Sharing information early can include:
- issuing a ‘request for information’ (RFI), a document alerting suppliers about potential opportunities and requesting information about their capabilities
- inviting suppliers to an open meeting or event to discuss your procurement goals
- visiting communities you wish to involve more in procurement
The publication of an RFI does not oblige you to buy anything or form any type of contract with suppliers.
Open meetings should provide an opportunity to discuss requirements and answer questions from suppliers in the presence of their competitors.
One-on-one meetings with suppliers should only be used after holding open events.
If you do meet one-to-one with suppliers you should:
- ensure that you meet a diverse range of suppliers
- ask each supplier the same questions and give them the same opportunity to respond
- have a clear scope of the things you will be discussing - this will help protect the fairness of the process.
The advice you receive from suppliers may be used in the planning and other stages of your procurement providing that:
- it does not distort competition by giving any supplier an unfair advantage
- you share the advice with the other suppliers
- you don’t exclude any suppliers involved in pre-market engagement
later in the process