Sustainable Procurement Tools

Award criteria are used to determine which economic operator is best placed to deliver a contract. A contracting authority has discretion to determine what award criteria to apply but questions asked at this stage cannot duplicate questions already asked at the selection stage. This is because at this stage suppliers are being assessed on the merits of tenders themselves rather than their suitability to tender. 

The criteria should allow an unbiased comparison of tenders, be published in advance in the procurement documents and not discriminate against or favour potential contractors. 

In some instances, a contracting authority may think there is scope to deliver community benefit requirements but, due to the capacity of the specific supplier market, it would be disproportionate to score community benefits at the award stage. Under those circumstances, a voluntary, non-scored question may be included, although care should be taken that such questions do not place a disproportionate burden on suppliers.

Contracting authorities should also look to capture any proposed community benefits in the final contract.

Below are some examples of questions specific to employment skills and training that contracting authorities may wish to include as award criteria: 

'What arrangements will you make to provide mentoring and support for trainees and work placements to ensure maximum retention and achievement of industry accreditations?'

‘The organisation specifically wishes to support the development of skills in [specify industry, f.ex. the building and construction industries and any associated trades]. Please describe how you will contribute to this aim including developing trade skills within your existing workforce.’

‘For full examples of sets of specific award criteria used to ensure the delivery of training and skills development benefits from contracts, see the case studies published in the appendixes of Community Benefits in Public Procurement (2008).’


In evaluating tenders in relation to community benefit award criteria, this must include evaluation of the bidder’s proposed approach to meeting the requirement and ensuring they demonstrate an understanding of how to achieve the required community benefit. Appropriate information may include: 

  • who in the organisation will be responsible for managing the training scheme and overseeing the proposals?
  • which education and training providers will be involved with delivery of the project?
  • what types of accredited and non-accredited training are expected to be offered and who are expected to be the main beneficiaries of this training?
  • which trades or occupational areas is it envisaged will be offering apprenticeship opportunities?
  • what types of apprenticeship are expected to be offered?
  • how will the Target Outputs as set out in the specification be delivered?
  • how will health and safety issues be managed?
  • what actions will be taken to ensure the support of trade contractors and subcontractors working on the project?
  • how will compliance be managed [and monitored] with respect to the organising trade contractors and subcontractors?

The weighting should be determined on a case-by-case basis and set out in the contract documents. Guidance on evaluation of tenders is available in the Procurement Journey

In some instances, it will be appropriate to require the bidders to complete a histogram demonstrating at which stage in the project the expect to achieve the varying jobs and training opportunities.