Procurement Guidelines

Procurement - Definition
 
The acquisition, whether under formal contract or not, of works, supplies and services by the ETB.  It ranges from the purchase of routine supplies or services to major contracts.
 

Objectives of Procurement Procedure

 
To ensure:-
 
  • Availability of authorised requirements when needed.
  • Best value for money is achieved.
  • Maximum advantage is taken of the ETB Board’s purchasing power.
  • Transparency and Accountability.
  • Equality of access to qualified suppliers by providing a sound basis for the selection of suppliers.
  • Compliance with government and EU legislation, regulations and directives.
  • Adherence to the highest ethical standards.
  • Co-operation between schools/ centres to maximize their purchasing power.
  • Non-discrimination
 
1.
Purchasing Limits
 
Key Principles
 
  • Principal’s /Centre Manager’s approval needed for all purchases.
  • All documents submitted to Head Office must have the original signature of the Principal/ Centre Manager, as appropriate.
  • A representative from the ETB may visit Schools/Centres to ensure that Guidelines are being adhered to.
 
Authorised Limits (inclusive of V.A.T.)*
 
* Vat law provides for equal treatment in the supply of goods and services, therefore no competitive advantage or disadvantage should arise from the correct application of VAT rules.
 
1.1 
€0 - € 2,000
                           
One (1) or more quotes are required. These should be approved by the Principal /Centre Manager and retained in the school/ centre.  If it is necessary to obtain details by phone, the full name of the person who quoted the price and the date the price was quoted should be noted.

1.2 
€2,000 - €10,000
                    
At least three (3) Quotations should be sought and an evaluation form completed, approved and retained by the Principal/Centre Manager. A copy of the evaluation form must be scanned and submitted via Fido to Creditors Department with the invoice.

1.3
€10,000 - €25,000
                  
Prior approval required from Head Office.
At least five (5) Quotations should be sought and a written specification issued to potential suppliers. An evaluation form should be completed and approved by the Principal/Centre Manager. Quotes and Evaluation Form should then be scanned and submitted via Fido for approval to Finance Department.
 
For orders/contracts in excess of €25,000 approval should be sought from the C.E.O or delegated officer in writing. All such orders/contracts must be dealt with by the Procurement Section, Corporate Services Department.  The Finance ETB BOARD will BE NOTIFIED OF ALL CONTRACTS IN EXCESS OF €25,000.
 
1.4 
€25,000 - € 193,000
Supplies/Services                    
All orders/contracts over €25,000 must be advertised on the etenders.gov.ie website.  If newspaper or other media advertising is considered necessary, an abbreviated notice shall be published referring to full details on the e-tenders website.  A process of direct invitation (without advertising) to tender may be used in exceptional circumstances in accordance with guidelines set down by the Department of Finance.
 
1.5 
€193,000> 
Supplies and Services
Contracts for Supplies and Services over €193,000 must be Advertised on e-tenders.gov.ie website and the OJEU journal. If newspaper or other media advertising is considered necessary, an abbreviated notice shall be published referring to full details on the e-tenders website. 
 
1.6 
€4,845,000 Works                                
When a contract for works is greater than €50k but less than €4,845,000 it must be advertised on e-tenders.gov.ie website.        When a contract for Works exceeds € 4,845,000, it must be advertised on the e- tenders.gov.ie website and the OJEU journal.  If newspaper or other media advertising is considered necessary, an abbreviated notice shall be published referring to full details on the e-tenders website. 
 
