The evaluation process adopted for the selection of suppliers of goods or services must be able to withstand scrutiny. An evaluation committee (also known as an evaluation panel), with the appropriate mix of technical and practical knowledge and skills, will help to ensure that the procurement process results in the best outcome for government.
An evaluation committee should be established during the formulation of the specification, and prior to quotations or tenders being called. This allows members of the evaluation committee to have input into the development of the criteria and the weightings to be used for the evaluation of offers.
The evaluation committee should include staff with the right mix of knowledge and skills to enable thorough consideration of all offers and the identification and assessment of the risks associated with the purchase.
The committee is normally chaired by the person managing the procurement process, and should also include an end user and the contract manager. Other members of the committee will depend on the nature of the purchase, but could require people with skills in the following areas:
- technical analysis (eg for scientific or IT purchases);
- financial assessment;
- probity; and
- legal issues.
If the necessary expertise is not available internally, then it may be necessary to seek specialist advice to assist with the evaluation process.
Responsibilities of the evaluation committee
The evaluation committee is responsible for:
- maintaining and promoting probity in the procurement process;
- evaluating the offers in accordance with the agreed conditions for participation, evaluation criteria and methodology (generally set out in the evaluation plan);
- documenting the evaluation process;
- preparing an evaluation report;
- seeking approval to proceed with a contract with the preferred supplier; and
- debriefing unsuccessful supplier(s).
To guarantee the integrity of the procurement process, it is vital that members of the evaluation committee do not have a conflict of interest in the procurement under assessment.
The Crown Solicitor has developed two Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest Declaration pro forma (one for State Service Employees and another for Non-State Service Employees). These forms should be completed by each member of the evaluation committee, and anyone assisting in the evaluation (eg probity advisors etc).
Role of the Chairperson
The Chairperson of the evaluation committee is responsible for managing the evaluation and decision-making process and:
- ensuring that committee members are aware of their responsibilities, including confidentiality;
- ensuring the security of documentation;
- ensuring timely decision making;
- managing communications between the evaluation committee and other interested parties;
- providing the evaluation committee members with the documentation that they require to assess the tender responses (eg the initial Request documentation, scoresheets, etc);
- preparing the final recommendation report and report to the agency's Procurement Review Committee (where appropriate); and
- ensuring appropriate sign off by Head of Agency or delegate.