Self-Cleaning – Exclusion Grounds when Tendering

Self-Cleaning – Exclusion Grounds when Tendering

Exclusion grounds when tendering is where you’ll see the ‘Self-cleaning’ option. Quite simply – Self-cleaning allows suppliers to pass the initial stages of a tender or a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ), even if they have demonstrated ‘foul’ play in the past.

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When we say ‘foul’ play, what we mean is – any criminal activity that has been affiliated with the supplier’s organisation. This can include being guilty of tax evasion, corruption, fraud, money laundering, as well as being in breach of social and environmental obligations, to name a few.

This is a crucial part of the tendering process, as there are many pass/fail questions throughout a tender and historically if you had been found guilty of any of these exclusion grounds, you would fail the first round of tendering. This way, suppliers would find it difficult to go for both public and large-scale private opportunities. Especially from up to three years from the date of the conviction.

Now, as per the Public Contract Regulations 2015, if a potential supplier (or any organisation they rely on to meet the selection criteria) has breached any of the exclusion grounds, they have the opportunity to explain how and what action they have taken to rectify the situation.

They basically, get to ‘clean up their act’ by providing a separate document (appendix), describing what measures have been taken, to make sure that any wrongful and/or criminal activities will NEVER occur again (see extract below).

You’ll find this probably won’t apply to you and we have only worked with a handful of clients, where we have had to support the development of a ‘Self-Cleaning’ appendix.

If this does apply to you and you have ticked YES on one of the exclusion grounds as part of the PQQ, you must then demonstrate your mitigation approaches.

This can include:

  • Evidence of proactive collaboration with remedial and investigatory agencies (such as the police, Health and Safety Executive or the Environment Agency), which details the whole issue/activity that has been identified and mitigated;
  • and evidence of the stringent measures/steps you have taken to prevent any reoccurrence.

If you can provide this effectively – then you shouldn’t be excluded. It is, however, completely at the buyer’s discretion to whether or not they continue with the initial evaluation. If not, they must provide you with a detailed explanation of why your ‘self-cleaning’ is deemed inefficient.

We must stress – this is a rarity, but a prevalent step nonetheless.

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