Preliminary market consultations
Produced in partnership with Deborah Ramshaw of Hempsons
Preliminary market consultations

The following Local Government practice note produced in partnership with Deborah Ramshaw of Hempsons provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Preliminary market consultations
  • What is preliminary market consultation?
  • Types of PMC
  • Benefits of PMC
  • Government policy
  • Public procurement law
  • Prior involvement of bidders
  • Levelling the playing field
  • Excluding bidders
  • Preparation

What is preliminary market consultation?

Preliminary market consultation (PMC) refers to the process of conducting research and market engagement with a view to preparing a public procurement exercise and informing prospective bidders of the contracting authority's plans and requirements. PMC may include seeking and accepting advice from prospective contractors and/or independent experts before the regulated procurement process begins; namely before a call for competition is published in the UK e-notification service: Find a Tender Service (FTS). Various terms are used to describe PMC, including pre-market/tender/procurement engagement, early market engagement and prior involvement of bidders.

Please refer to Practice Note: Use of consultants in procurement, for issues specific to engaging consultants to assist in preparing and/or running a public procurement process, as well as further information relating to conflicts of interests.

Types of PMC

PMC can take many forms, and can range from desktop research and informal market soundings through to formal boot camp-style workshops. Potential PMC activities include:

  1. publishing a prior information notice (PIN) in the FTS

  2. desktop research

  3. benchmarking

  4. engaging independent experts (eg consultants)

  5. informal private discussions with potential contractors

  6. boot camp-style workshops open to numerous potential contractors

  7. inviting written comments from potential contractors, eg an online survey

PMC should be conducted in accordance with the procurement principles set out in regulation 18 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR 2015), SI 2015/102, namely transparency, non-discrimination, equal treatment

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