2.1 Procurement Process
2.1.1 While every effort has been made to provide comprehensive and accurate background information, requirements and specifications, Tenderers must form their own conclusions about the services needed to meet the requirements set out in this RFT. All Tenderers and recipients of this RFT may wish to consult their own legal advisers competent in laws, including, without limitation, those of Ireland and the European Union and any standards, procedures and other requirements which may impact upon or otherwise affect this RFT or the subject matter thereof.
2.1.2 No commitment of any kind, contractual or otherwise shall exist unless and until a formal written contract has been executed by or on behalf of the Contracting Authority. Any award of preferred Tenderer status by the Contracting Authority shall not give rise to any enforceable rights by the Tenderer. The Contracting Authority may cancel this public procurement competition at any time prior to a formal written contract being executed by or on behalf of the Contracting Authority.
2.1.3 This RFT supersedes all previous documentation and correspondence between the Contracting Authority and Tenderers and Tenderers should place no reliance on such previous documentation and correspondence. Tenderers to this RFT should study the contents of this RFT carefully, including the information and documents contained in the Appendices.
2.1.4 This competition is being conducted under the Open Procedure of European Council Directive 2004/18/EC.
2.1.5 The Department of Finance may issue a Notice to all tenderers that register for receipt of tender documentation on the Irish Government’s tendering website (www.etenders.gov.ie), deleting, varying or extending any item in this document. Any such notice shall then become one of the Tender Documents and shall be treated as such by tenderers. Any such notice shall issue no later than 10 working days before the latest date set for the receipt of tenders.
2.1.6 Under EU Public Procurement Directives the Department of Finance is required to publish a Contract Award Notice in the OJEU containing certain information (including the name of the successful tenderers) relating to the award of this contract.
2.2 Compliant Tenders
2.2.1 Failure to comply with the requirements of this clause may render the Tender non-compliant and may be rejected. The Contracting Authority shall consider all compliant Tenders against the qualification and award criteria in Part 5 of this RFT. Tenderers must:
• Include all documentation specified in this RFT;
• Follow the format of this RFT and respond to each element in the order set out in this RFT;
• Conform to and comply with all requirements set out within this RFT.
2.2.2 Failure to comply with the requirements of this clause 2.2.2 will render the Tender non-compliant and it will be rejected. The Contracting Authority shall consider all compliant Tenders against the qualification and award criteria in Part 5 of this RFT. Tenders must:
• Include a statement to declare that the tenderer agrees to comply with the Tender Statement at Appendix 2. A scanned signed copy of the Tender Statement should be submitted through the e-Tenders post-box facility.
• Be received by the Contracting Authority in accordance with clause 2.8;
• Include a statement, confirming whether any of the excluding circumstances listed in Article 45 of EU Council Directive 2004/18/EC as implemented into Irish law by Regulation 53 of the European Communities (Award of Public Authorities’ Contracts) Regulations 2006 (Statutory Instrument 329 of 2006), apply to the Tenderer. Tenderers from Ireland and the United Kingdom must include with the Tender the declaration at Appendix 3 to this RFT (“Declaration”). For all Tenderers outside Ireland and the United Kingdom the statement must be appropriately evidenced as otherwise required. A scanned signed copy of the Declaration, as set out in Appendix 3, must be submitted through the e-Tenders post-box facility; and,
• Be submitted in the English language only.
2.3 Acceptance of RFT Requirements
Each Tenderer is required to accept the provisions of this RFT. ALL TENDERERS MUST RETURN, through the e-Tenders post-box facility, a scanned signed copy of the Tender Statement as set out in Appendix 2. Tenderers may not amend the Tender Statement at Appendix 2.