1.7 
Exceptional Circumstances
In exceptional circumstances as authorised in writing by the Chief Executive Officer or delegated officer, derogation from normal procedures (other than EU procurement directives) may apply, details as follows:
 
  • Urgency:  In cases of extreme urgency where an immediate purchase must be made in order to avoid significant risk to persons/property or significant loss to the ETB.
  • Proprietary Materials:  The supplies or services being purchased are of a proprietary nature or spare parts for existing plant and equipment and are only available from a single source.  The market must be tested periodically to verify this and at least once a year.  Open ended arrangements with exclusive distributors should be avoided where possible.
  • Additional Deliveries:   For additional deliveries where a previous contract was awarded under a competitive tender process and a change of supplier would result in incompatibility or disproportionate technical difficulties in operation or maintenance.
  • Confidential Contracts:  For special contracts which are particularly secretive and of special strategic importance to the ETB and which requires to be placed on a confidential basis.
  • Statutory Type Purchase:  There are items of repeated expenditure that arise for essential services where only one possible service provider exists e.g. local authority – motor tax, water; membership subscriptions to professional associations.
2.0      
Quotation Procedure

 
To be used when obtaining quotes for goods/services under €50,000
 
2.1       
As a basic principle, a competitive process should always be used.
 
2.2  
A brief specification of the goods/services required and a date for receipt of quotes must be provided.  A more detailed specification may be appropriate for larger value purchases. Should any changes arise, these should be noted to all suppliers who were originally invited to quote.
 
2.3  
Invitations, specification and other relevant information should be issued in standard form to all potential suppliers.  Documentation/specifications should be expressed clearly and not give rise to ambiguity.  Suppliers should be made aware and agree to comply with terms.
 
2.4  
Documentation/Specifications should be issued to firms/suppliers capable of supplying the goods/services and are of good professional standing.

2.5  
Suppliers should be required to have a current tax clearance and / or for building     projects a C2 certificate.  Such requirement should be included in invitation documentation and advertisements.
 
2.6  
A date for receipt of quotes should be specified.  Quotes received after the approved time should not be considered.
 
2.7 
A register of quotes received shall be maintained in which particulars of quotes received shall be entered after they are:
 
  • Date stamped
  • Numbered e.g. if five quotes are received, the first should be numbered 1/5, the second should be numbered 2/5, etc.
  • Initialed.
2.8 
The register should be signed by those responsible for opening the quotes and dated.

2.9 
Quotes should be evaluated and assessed by the Principal/Centre Manager/delegated
Person. The need to avail of requisite competency should be considered. External assistance should only be sought with the approval of the CEO

2.10
Evaluation

Prices should be evaluated exclusive of VAT.  The award maybe on the basis of: 
 
  1. The lowest priced quote or
  2. The most economically advantageous quote* (specifying in addition to price various other criteria including running costs, servicing costs, level of after sale service, technical assistances, environmental characteristics, time frame etc.) 
 
*When a contract is being awarded on the most economically advantageous basis, the invitation to quote must state all the criteria being applied in the award process, giving the relevant weightings for each criteria. If it is not possible to indicate criteria weightings in advance, they must be listed in descending order of importance.
 
The evaluation process must be demonstrably objective and transparent and based solely on the specified criteria.  An evaluation/scoring sheet (Appendix 1) should be prepared to support the evaluation process. Specific conditions set out in quotes should be carefully examined to ensure they are not inconsistent or inappropriate. 
  
2.11   
The evaluation process together with quotes should be retained for inspection of ETB Staff and audit. Evaluation form should accompany invoice for payment.
 
2.12    
Unsuccessful suppliers shall be notified accordingly without delay.  When requested, all unsuccessful suppliers should be informed as to why they were unsuccessful.
 
2.13    
Disaggregating or contract splitting to avoid the quotation process is strictly prohibited.  It should not be considered in any event.
 
2.14    
Successful suppliers should be requested to submit evidence of compliance with tax clearance cert requirements.
 
2.15    
Successful suppliers shall where appropriate be required to submit insurance policies with an indemnity provided to the ETB.  Such policies should be submitted to the ETB Board’s insurers for review.
 
2.16    
Suppliers should be required to comply with relevant statutory provisions before awarding a contract.  Authorised officers should ensure that suppliers have regard to provisions relating to minimum pay, legally binding industrial or sectoral arrangements and relevant health and safety issues.
 
2.17    
Open ended contracts should not be entered into.  The contract should have a commencement date and a termination date.
 
