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The PQQ is Dead – Long live the SQ!

The PQQ is Dead – Long live the SQ!

On the 9th September 2016 the Crown Commercial Service announced that the standard Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) may no longer be used in Public Sector procurement and that it must be replaced with a standard Selection Questionnaire (SQ).

It has yet to be adopted in Scotland. However, the SQ must be used immediately by contracting authorities in England and in Wales and Northern Ireland that intend to pursue competitive procurements which are above the EU thresholds and which require pre-selection.

What is a Selection Questionnaire?

The SQ requires a supplier to self-certify its standing against both the exclusions grounds and the key selection criteria. Then, the Authority is only required to verify the winning supplier’s responses.

Nevertheless, it can choose to verify the responses of any suppliers at any stage in the process, if it is concerned that there may be a problem.

The SQ has three parts:
Part 1 – Information about the supplier
Part 2 – Exclusion grounds
Part 3 – Selection criteria

Authorities will not be allowed to change the questions in Parts 1 and 2. They can ask additional, project specific questions which relate to the supplier’s technical and professional ability in Part 3. However, if they want to change the standard Part 3 questions or ask questions beyond this scope, they will only be allowed to do this if they have reported their intentions to the Mystery Shopper Scheme.

The SQ is the latest development in the continuing push to simplify the selection processes and make it easier for SMEs to compete in Public procurements. The questions in the SQ comply with the European Single Procurement Document (ESPD) and the CCS has said that Authorities must accept responses provided using the ESPD instead of the SQ, where they are offered.

Straightforward planning
For the Bid and Proposal professional, this move should make our lives a bit easier. Responses to the entire SQ can be pre-prepared. Then, so long as there is a process for keeping the information up to date, responding to Parts 1 and 2 should be a trivial administrative task.

Similarly, much of Part 3 can be pre-prepared, in the same manner as Parts 1 and 2. However, we will still need to create individual responses for project specific questions and tune the content of the other responses to make sure they show our capability for the project in the best light.

Nevertheless, this change will reduce the load on our bid teams and allow them to concentrate on the important stuff – maximising scores against the questions in the full proposal. All we need to do is create our baseline SQ document and then keep it up to date.

Author: Peter Lobl APMP Director, Sixfold International

If you need any more information about the SQ and its impact upon the way you respond to Government procurement opportunities, please call Sixfold International on 01227 860375.

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