2.4 Consortium and Prime-Contractors / Sub-Contractors
2.4.1 Where a group of undertakings come together to create a consortium in order to submit a Tender in response to this RFT, the Contracting Authority will deal with all matters relating to this public procurement competition through the entity who will carry overall responsibility for the performance of the contract (“Lead Contractor”) only, irrespective of whether or not tasks are to be performed by another member of the consortium. The Tender must clearly set out:
• the full name of the entity under which the Tender is being submitted together with its registered business address (where applicable), registered business name (where applicable), company registration number (where applicable), telephone and e-mail contact details;
• the names of all members of the consortium who will be involved in the supply of the Services;
• a description of the role to be fulfilled by each member of the consortium;
• the name, title, telephone number, postal address, facsimile number and e-mail address of one nominated contact person, within the organisation of the Lead Contractor who is authorised to represent the consortium, to whom all communications shall be directed and accepted until this public procurement competition has been completed or terminated. Correspondence from any other person (including from any consortium member) will not be accepted, acknowledged or responded to.
2.4.2 Where a group of undertakings submit a Tender in response to this RFT the Contracting Authority will deal with all matters relating to this public procurement competition through the entity who will carry overall responsibility for the performance of the contract (“Prime Contractor”) only, irrespective of whether or not tasks are to be performed by a subcontractor. The Tenderer must clearly set out:
• the full legal name of the Prime Contractor together with its registered business address (where applicable), registered business name (where applicable), company registration number (where applicable), telephone and e-mail contact details;
• the names of all sub-contractors who will be involved in the supply of the Services;
• a description of the role to be fulfilled by each sub-contractor; and
• the name, title, telephone number, postal address, facsimile number and e-mail address of one nominated contact person who is authorised to represent the Prime Contractor, within the organisation of the Prime Contractor, to whom all communications shall be directed and accepted until this public procurement competition has been completed or terminated. Correspondence from any other person (including from any sub-contractor) will not be accepted, acknowledged or responded to.
2.4.3 The prime contractor will assume overall responsibility for delivery, and is authorised to sign a Vendor Participation Agreement and subsequent contracts on behalf of all consortia members. For the purposes of this competition to establish the Framework, all contact will be between the Department of Finance and the prime contractor only. The Department of Finance will not act as an arbitrator between members of project consortia.
2.4.4 Where the tender is subcontracted in part, by the successful tenderer to a third party, the responsibility for meeting the complete contract requirements will rest with the original tenderer.
2.4.5 It will be a Condition of Contract that all personnel to be associated with the project, as indicated in the tender submitted, be listed in the Contract document(s). Where such personnel become incapacitated or otherwise unavailable, the Service Provider shall propose alternative staff of equal qualifications, experience and expertise for approval by the Department of Finance, which approval shall not be unreasonably withheld. Failure to provide an acceptable replacement within a period of time to be written into the Contract document(s) may result in termination of the Contract.
2.5 General Terms of Tender Submission
2.5.1 Tenders must respond to the specification of requirements in this RFT as set out in Part 3.
2.5.2 This Request for Tender shall form part of the Framework documents and Vendor Participation Agreement, and any breach of the terms and conditions of this document shall be deemed a breach of the Vendor Participation Agreement.
2.5.3 Information supplied by tenderers will be treated as contractually binding. However, the Department of Finance reserves the right to seek clarification or verification of any such information. Whilst every effort has been made to give tenderers an accurate description of the requirements, tenderers should form their own conclusions about the methods and resources needed to meet these requirements. The Department of Finance does not accept responsibility for the tenderers’ assessment of the requirements. It is the duty of the tenderer to fully understand and correctly interpret this RFT. At all times, the tenderer has the responsibility to notify the Department of Finance, in writing, of any ambiguity, divergence, error, omission, oversight, or contradiction contained in this RFT, as it is discovered, or to request any instruction, decision, or direction that tenderers may require to prepare a Tender.
2.5.4 Tenders must fully conform to the format requirements set out at Part 4 and must be completed in the English language. Failure to submit tenders in the required format will, in almost all circumstances, result in the rejection of the tender. However, the Department of Finance reserves the right to deem a formatting deficiency to be of a minor nature, and in such circumstances to request the tenderer to resubmit the tender in the correct format as set out in this RFT, on the understanding that the resubmitted tender cannot contain any material change to the proposals and terms of the originally submitted tender. Failure to resubmit a correctly formatted tender within 2 working days of such a request will result in elimination from the competition.