2.18    
A mechanism must exist to terminate contracts in the event of non compliance / performance.

2.19
Proper records and files should be maintained in respect of all procurement activities. The file should include:
 
  • Specification/description of work
  • Qualification criteria
  • Evaluation Form (see Appendix 1)
  • Approved list of suppliers
  • Copy of requisition to quote
  • Copies of enquiries
  • List of responses to enquiries
  • Tenders/ Quotations received
2.20
In line with procurement directives, candidates who have been convicted of involvement in organised crime, of fraud, corruption or money laundering must be excluded from performing a public contract.
 
2.21    
All records should be held for 6 years after the goods/services have been received or the contract has been completed. In the case of ESF funded projects, original records should be retained until after the EU Structural rounds process is concluded.  Currently this period is 16-17 years.
 

3.0
Tendering Procedure

To be used when purchasing goods/services in excess of € 25,000.  All such contracts will be dealt with centrally in Head Office.
 
3.1      
As a basic principle, competitive tendering should always be used.
 
3.2      
A formal detailed specification of the goods/services required should be prepared.
 
3.3      
Invitations, specification and other relevant information should be issued in standard form to all potential suppliers.  Tender documentation/specifications should be expressed clearly and not give rise to ambiguity.  Suppliers should be made aware and agree to comply with terms.
 
3.4      
Tenders should be issued to firms/suppliers capable of supplying the goods/services and are of good professional standing.  Responses to requests for information, requests for tender documents and other supporting documentation (if not made available electronically) must be issued without delay and in any event within a maximum of 6 days of the request.  Additional information, requested in good time must be issued at least 6 days before the latest date for receipt of tenders.
 
3.5      
Award criteria should be clearly identified in the tender documentation and should not be changed once the tender process has commenced.
 
3.6      
A date for receipt of tenders must be prescribed and a minimum of 2 weeks (i.e. 10 working days) reference time should be allowed.
 
3.7      
Suppliers should be required to have a current tax clearance and / or for building projects a C2 certificate.  Such requirement should be included in tender documentation and advertisements.
 
3.8      
Tender documentation and advertisements shall specify that tenders are to be sent in sealed envelopes marked
“Tenders for __________________
 
Addressed to:
Procurement Section
Dublin & Dún Laoghaire Education & Training Board
1 Tuansgate, Belgard Square East, Tallaght, Dublin 24

 
The sealed envelope should be date stamped on receipt.
 
3.9      
Where an omission has occurred in the tender documentation it should be amended and all participants expressing an interest in the tendering process informed.  Where the position significantly alters the nature of the tender process the tender may have to be re-advertised.
 
3.10    
Tenders should not be opened and/or assessed in advance of the closing date.
 
3.11    
Any decision to disallow or exclude a tender for any contract in excess of €10m, must be supported by seeking an independent legal opinion from a law practice with experience in Public Procurement law. 
 
3.11    
Tenders should be opened as soon as may be after the closing date by two officers of the ETB Board, including the Chief Executive Officer or Principal Officer or representative, and one member of the Procurement section. Tenders with an estimated value greater than €200,000 should be opened in the additional presence of the Cathaoirleach, in his/her absence by 1 member of the Finance Sub ETB Board (who is a ETB Board Member). All tenders received by the closing date should be opened together.
 
3.12    
Arrangements should be made to check post boxes at the closing time for receipt of tenders.
 
3.13    
Tenders received after the approved time for receipt of tender should not be considered.  Late Tenderers should be advised accordingly at the earliest possible date.
 
3.14    
Extension of time for receipt of tenders shall only be authorized with the prior written approval of the Chief Executive Officer or delegated officer.  Approval will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.
 
3.15    
A register of tenders received shall be maintained in which particulars of tenders received shall be entered after they are:
 
  • Date stamped
  • Numbered e.g. if five tenders are received, the first should be numbered 1/5, the second should be numbered 2/5, etc.
  • Initialed.
 
