Selection criteria are concerned with the capability and capacity of an economic operator to deliver the contract. They do not focus on how an economic operator proposes to perform the contract; this is assessed at the award stage.
Contracting authorities must give consideration to whether previous experience of delivering a particular type of benefit is required to be able to deliver the proposed contract. This is more likely in higher value contracts (£4 million or more) with well-defined requirements.
We wish to encourage as many suppliers as possible to use community benefits clauses, so a balance must be struck in establishing relevant experience.
Where it is deemed appropriate to assess community benefits at the selection stage, this must be done through the format of the European Single Procurement Document (ESPD). The ESPD consists of a fixed set of questions that allows bidders to self-declare whether they meet the exclusion and selection criteria. Contracting authorities must incorporate statements into their contract notice or prior information notice (PIN) to help with the interpretation of the standardised questions in the ESPD.
If you are looking for experience of having delivered community benefits in the past, then this could be worked into the experience related sections of the ESPD (parts 4C.1 and 1.2 ask candidates to provide relevant examples of contracts carried out in the past, “as specified in the Contract Notice”).
Below is an example of a statement to include in the contract notice to test a bidder’s experience of enhancing communities through service delivery:
'In answering question 4C.1, please [also] describe your experience of enhancing communities through the design and delivery of services. Please include examples of previous relevant initiatives where measurable improvements to disadvantaged communities have been secured.’
By scoring suppliers’ experience against this requirement, an incomplete answer would not necessarily lead to a tenderer being excluded at the selection stage but could affect the overall score.