Sustainable Procurement Tools

Supplier Selection

Exclusion Grounds

A contracting authority can exclude a bidder from tendering for public contracts where they fall within a ground for exclusion; for example breach of any obligations in the fields of environmental, social or labour law.

  • These obligations include any relevant national law, as well as relevant collective agreements and specific international agreements.
  • Where a contracting authority decides that there may be a risk of exclusion grounds applying to a sub-contractor, they can choose to verify this at any stage in the procurement process. This can be an effective way to help ensure a robust approach is taken throughout the supply chain.
  • A contracting authority should only ask for verification of exclusion grounds from sub-contractors in circumstances where it is regarded as proportionate and necessary to do so. A full list of the exclusion grounds can be found in the Procurement Journey.
  • It is mandatory that the relevant exclusion grounds statement from the standardised statement document is included in the Contract Notice at II.2.14 Additional Information. A contracting authority can provide more information about specific exclusion grounds in Section II.2.14 Additional information of the OJEU Contract Notice.
  • If a bidder is in a situation which might result in its exclusion due to breach of any of the exclusion grounds, it must be given the opportunity to provide evidence to show that it has taken remedial action to demonstrate its reliability, this is known as self-cleansing.
  • The contracting authority must not exclude the bidder on those grounds if they are satisfied that the evidence provided is sufficient to demonstrate their reliability.


When selecting suppliers, it is essential to assess the technical capabilities that will be required for the products or services you are procuring to meet your needs.

Not only is this useful from the buyer’s point of view, as suppliers that can clearly not meet the requirement will be eliminated, but it is also useful for the suppliers as they have a very clear understanding of how serious you are about sustainability and what will be essential for their submission to be successful.

Any selection criteria deemed relevant and appropriate to your procurement exercise must be tested through the format of the Single Procurement Document (SPD). Buyers must issue an SPD for procurement exercises over the threshold (route 3) and it is recommended that it is also used for all route 2 procurements. Associated guidance and standardised statements* in Part IV, Section C, take a staged approach which encourages contracts to include climate change selection criteria regarding environmental management measures.

Where deemed relevant and proportionate, it may be appropriate to ask bidders to operate to an environmental management standard (ISO14001 or equivalent), for example where climate change adaptation is an important risk within a planned procurement and evidence of systems and processes in manage resilience is required. Selection criteria applied to individual procurement processes must be relevant and proportionate to the subject matter of the contract. It may for example not be appropriate to require all bidders to have ISO14001 where this may be considered disproportionate and sufficient alternative evidence of management systems and processes is available. The bidder should be asked to provide confirmation of this in the Quality assurance schemes and environmental management standards section of the SPD (part IV, Selection Criteria, Section D).

Within the Annex are examples of climate change adaptation wording that may be used for this purpose.

*Standardised Statements are not intended to be a definitive list of all potential selection criteria that individual Procurement Officers may require. Professional judgment must be used on a case-by-case basis when selecting which, if any, of these statements are relevant and proportionate to a particular procurement exercise.

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