The Alcatel Period in Tendering

The Alcatel period in tendering

Although you might not be familiar with the technical term “Alcatel period”, most of us are familiar with the concept. Indeed, most companies have one. An Alcatel period is a period of time where provisions and procedures are established, but without anything being set in stone.

Many organisations refer to this as a “cooling off” period or “standstill period.” This is usually set in place to give customers the option to reevaluate their decision, make changes to a contract, or change their minds altogether. Whilst perhaps slightly different from one another, these terms all signify a dedicated timeframe where provisions or decisions can in some way be revoked, despite having previously been specified.

What is the Alcatel period?

In the tendering and procurement world, the Alcatel period is the official, statutory ten-day period between the contract award notification and contract start date.

Simply, this is the time between the announcement of the winner to the successful/unsuccessful parties, and the time when this decision is finalised and hence announced publicly.

Why Alcatel?

The Alcatel period was brought in by the Official Journal of the European Union (or OJEU for short) and was implemented across UK procurement in the year 2005.

The aim was to provide unsuccessful suppliers with the opportunity to contest decisions made across public procurement if they felt they have been marked too harshly if scores didn’t quite add up or they felt like an element of bias or unfairness had affected the outcome.

However, just because an Alcatel period is there, doesn’t make this an excuse for angry, unsuccessful suppliers to waste a buyer’s time by finding any excuse to raise a challenge.

You will benefit much more and demonstrate a much better and more professional way of working if you simply accept a fair loss, continue to work hard and act on the feedback given.

Use the Alcatel period to your advantage

Having said this, if you do feel like there has been an element of unfairness, or feel you have a genuine reason to challenge a decision, then use the Alcatel period to your advantage.

We always advise suppliers not to be afraid to raise a challenge if they feel they have just cause.

The procurement sector can be disorganised and opaque at times. Raising a challenge where there is a good reason will help to ensure buyers are more organised, fair and transparent next time around.

Moreover, the Alcatel period can be a useful opportunity to gain some much-needed feedback, where a tiny amount may have been provided by a buyer.

Where minimal feedback is provided, suppliers can also use the Alcatel period to formally contest a decision. From our experience, this has resulted in re-evaluations, re-runs of the procurement process and even cancellations.

In summary, if suppliers feel they have grounds for a challenge, and clear issues are recognised, the Alcatel period of 10 days is there to get to resolve these issues in the most transparent, and fairest way possible.

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