The guide 2. Inform the market

Write evaluation criteria

Write clear evaluation criteria so that suppliers understand how they will be selected.

Why it's important

You should tell suppliers how they will be evaluated if they bid for a piece of work. The criteria you choose should be:

  • objective, that is free from bias, prejudice or subjectivity
  • proportionate and relevant to delivering your outcomes
  • designed to deliver value for money

What it means

You should set evaluation criteria for:

  • cost effectiveness - based on the ‘whole life cost’ you calculated in the planning phase
  • technical merit - the performance and reliability of a proposed solution
  • skills and experience - the competence of the supplier
  • after-sales support and assurance

Each criteria should be given a value or ‘weighting’ to reflect their relative importance to you. This can be done by using a scoring scheme, for example:

  • cost effectiveness - 20 points
  • technical merit - 15 points
  • skills and experience - 5 points

Whilst cost will always be an important evaluation criterion, in most circumstances quality should be weighted higher than price. This recognises the importance of service delivery over simply buying a product at the lowest price.

To avoid a bias towards low-cost you should:

  • ensure that you consider whole life cost rather than just initial cost
  • consider using a low-cost threshold below which the bid will be considered abnormally low
  • include a minimum quality threshold based on technical merit

Technical merit should be measured objectively, for example by allocating points to:

  • performance - such as coverage or network capacity
  • reliability - how mature is the proposed solution and is it well maintained?
  • flexibility - can you customise the solution to fully meet your needs?
  • assurance - for example, is there a Service Level Agreement (SLA)?
  • integration - will the solution work with your other technology?
  • security - does the solution’s security meet your needs?

Do's and dont's


  • ensure that evaluation criteria are proportionate to what you are buying
  • use a scoring scheme to tell suppliers which criteria you consider the most important


  • do not change your evaluation criteria after you’ve published them
  • do not bias your criteria towards low-cost unless it’s a very simple or ‘off-the-shelf’ procurement