All questions

The bidding process

i Notice

The notices of every tender process have to be published in the internet profile of the awarding entity. This profile needs to be accessible from the website of the awarding entity.

In addition, it will be mandatory to publish the notice of the tender process in the Official Journal of the European Union for contracts subject to harmonised regulation (described in Section III.ii).

Finally, the public authorities and the entities related to them will have to publish the notice in the applicable official journal: (1) central government and related entities in the Spanish Official Journal; (2) the 17 autonomous regions and related entities in the regional official journal; and (3) local authorities in the official journal of their province.

ii Procedures

The awarding entities will need to follow one of the following public procurement procedures in order to award a public contract. As a general rule, public procurement procedures shall be handled through electronic means.

On the other hand, contracts for small amounts (below €15,000 for supplies and services, and below €40,000 for works) can be directly awarded without the need for a public procurement procedure. The awarding entity will have to justify the need to execute this contract, the approval of the expense and the incorporation of the invoice in the file. It will also have to be ascertained that the contractor has not signed more contracts than, individually or jointly, exceed the maximum thresholds of the smaller contracts.

Open procedure

This is the ordinary proceeding. Any company interested to tender can take part in it by submitting an offer, and by proving that it has the capacity and solvency required by the awarding entity. There is no margin for negotiation between the bidders and the awarding entity. The procedure consists of:

  1. publication of the notice by the public authority;
  2. submission of the offers by the bidders;
  3. evaluation of the offers by the awarding entity; and
  4. the award of the contract to the best offer followed by the signing of the contract.
Restricted procedure

Restricted procedure can also be used as an ordinary proceeding. There is a preliminary phase in which potential bidders express their interest to take part in the tender. Among those interested candidates, the awarding entity will select the bidders who will be invited to submit and offer. The tender process will only take part with the invited candidates. In this procedure there is no margin for negotiation.

Negotiated procedure

This is an exceptional procedure that can only be used in the following cases:

  1. it is necessary that the bidders design or adapt the object of the contract to the specific case and circumstances;
  2. the object of the contract includes a project or innovative solutions;
  3. there is a need for negotiation linked to the object of the contract or to the risks that its implementation may entail;
  4. the technical prescriptions of the service cannot be previously established with sufficient precision;
  5. in open or restricted procedures followed previously, only irregular or unacceptable offers have been submitted; and
  6. they are services that can only the carried out by a specific person. The procedure is very similar to the restricted procedure and it will lead to a negotiation of the terms of the contract with the invited bidders, which may be developed through successive selective phases.
Competitive dialogue

Competitive dialogue is also an exceptional procedure. It will only be applicable in the same cases as the negotiated procedure. The awarding entity has a need, but it does not know how exactly this need can be satisfied. The awarding entity will invite selected bidders to take part in the procedure, and will establish a dialogue with them in order to develop one or several solutions that are capable of satisfying the needs of the awarding entity. These solutions will be the basis on which the bidders will make their offers and the awarding entity will award the contract to the best offer or offers.

Partnership for innovation

Partnership for innovation is also an exceptional procedure. It can only be used when it is necessary to carry out research and development activities regarding works, services and innovative products, for subsequent acquisition by public sector entities.

iii Amending bids

Offers submitted by the bidders cannot be amended. As stated above, the negotiated procedure and the competitive dialogue allow stages of negotiation between the awarding entity and the bidders. Once the final offer has been submitted, however, there is no possibility of any further modifications.