2.5.5 Tenderers must disclose all relevant information to ensure that all tenders are fairly and legally evaluated. Additionally, tenderers must provide details of any implications they know or believe their response will have on the successful operation of the framework or on the normal day-to-day operations of customers, regardless of whether such information is explicitly requested or not. Any attempt to withhold any information that the tenderer knows to be relevant or to mislead the Department of Finance and/or its evaluation team in any way will result in the elimination of the tender. In the event of a tenderer being selected to participate in the framework that has knowingly withheld relevant information or otherwise misled the Department of Finance and/or the evaluation team in the evaluation process in any way, then that agreement will be rendered null and void.
2.5.6 Tenderers must detail all costs identified in this RFT. Additionally, tenderers must detail any other costs whatsoever, including associated license costs, which could be incurred by civil service bodies in the usage of services and/or the availing of options that may not be explicitly identified/requested in this RFT. Tenderer’s attention is drawn to the fact that, in the event of a tenderer being selected to participate in the framework, the attempted imposition of undeclared costs will be considered a condition for default.
2.5.7 Tenderers must confirm and demonstrate that all matters relating to the provision of the Services will be subject to the jurisdiction of the Irish Courts.
2.5.8 Tenderers must accept that the Department of Finance will not be liable in respect of any costs incurred by tenderers in the preparation and submission of tenders or any associated work effort, including any attendances, deliveries, collections or research required as part of this tender or in response to any requests for clarification, and the Department of Finance or any public body shall not be responsible or liable for any costs or expenses regardless of the conduct or outcome of the tender process.
2.5.9 The Department of Finance may draw inference from any tenderer’s performance during this tendering exercise with regard to the likely quality and efficiency of that tenderer’s performance in general. In particular, quality of presentation, adherence to required formats and deadlines, and ease of contact will be noted.
2.5.10 Tenderers must accept that the Department of Finance reserves the right to make any such enquiries that it deems necessary to corroborate any claims made in tenders or to determine the relevance of any proposed item, service or technology, to the perceived needs of the potential customers or to gauge their relative merits with regard to alternatives or competitors. Such enquiries may be made of known current or past customers or their partners or sub-contractors, industry information sources, or any other source that in the Department of Finance’s opinion can offer a competent assessment of the particular matter in question. The Department of Finance is under no obligation to establish the veracity of any such assessments other than to give reasons why it believes the source to be competent in the particular matter. The Department of Finance is under no obligation to inform tenderers that such enquiries are being made or to inform them of the results or impact of any such enquiries on the eventual outcome of this procurement exercise.
2.5.11 The Department of Finance will conduct this tender, including the evaluation of responses and final selection, in accordance with the detail set out at Part 5.
2.5.12 While tenderers may submit more than one tender, all documentation must be completed and submitted separately for each tender.
2.5.13 While tenderers may submit a tender to one, two or all three lots, all documentation must be completed and submitted separately for each lot.
2.5.14 Information supplied by tenderers will be treated as contractually binding if accepted by the Contracting Authority. However, the Department of Finance reserves the right to seek clarification or verification of any such information.
2.6 Legal Obligations
2.6.1 Under Article 27 of Directive 2004/18/EC as implemented into Irish law by Regulation 27 of European Communities (Award of Public Contracts) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 329 of 2006), Tenderers must provide a statement confirming that they have taken account of their legal obligations relating to employment protection and working conditions relating to the provision of the Services sought under this RFT. Failure to make the statement at paragraph 7 of the Tender Statement of Appendix 2 will render the Tender non-compliant.
2.6.2 Tenderers may obtain information regarding their obligations concerning:
• Taxation from the Irish Revenue Commissioners (www.revenue.ie);
• Environmental protection from the Environmental Protection Agency (www.epa.ie);
• Employment protection and working conditions from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation (www.deti.ie)
2.6.3 The successful Tenderer shall be solely responsible in law for the employment of, remuneration, taxes, immigration and work permits of all personnel retained for the purposes of providing the services.
