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How to get detailed feedback on your public sector bid submission

25 June 2024

You’ve spent months pouring your time, energy, resource, and finances into a complex bid submission to a public sector Contracting Authority. You wait for the Award date of the Successful Bidder to pass you by with no communication and no updated deadline.

Then, finally, that email lands in your inbox asking you to go to the portal to view your result.

You lost
You check your scores and there is vague and limited feedback, you speak to your colleagues about your disappointment, and then move on with other tasks.

You won!
You are delighted, and forget to ask for any feedback, and the Contracting Authority doesn’t issue any.



When you lose

This information is easier to get hold of. The Contracting Authority will usually toe the line with their obligations to share your scores against the evaluation criteria as well as against the winning bidder, along with some written details about how they arrived at those scores.

You want this feedback so you can see where you need to improve for the next opportunity, but also you want to know where you are getting it right and doing well. You can also compare your response against the feedback and scores from the winning bidder to pinpoint where you can improve future responses. All this information will also prevent you from using any content from a bid where you scored poorly on a new one. There’s no one out there that does that, is there?!


When you win, or get through to the next round

Sometimes you get your scores, but more often you get nothing. You need to know why you won. So often our clients say to us “it’s probably because…”, “we think it’s because..’. Probably, think, feel, believe, means you don’t know! The reason(s) a Contracting Authority appoints you are like nuggets of gold. And you can’t roll them into your next bid and make them scream from the rooftops if you don’t know what they are. They scored all the bidders, they wrote comments on every response, to arrive at this decision. So, they have it all there. You just need to make sure you get hold of a copy of it. And you can, if you know how to ask!



  •  The characteristics and relative advantages of the successful tender
  • The matters that should have been included in the applicant’s tender
  • Or the matters contained in the successful tender



Public Contract Regulations (PCR) 2015, Regulation 86

Regulation 86 of PCR 2015 outlines the requirements for the issue of standstill letter, which all bidders receive upon contract award. This must cover the following:

  • (86)(2)(a) – The criteria for the award of the contract.
  • (86)(2)(b) – The reasons for the decision, including the characteristics and relative advantages of the successful tender.
  • (86)(2)(c) – The name of the successful tenderer.
  • (86)(2)(d) – A precise statement of the standstill period’s duration.
  • (86)(3-4) – The reason a bidder did not meet the technical requirements / was unsuccessful.


Case law

RPS Consulting Engineers Limited v Kildare County Council ([2016] IEHC 113)

The court decided that, if a Contracting Authority fails to provide reasons that have been individually considered and formulated to clearly specify the relative advantages of the winning tenderer, they are breaching their legal obligations.


European Dynamics Luxembourg SA v European Union Intellectual Property Office ([2014] Case T-556/11)

This case emphasised the importance of providing sufficient information to unsuccessful bidders to understand the reasons for their rejection and the relative advantages of the successful tender, in line with the principles of transparency.


Letting International Ltd v London Borough of Newham ([2008] EWHC 1583 (QB))

This case reinforced the need for transparency in the evaluation process and providing adequate feedback to unsuccessful bidders.


Raise a clarification question or directly contact the Contracting Authority

The Contracting Authority is legally required to document feedback and provide this to you upon request, even where time has passed since receiving the outcome of the bid.


Example request for feedback

We are writing to request detailed feedback on our bid submitted for the [title/reference of the procurement] following the recent decision communicated to us on [date of notification].

We would like to understand the reasons behind the outcome and how we can improve our future submissions. Specifically, we are interested in the following information:

Evaluation scores:

  • The overall score awarded to our bid
  • A breakdown of our scores for each evaluation criterion
  • The scores of the successful bidder for comparison, where permissible

 Evaluation feedback:

  • Detailed feedback on how our bid met or did not meet each criterion
  • Areas where our bid was particularly strong or weak
  • Specific reasons for the final decision

Suggested improvements:

  • Recommendations on how we can enhance our proposals in future tenders
  • Any other insights that could help us better align our bids with your requirements

Please can you acknowledge receipt of this request and confirm when you will respond by, ideally within the 15-day statutory timeframe.


Example request for more detailed feedback if the returned information is limited

We are writing to request a more detailed debrief on our recent bid submission for the [title/reference of the procurement] following the outcome notification during the standstill period.

Thank you for the feedback you have sent. However, it lacks detail to fully understand the evaluation process and outcome.

Specifically, we are seeking more comprehensive information on the following:

Evaluation criteria and scoring:

  • Detailed feedback on how you assessed our bid against each evaluation criterion
  • Clear explanations of the scores allocated to our bid for each criterion

Comparison with successful bidder:

  • Specific strengths and advantages of the successful bid that led to their selection
  • Comparative analysis highlighting areas where our bid differed significantly

Areas for improvement:

  • Constructive suggestions on how we can enhance future bids to better meet your requirements
  • Identification of any specific weaknesses or areas where our bid fell short

Additional insights:

  • Any other relevant information or considerations that influenced the decision-making process

Please can you acknowledge receipt of this request and confirm when you will respond by, ideally within the 15-day statutory timeframe.


Feedback is the clearest way to continuously improve your bid responses and win future opportunities. Make sure you’re asking for it, getting what you’re entitled to, and using it to win more business!