Q&As

On what grounds can a contracting authority refuse a request from a bidder to clarify aspects of a bid already submitted in a public procurement process?

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Published on LexisPSL on 19/02/2018

The following Local Government Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • On what grounds can a contracting authority refuse a request from a bidder to clarify aspects of a bid already submitted in a public procurement process?
  • General rule
  • Contracting authority at fault
  • Clarification of tenders

This Q&A covers procurements carried out under Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR 2015), SI 2015/102 and where the request to clarify the bid has been made after the deadline for bids to be submitted.

General rule

There is no general duty on a contracting authority to allow a bidder to correct its tender. In J.B Leadbitter v Devon County Council, the authority rejected the tender based on the fact it was incomplete and the court ruled that the contracting authority did not have a general duty to admit a late tender or allow the correction of a non-conforming tender.

In R (on the application of Hersi & Co Solicitors) v Lord Chancellor (as successor to the Legal Services Commission), Coulson J also held It is the responsibility of the tender to submit a full, complete and compliant tender and does not oblige a contracting authority to seek clarification.

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