2.6.4 Tenderers must have regard to statutory terms relating to minimum pay and to legally binding sectoral agreements in preparing Tenders.
2.6.5 The Department of Finance will use its best efforts to hold confidential any information provided by tenderers subject to its obligations under law, including the Freedom of Information Acts (FOI) 1997 and 2003. Tenderers should be aware that under the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003, information provided by them during this public procurement competition may be liable to be disclosed.
2.6.6 Tenderers are asked to consider if any of the information supplied in Tenders should not be disclosed because of its sensitivity. Tenderers should indicate, when tendering, the precise parts of their tenders that are commercially sensitive and which they consider should be kept confidential should an FOI request be received (i.e., a blanket statement to this effect for all tender documentation submitted will not be acceptable). If Tenderers consider that certain information is not to be disclosed because of its sensitivity, they should, when providing such information, clearly identify same and specify the reasons for its sensitivity. If Tenderers do not identify information as sensitive, it is liable to be released in response to a Freedom of Information request without further consultation with Tenderers. The Contracting Authority will, where possible, consult with Tenderers about sensitive information identified before making a decision on a request received under the Freedom of Information Acts.
2.6.7 Any Registerable Interest involving the Tenderer and the Contracting Authority, members of the Government, members of the Oireachtas, or employees and officers of Department of Finance and their relatives must be fully disclosed in the Tender or, in the event of this information only coming to their notice after the submission of a Tender and prior to the award of the contract, it should be communicated to the Contracting Authority immediately upon such information becoming known to the Tenderer / sub-contractor. The terms ‘Registerable Interest’ and ‘Relative’ shall be interpreted as per Section 2 of the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995 a copy of which is available to download from www.irishstatutebook.ie
2.6.8 Tenderers’ attention is drawn to the application of the Competition Act 2002. The Act makes it a criminal offence for Tenderers to collude on prices or terms in a public procurement competition.
2.6.9 It will be a condition of the award of any contract under this RFT that the successful Tenderer, shall for the term of any such contract, comply with all EU and domestic taxation law and requirements, including but not being limited to Circular 43/2006 issued by the Department of Finance. This Circular is available at www.finance.gov.ie/documents/circulars/circ432006.pdf and further information on domestic taxation law and requirements is available at www.revenue.ie.
2.6.10 It will be a condition for the award of the contract that all sub-contractors employed on the project must produce a tax reference number where payments exceed €650. Records of tax reference numbers must be kept by the contractor and be available for inspection where requested by the Revenue Commissioners. Where payments exceed €2,600 in any 12 month period the sub-contractor will be required to produce either a current tax clearance certificate or a current C2 certificate.
2.6.11 Payments to the successful Tenderers and any sub-contractors under a contract are at all times conditional on compliance with the requirements of Circular 43/2006 issued by the Department of Finance.
2.6.12 Prior to the award of any contract arising out of this public procurement competition the successful tenderer shall supply the certificate and registration numbers, as they appear on the Tax Clearance Certificate, to facilitate on-line verification of their tax status by the Contracting Authority. Alternatively, the Tenderer may promptly produce a Tax Clearance Certificate from the Irish Revenue Commissioners.
2.6.13 Where a Tax Clearance Certificate expires within the course of the framework, the Department of Finance reserves the right to seek a renewed certificate. All payments for contracts arising under the framework will be conditional on the contractor(s) being in possession of a valid certificate at all times.
2.6.14 A withholding tax will be deducted from any service related payments made. (A non-national may be able to reclaim this tax by applying to the Irish Revenue Commissioners).
2.6.15 Any conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest on the part of a Tenderer, individual employees, agents, or sub-contractors of a Tenderer must be fully disclosed to the Contracting Authority as soon as the conflict or potential conflict is or becomes apparent. In the event of any conflict or potential conflict of interest, the Contracting Authority may invite Tenderers to propose means by which the conflict might be removed. The Contracting Authority will, in its absolute discretion, decide on the appropriate course of action.