3.16    
The register should be signed by those responsible for opening the tenders and dated.
 
3.17    
Evaluation

Prices should be evaluated exclusive of VAT.  The award maybe on the basis of: 
 
  1. The lowest price tender or
  2. The most economically advantageous tender* (specifying in addition to price various other criteria including running costs, service costs, level of after sale service, technical assistances, environmental characteristics, time frame etc.) 
 
*When a contract is being awarded on the most economically advantageous basis, the invitation to tender must state all the criteria being applied in the award process, giving the relevant weightings for each criteria. If it is not possible to indicate criteria weightings in advance, they must be listed in descending order of importance.
 
The evaluation process must be demonstrably objective and transparent and based solely on the specified criteria.  An evaluation/scoring sheet (Appendix 1) should be prepared to support the evaluation process. The need to avail of requisite competency should be considered. External assistance should only be sought with the approval of the CEO Specific conditions set out in tenders should be carefully examined to ensure they are not inconsistent or inappropriate. 
 
3.18    
The evaluation process together with tenders should be retained for audit.
 
3.19    
Unsuccessful tenderers shall be notified accordingly without delay.  When requested all unsuccessful tenderers should be informed as to why they were unsuccessful.
 
3.20    
Provisions prescribed by the Department of Education and Science and European Union regulations/directives must be complied with.
 
3.21    
Disaggregating or contract splitting to avoid these procedures or the E.U. tendering process is strictly prohibited.  It should not be considered in any event.
 
3.22    
The need for a bond should be considered and pursued where appropriate.
 
3.23    
Successful suppliers should be requested to submit evidence of compliance with tax clearance cert requirements.
 
3.24    
Successful tenderers shall where appropriate be required to submit insurance policies with an indemnity provided to the ETB.  Such policies should be submitted to the ETB Board’s insurers for review.
 
3.25    
Suppliers should be required to comply with relevant statutory provisions before awarding a contract.  Authorised officers should ensure that suppliers have regard to provisions relating to minimum pay, legally binding industrial or sectoral arrangements and relevant health and safety issues.
 
3.26    
Open ended contracts should not be entered into.  The contract should have a commencement date and a termination date.

3.27
A mechanism must exist in contracts to terminate in the event of non   
            compliance/performance.
3.28
In line with procurement directives, candidates who have been convicted of involvement    
in organised crime, of fraud, corruption or money laundering must be excluded from performing a public contract.

3.29
Proper records and files should be maintained in respect of all procurement activities.                
The file should include:
 
  • Tender Specification/description of work
  • Qualification criteria
  • Approved list of tenderers
  • Conditions of tendering and of contract
  • Copy of requisition to tender notice
  • Copies of notices and advertisements together with details as to where published.
  • Copies of enquiries
  • List of response to enquiries
  • Tenders/quotations received
  • Tender Report Form (see Appendix 2)
  • Qualification/short listing report
  • Copies of insurance policies/bond
  • Justification of use of any derogation from qualification criteria
  • Minutes of negotiation meetings if relevant
  • Commercial Evaluation Report
  • Technical/Clinical Evaluation Report where appropriate
  • Executive Summary/Recommendation (see Appendix 3)
  • Copies of order/letter of appointment/signed contract
  • Award notice
  • Regret letters
  • Contract award criteria
  • Other relevant notes important to the consideration of the quotation/tender
 
3.30    
All records should be held for 6 years after the goods/services have been received or the contract has been completed. In the case of ESF funded projects, original records should be retained until after the EU Structural rounds process is concluded.  Currently this period is 16-17 years.
 
4.0      
Procedure for ordering Goods/ Services

4.1
The new online purchase order system (FIDO) facilitates the ordering process. Orders are created and submitted to the relevant supplier electronically, with each order being assigned the next sub-sequential number.

4.2
Purchases of goods, services or works shall only be ordered through the online ordering system (FIDO).  Exceptions will only apply to:-
 
  • Orders executed in accordance with formal contract under seal of the ETB.
  • Services of an essential nature such as ESB and telephone.
  • Purchases from petty cash
 
Orders sent through FIDO should be processed in accordance with existing Operational Guidelines inclusive of Tax Clearance/C2 Certificate requirements.

