Frequently Asked Questions
Best Value For Money
In principle, all service contracts shall be adjudicated on a BVFM basis.
In exceptional cases, service contracts may be adjudicated on a cheapest compliant basis. This decision will be taken by the Procurement Service in collaboration with the technical officer before the market survey is launched.
As a guideline, adjudication on the lowest compliant basis may be used for low-tech service contracts in the following situations:
- for contracts with insignificant or no added-value potential;
- in fields where CERN /or national bodies /or manufacturers of products or material exactly define how the services shall be executed: organisation, teams composition, qualification/competences of human resources, experience, frequency and duration of interventions, type and quality of material/product used, etc…(like for example maintenance of industrial equipment eg. diesel generators etc.).
- in cases where the applicable legislation leaves no possibility of deviation in the way the services have to be provided in so far as it defines exactly the services in terms of frequency, means and tooling, reporting and measures, (safety) conditions of interventions (e.g. radiation protection services, lift maintenance, etc…).
The selection of firms for the invitation to tender following the results of the market survey will not change. The country of origin of the firm(s) and the status of the country remains a criterion for the selection of the firms to be invited to tender. However, the market survey shall be sent out without the document “selection and adjudication criteria for industrial service contracts”, since the alignment rule will not apply for adjudications based on a BVFM basis.
In case of BVFM adjudication, the technical specification shall be written in such a flexible way that bidders can establish tailor-made bids with real added-value and relying on their own expertise. The technical specification shall specify clearly the required services without preventing bidders from proposing innovating solutions according to the resources and organization they consider to be the best adapted to CERN’s needs.
The purpose of the technical specification is to define contractual obligations, which shall be accepted by the bidder at the adjudication stage. In case the bidder does not accept the provisions of the technical specification, his bid will be considered as non-compliant and disqualified. Therefore, quality criteria as defined below shall not be mistaken for contractual obligations defined in the technical specification, bearing in mind that they may, however, be defined so as to complement such contractual obligations.
Quality criteria shall be defined bearing in mind that their purpose in not to define contractual obligations (which is the purpose of the technical specification). Therefore, quality criteria shall either complete the provisions of the technical specification by defining an added-value aspect of a mandatory requirement or constitute an independent added-value to the contract, which may advantage the bidder reaching a good score on this criterium.
The quality criteria shall be:
- as objective as possible;
- specific for each service/field of activity;
- impartial (not privileging any of the bidders);
The quality criteria may be:
- Organisation and operating methods proposed by the bidder;
- Capacity/ ability/ experience/ training/ qualification/ know-how of the personnel/ management;
- Experience with respect to specific aspects of the contract/ comparable contracts;
- Technical value of the bid;
- Schedule/ period of completion/ deliverability;
- Additional resources availability;
- Quality control system and Quality Assurance documentation provided including details of start-up phase;
- Health and safety aspects;
- Subcontractors/ subcontracting information.
As a guideline, at least four quality criteria will be used for the adjudication.
The price shall account for at least 50% of the adjudication formula (Price weight). Therefore, the weight of the quality criteria shall not exceed 50% of the adjudication (Quality weight). The more technically complex the market is, the more weight could be attributed to the quality criteria.
The weighted score will be calculated as follows:
Total Weighted Score = ( Weighted Quality Score ) + ( Weighted Price Score )
Weighted Quality Score = ( Quality Weight / Highest Possible Quality Score) x Quality Score for bid X
Weighted Price Score = Price Weight - 50 x ( ( price for bix X / price of lowest bid ) -1 )
Accordingly, the maximum price score is awarded to the lowest compliant bid.
It should be noted that the above formula ensures that:
- The maximum amount to be paid for the best placed bid will never exceed 2 x Quality Weight (%) of the price of the lowest compliant bid and for a quality score of 0 (i.e. for a 50/50 adjudication, the maximum price for the best placed bid will never exceed 100% of the price of the lowest compliant bid; in case of a 80/20 adjudication the maximum price paid will never exceed 40% of the lowest compliant bid);
- A price increase of 10% will be compensated by ( 5 x 100 ) / Quality Weight ) ) (%) of quality increase.
In order to score each bid in an objective and accurate way, a number of points is attributed to each answer provided by the bidder (please refer to the scoring table). The price for each quality point corresponds to a value in Swiss francs that can be calculated as follows:
1 Quality Point = ( ( 0.1 x estimated price for the contract duration ) / ( 5 x maximum score possible for quality ) ) x Quality Weight
The amount of points granted corresponds to the cost of the resources or feature proposed by the future contractor or the value for CERN. Therefore, it is useful to calculate the correspondence between points of quality and the price CERN is willing to pay for it, bearing in mind that the costs have to be calculated for the initial contract duration, i.e. generally three years.
The maximum score for each criterion shall be granted to satisfactory proposals bearing in mind that the purpose of BVFM adjudications is to accept to pay a reasonable price for a satisfactory quality (not to pay more to obtain an unreasonably high quality level).
As a guideline, each criterion shall not account for more than 40% of the maximum possible score for quality (i.e. if the total number of points attributed for the quality is maximum 200, a single criterion should not be scored above 80 points out of the 200 points).
In case CERN defines eliminatory criteria or scores, it shall be clearly stated so in the invitation to tender documents.
The technical officer shall prepare the following invitation to tender documents :
- Technical specification (GB / FR)
- Evaluation questionnaire (GB / FR)
- For contracts expected to exceed 750kCHF, the risk matrix (an example)
- The agenda of the bidder’s conference as the case may be.
The Procurement Service shall prepare:
- Cover letter
- Tender form
The technical officer together with the Procurement Service shall prepare:
- The memorandum defining the quality criteria and their scoring, which shall be kept strictly confidential. Therefore, the number of persons involved shall be kept to a minimum (technical and commercial officers in charge of the IT and the user department’s group leader). This memorandum shall not be presented to the technical specification committee.
The aim of the technical specification committee is to ensure that the invitation to tender documents comply with the Procurement Rules, in particular that they are drafted in an objective way so as to address CERN’s technical, commercial and safety requirements. The documents that will be reviewed in the specification committee are the following:
- List of firms qualified and non qualified
- Technical specification and its annexes
- Tender form
- Evaluation questionnaire
- The risk matrix
IN NO EVENT, the memorandum defining the adjudication criteria will be submitted for review to the specification committee.
In case of BVFM adjudications, the Procurement Service applies a double envelope procedure in view of the opening of the bids. In the invitation to tender documents, bidders are clearly explained that they have to submit their technical bid in one envelope and their commercial bid in another envelope. Both envelopes will have to be sent in a single envelope bearing the reference of the invitation to tender.
The technical bid comprises the evaluation questionnaire and, if necessary, additional technical information. The commercial envelope shall include the tender form and, as the case may be, the Description and Quantity Estimate (DQE) or any other document or file defining prices.