2.6.16 All documentation, drawings, information, patterns, samples or material disclosed or furnished by the Contracting Authority to Tenderers during the course of this public procurement competition:
• is furnished for the purpose of replying to this RFT only;
• may not be used, communicated, reproduced or published for any other purpose without the prior written permission of the Contracting Authority;
• shall be treated as confidential by the Tenderer and by any third parties (including sub-contractors) engaged or consulted by the Tenderer; and
• shall be returned immediately to the Contracting Authority upon cancellation or completion of this public procurement competition, if so requested by the Contracting Authority.
2.6.17 No publicity regarding this public procurement competition, the award of a contract or the execution of a contract is permitted unless and until the Contracting Authority has given its prior written consent to the relevant communication.
2.6.18 Tenderers should be aware that national legislation applies in other matters such as Official Secrets, Data Protection, Planning Laws and Regulations, and Health and Safety. Tenderers must accept that they are solely responsible for ensuring their full compliance and the full compliance of any service offering, with each of these, where relevant. Tenderers must accept and confirm that they have taken all such matters into account when submitting their tenders and must provide details on how they would propose to deal with issues emerging under any of these legislative headings, most especially where these issues could result in delays in service provision and/or operation.
2.6.19 The successful provider will also be required to take out and maintain at all times, employers liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance in such sums as are reasonable and adequate and accepted as such by the customer for each mini competition. Tenderers must declare that they can obtain this cover and will produce evidence of same if they are successful in this tender competition.
2.6.20 All ownership in any new copyright or other Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) pertaining to the tender exercise and subsequent mini competitions, including but not limited to the copyright of, system enhancements, system developments, the agreement and any and all data, information, reports, documents and images will reside solely with the Contracting Authority.
2.7 Clarification and Query Handling
2.7.1 The Department of Finance has taken care to be as clear as possible in the language and terms it has used in compiling this RFT. Where any ambiguity or confusion arises from the meaning or interpretation of any word or term used in this document or any other document relating to this tender, the meaning and interpretation attributed to that word or term by the Department of Finance will be final. The Department of Finance will not accept responsibility for any misunderstanding of this document or any others relating to this tender.
2.7.2 Every effort has been made to ensure that this documentation contains all the necessary information for completion of tenders. However, in the interests of equity, requests for additional information, clarification on the content of this documentation, and all other queries of substance (other than in relation to purely factual or procedural matters) must be made by email. Any additional information elicited will be made available to all tenderers who have been given a copy of this documentation by the Department of Finance, without disclosing the original requester. Tenderers should take this into account when formulating their request. Responses will be posted on the e-tenders website www.etenders.gov.ie.
2.7.3 Requests for additional information or clarifications must be made by the 9th March 2011 at the very latest. The Department of Finance strictly enforces deadlines and in no circumstances will requests for information or clarification be accepted after this closing time on the day in question. The Department of Finance will not accept responsibility for any missed communications or deadlines.
2.7.4 Any requests for information/clarification should be submitted by email only, and addressed to email@example.com and include “Software Asset Management” in the subject line.
2.8 Tender Submission Details
2.8.1 Tenders must be submitted electronically to the tender post-box set up for this competition on www.etenders.gov.ie. Tenders will not be accepted by any other means.
2.8.2 The closing date and time for tender submission is 1:00pm Local Time 31st March 2011. The tender post-box will not accept submissions after that time on that date.
2.8.3 The Department may, at its own discretion, revise the closing date and time given here. Any such revisions will be made in accordance with the time limits set out in Directive 2004/18/EC. All prospective tenderers that have registered their interest in pursuing this tender through www.etenders.gov.ie will be advised of such revisions.
2.8.4 Tenders must be submitted in PDF, OpenOffice or Microsoft Office formats. Submissions will be checked to ensure that they are free from viruses. Incomplete tenders or tenders with corrupt files will be rejected. Tenders may be submitted in multiple files – please note there is a 10MB size limit on each file and a maximum limit of 30MB for each response. All file names should begin with the three characters “SAM”, include the Company/Consortium Name and the Lot number being tendered for. We advise that you give sufficient time to upload all documents.