources of supply exist.
If there is to be an exemption to using formal methods of solicitation for reasons of previous determination or standardization, then the Procurement Official must document the rationale for this exception, including, as applicable, the previous determination or reasons for requiring standardization, the terms of the standardization signed by the appropriate technical authority (e.g. the ICTB), and reasonableness of prices (e.g. comparison with previous purchase prices and comparison with prices of equipment from other vendors equivalent in performance).
The proposed procurement contract is the result of cooperation with other organizations of the United Nations system, pursuant to Financial Rule 105.17(a) or governments and organizations other than those of the United Nations system, pursuant to Financial Rule 105.17(b).
The Procurement Approving Authority for Financial Rule 105.16(a)(iii), in conjunction with Financial Rule 105.17(a), may, in appropriate cases, authorize cooperation with a United Nations organization in respect of procurement activities. Please refer to Chapter 14.
Should the requirement to be sourced through cooperation relate to Strategic Goods and Services, a request for LPA shall be sought from the Director, PD as per section 2.6.4.
There can be an exception to using formal methods of solicitation when offers for identical requirements have been obtained competitively within a reasonable period, and the prices and conditions offered by the bidders remain competitive (Financial Rule 105.16(a)(iv). The reasonable period in relation to the use of a previous competitive method of solicitation should not exceed one (1) year after the contract signature date unless otherwise justified, considering the specific market.
For goods where the price fluctuates rapidly (raw material, petroleum products, some IT equipment, etc.), the competitiveness of the price should always be properly justified.
This provision may not be applied if the respective offer has been obtained using Emergency Procurement Procedures (“EPP”), unless the new requirement is for a follow-on requirement for the original emergency, or is a requirement supporting a response to a new emergency (see Chapter 15.4 regarding EPP).
If there is to be an exception to using formal methods of solicitation for reasons of identical Requirements, then the Procurement Official must document the use of a previous formal method of solicitation and its outcome, and the reasonableness of price and prevalent market rates in the area.
There can be an exception to using formal methods of solicitation when a formal solicitation has not produced satisfactory results within a reasonable prior period (Financial Rule 105.16(a)(v)).
The ‘prior period’ refers to the time elapsed since the closing date for Submissions of the failed competitive solicitation process and shall be limited to six months. In relying on this clause, the Procurement Official should ensure that market research was done and be fully satisfied that a new solicitation process, again using formal methods of solicitation, will not yield satisfactory results.
If there is to be an exception to using formal methods of solicitation for reasons of unsatisfactory results from formal methods, then the Procurement Official is to document the failed competitive process and its outcome, the rationale as to why using formal methods again will not yield satisfactory results, the reasonableness of price, and the applicable prevalent market rates for the requirement.
There can be an exception to using formal methods of solicitation when the proposed procurement contract is for the purchase or lease of real estate property (Financial Rule 105.16(a)(vi)).
Selection of location is based on security considerations.
It should be noted that, technically, “leasing” does not include occupying hotel rooms. The correct term for occupying hotel rooms is “licensing”. However, because of reasons such as security, the interpretation of “lease” in the context of Financial Rule 105.16 is extended to include the right to occupy hotel rooms, as it is unrealistic to expect hotels to take part in a formal bidding process for hotel occupancy arrangements.
If there is to be an exception to using formal methods of solicitation for reasons of real estate, the Procurement Official, in justifying the choice of the premises, is to document the reasonableness of price (e.g. contacting companies specialized in commercial real estate services); demonstrate that a market survey or similar evaluation has been conducted; confirm MOSS compliance, clearance from UNDSS, etc.; provide evidence of market research into available premises; evidence Best Value for Money for the selected real estate.
There can be an exception to using formal methods of solicitation when there is an exigency for the requirement (Financial Rule 105.16(a)(vii)).
The exigencies of the requirement must be beyond the control of the UN. An exigency is an exceptional, compelling, and emergent need, not resulting from poor planning or management or from concerns over the availability of funds. An exigency exists if the lack of action will lead to serious damage, loss, or injury to property or persons if not addressed immediately, (i.e., emergency situations or force majeure, or other compelling circumstances which are not due to lack of planning or slow administrative process within the UN). The requirement must fit the definition of exigency situations as per General Assembly decision 54/468. Please refer to Chapter 15.4 Emergency Procurement Procedures (EPP) for instructions relating to the solicitation process under EPP.
If there is to be an exception to using formal methods of solicitation for reasons of exigency, then the Procurement Official must document how exceptions to formal methods of solicitation will meet the schedule and the adverse impact, such as damage, loss, or injury to property or persons if formal solicitation was to take place. The Procurement Official should also confirm the reasonableness of price (e.g. through comparing prices with previous purchase prices, etc.) and the justification for selecting a particular vendor over any other.
There can be an exception to using formal methods of solicitation when the proposed procurement contract relates to obtaining services that cannot be evaluated objectively (Financial Rule 105.16(a)(viii)).
This exemption can be applied to the requirement for research, experiment, study, or development leading to the procurement of a prototype, except where the requirement includes the production of goods in quantities sufficient to establish their commercial viability or to recover research and development costs.
This exemption can be applied to the requirement for services of specific vendors to obtain cutting-edge technology or other new methodologies where there is no means of determining a basis for reliable comparison.
If there is to be an exception to using formal methods of solicitation for reasons of inability to evaluate the desired services objectively, then the Procurement Official is to document to why this specific requirement can only be obtained via this exception and why there is no possibility to evaluate those services objectively. In addition, the Procurement Official should document either a benchmark for the price quoted or how the reasonableness of price has been established.
There can be an exception to using formal methods of solicitation when the authorized official with the corresponding delegated authority otherwise determines that a formal solicitation will not produce satisfactory results (Financial Rule 105.16(a)(ix)).
Reasons for such exceptions shall be included and due diligence conducted.
There can be an exception to using formal methods of solicitation when the value of the procurement is below a specified monetary threshold established for formal methods of solicitation (Financial Rule 105.16(a)(x)).
For requirements up to the monetary threshold of US$ 150,000, an informal method of solicitation may be used.
3 All UN Secretariat offices, except missions, can contact the OICT offices https://iseek-external.un.org/department/standards.