4.3
Orders are created by an approved member of administrative staff and then sent to the   Principal/Centre Manager for approval through FIDO, before an order can be issued. This process must be strictly adhered to.

4.4     
When an order is issued through FIDO it shall contain the following information:-
                   
  • Name and address of supplier to whom order is issued.
  • Quantity of goods being ordered.
  • A full description of the nature of the goods or services ordered.
  • Unit costs
  • Total costs of goods/services ordered.
  • Project and General Ledger Codes
 
4.5      
Orders shall be issued through FIDO in advance of purchase. Verbal requests may only apply in cases of emergency or urgent necessity.   
 
4.6      
The official order shall be in compliance with contracts agreed and any derogation there from shall require the approval of the Chief Executive Officer or delegated officer.
 
4.7     
Orders shall not be placed in a manner to avoid quotation/tender limits.  Evidence of such occurrences will be referred back for written explanation.
 
4.8     
The limits for approving official orders shall be confined to those prescribed for approval of tenders/quotations.
 
4.9      
Officers authorised to approve official orders shall:
 
  • Satisfy themselves as to the need for the order.
  • Ensure there is budgetary provision to support the purchase.
  • Tenders/Quotations have been obtained, processed and approved in accordance with procedures separately prescribed.
  • Balance the need to obtain discounts against the cost of holding stock.
 
4.10    
In the case of essential supplies for which there is no budget provision, written approval of the C.E.O or delegated officer is required.
 
4.11    
Cancelling and Ordering: Where an order has been issued to the supplier through the FIDO system and needs to be cancelled prior to the receipt of the related goods/services, the order cancellation process on the FIDO system must be completed to reverse the commitment recorded in the general ledger.
 
4.12    
Receipts of Goods/Services:
Receipt of supplies shall be undertaken and signed for by approved officers.  Every effort should be made to have the function separated from ordering.

4.13
Officers/employees responsible for the receipt of supplies shall ensure they are checked and are in accordance with the official order and are satisfactory in relation to:
 
  • Quality and good workmanship
  • Compliance with specifications
 
4.14    
Details of equipment etc must be recorded in the FIDO stock system or other “asset record” as approved by the ETB, by the officer responsible for their receipt or by making the appropriate notification.
 
4.15    
Supplier delivery notes/goods received notes should be filed in chronological order by supplier or other agreed format.
 
4.16    
The use of rubber stamp facsimile signature in relation to purchasing, receipt of goods/services and payment certification is strictly prohibited.
 
 

5.0      
Conduct

 
5.1      
Ethical Behavior

Officials involved in the procurement process shall maintain the high reputation for ethical behavior expected of them as officers/employees of the ETB.  In this regard official orders shall not be placed for goods/services or other items for which offers of gifts have been received by way of inducement.  Visits at supplier’s expense to inspect goods for purchase must not be undertaken without the prior written approval of the C.E.O or delegated officer.
 
5.2
Conflict of Interest

Authorised officers should be aware of potential conflicts of interest in the procurement process and should take appropriate action to avoid them.  Potential conflicts of interests should be disclosed to the C.E.O. by all involved in the procurement process.  Care should be taken to ensure that specifications and criteria are as open and generic as possible in order to avoid favoring any one solution or any one party.
 
 
5.3 
Misappropriation etc.

Each member of staff discovering or suspecting any of the following:
 
  • Any incident of actual or suspected fraud, theft or other misappropriation.
  • Overpayment or Underpayment
  • Irregular or unfunded payment
 
shall immediately inform his/her head of department/line manager who shall immediately notify the C.E.O. accordingly.  If necessary the C.E.O. should be notified directly.
A full report on the occurrence shall be prepared and submitted to the C.E.O. showing:
  • Amount involved.
  • Reasons for occurrence.
  • Persons involved.
  • Action taken in this case.
  • Action taken to prevent re-occurrence.
 
Where appropriate the ETB Board shall be notified.