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 and European 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 Contract Notice. For example, it is possible to clarify what bidders should consider when responding to the questions in respect of environmental legislation:


‘Economic operators may be excluded from this competition if they are in any of the situations referred to in regulation 58 of the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015.’


‘Bidders will be required to adhere to and fulfil all obligations relevant under The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) (2012/19/EU) implemented in the UK through the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013, and The Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) (2002/95/EC) implemented in the UK through the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2012.’


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.



Selection criteria applied to individual procurement processes must be relevant and proportionate to the subject matter of the contract. 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 appropriate must be tested through the format of the Single Procurement Document (SPD). For example, it may be appropriate to require bidders to demonstrate their experience of managing waste in the past, this could be worked into the experience related sections of the SPD (parts 4C.1 and 4C.1.2): as candidates to provide relevant examples of contract carried out in the past, “as specified in the Contract Notice”).


‘In answering question 4C.1 please detail your understanding, experience and achievements in cost-effectively providing [insert service] services that deliver circular economy outcomes through relevant re-use, repair and remanufacturing of products, equipment and materials.’


‘In answering question 4C.1 please detail your understanding, experience and achievements in providing a managed service, as an alternative to supply of products, that deliver waste and virgin material reduction through re-use, repair and remanufacturing of products/ equipment/ materials used in service delivery’

An ideal response would provide the following (not all may apply):

  1. Evidence of having achieved a reduction in waste and relevant application of the waste hierarchy through a range of measures including re-use, recycling while meeting regulations for clients.
  2. Evidence of having achieved a reduction in waste for clients using alternative products/materials and providing recommendations for changes/adaptations to reduce waste in a cost-effective way.
  3. Evidence of having achieved reduced waste production for clients using effective material specification, procurement and management, behavioural change and appropriate replacement of systems and infrastructure.
  4. Evidence of providing methods of waste awareness raising amongst service users either through training programmes or provision of key user guidance.
  5. Evidence of providing clients with waste management data with analysis and recommendations for changes/adaptations to reduce waste production in a cost-effective way.
  6. Evidence of having effectively used pre-owned, refurbished or remanufactured equipment in delivery of a contract similar in nature to the service required;
  7. Evidence of the re-use, regular maintenance and repair / refurbishment of equipment, and where practical remanufacturing;
  8. Evidence of the management of repair, re-use, reconditioning and remanufacturing within its supply chain including sub-contractors and links to SMEs, third sector or supported businesses involved;
  9. Evidence of a focus on durability, longevity in service, and end-of-life options to optimise re-use, repair and remanufacture;
  10. Evidence of application of relevant standards (e.g. Government Buying Standards) and relevant eco label criteria (e.g. the EU Ecolabel);
  11. Evidence of analysis of carbon impacts of differing manufacturing options in the supply chain;
  12. Evidence of an in-use assessment tool or methodology to identify interventions that would limit equipment damage and extend the life of [x];
  13. Evidence of understanding the key circular economy opportunities and management requirements, including an example Management Plan.

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