The contracting authority is free to choose between an open or a restricted procedure. However, a negotiated procedure may only be used in specifically designated cases.
A procurement above the thresholds may be carried out in one of the following ways:
An ‘open procedure’ means a procedure where all suppliers may submit tenders. The contracting authority publishes a contract notice and interested suppliers request the contract documents. Negotiations may not take place with prospective suppliers.
A ‘restricted procedure’ means a procedure where all suppliers can apply to participate, but where tenders may only be submitted by candidates that are invited to participate by the contracting authority.
The contracting authority publishes a notice to invite prospective suppliers to apply to submit a tender. After publishing the contract notice, which must contain the requirements for suppliers, the supplier verifies its capacity in various respects by providing certificates and asks to participate in the tender contest (request to participate).
According to the criteria and rules stipulated in the notice, the contracting authority selects the number of candidates stated in the notice from those that satisfied the requirements imposed (at least five). Even if fewer applications are received, the contracting authority may continue the procedure by inviting qualified suppliers that have applied for participation.
The contract documents must be sent out to these suppliers at the same time. The contracting authority may not consider any tenders other than those from the suppliers invited. Negotiations may not take place with any suppliers.
A ‘negotiated procedure’ means a procedure where the contracting authority invites selected suppliers, as in the case of a restricted procedure, and may negotiate on the terms of contract with one or several of them.
As in the case of a restricted procedure, qualification takes place first and possibly a restriction of the number of candidates. After that, the authority invites qualified and selected candidates to submit tenders (at least three) or for negotiations. Even if fewer applications are received, the contracting authority may continue the procedure by inviting qualified suppliers that have applied for participation.
In some limited cases, a negotiated procedure may take place without the prior publication of a contract notice; e.g. if the products or services can only be provided or performed by a particular supplier for technical reasons or owing to an exclusive right, or if it is absolutely necessary to implement the procurement, but extreme urgency caused by circumstances which could neither have been anticipated nor were referable to the contracting authority has arisen.
This procedure means that the contracting authority may conduct a dialogue with selected suppliers to identify and define how the needs of the authority can best be fullfilled.
The intention is that competitive dialogue will be a flexible procedure for awarding a particularly complex contract where an open or selection procedure does not allow the award of contracts.
Competitive dialogue may be used when it is impossible to formulate a more exact specification, and in cases where it is not possible to formulate specifications that make it possible to value all of the solutions offered by the market. This procedure may be used when the contracting authority basically knows the final result that it wishes to achieve, but where the authority cannot determine in advance how to achieve this result in the best way in the form of, for example, funding, legal issues or technical solutions.
Competitive dialogue may be used regardless of whether the procurement relates to works, products or services.