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.
It will not always be appropriate to assess community benefits at this stage of the procurement process. Contracting authorities must give consideration to whether previous experience of delivering a particular type of community benefit is required to be able to deliver the proposed contract. We wish to encourage as many suppliers as possible to deliver community benefits, 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 Single Procurement Document (SPD). The SPD 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 SPD.
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 SPD (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 are some examples of statements to include in the contract notice to test a bidder’s experience of skills development and training in previous contracts and organisational practices:
'When answering question 4C.1 of the SPD, the bidder must declare that it has documented arrangements in place for providing its workforce with quality-related training and information appropriate to the type of work for which this organisation is likely to bid.'
Any supplier which is unable to confirm they have the above arrangements in place would be excluded at the selection stage.
The following statement would allow buyers to assess experience of community benefit requirements as part of assessing a tenderer’s overall technical and professional ability and experience:
'In answering question 4C.1, please [also] describe your experience of incorporating social benefits into previous contracts, including details of any specific steps taken in the design of services to increase employment and training opportunities.'
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.