The key to writing an effective specification is making it sufficiently tight so that the product or service satisfies your school’s needs but not so prescriptive that it prevents negotiation and discourages the supplier from proposing innovative solutions which may offer better value for money.
If the specification is unnecessarily restrictive it may result in:
- a suitable supplier/provider being excluded from bidding
- bidders wrongly interpreting the requirement
- bidders failing to submit satisfactory tenders
- major difficulties in evaluating bids
- wrong or unusable goods or services being supplied
- inappropriate pricing
The detail and complexity of the specification should reflect the value, complexity and risks entailed in the purchase.
Developing the specification
The better you understand your school’s requirements the better you will be able to specify your needs and assess whether bidders can meet them. Being proactive and consulting colleagues with specialist knowledge throughout the development of the specification will help your school get what they want, when they need it.
The completed specification
Once the specification has been produced, it is included in the quotation/tender document and forms part of the contract between the school and the supplier, once the contract is in place. The specification can then only be changed within the terms of the contract. Changes to specifications after the contract or order has been placed and accepted can incur additional cost and/or delay.
It is good practice to review existing specifications at least once a year to ensure that they remain relevant to the needs of the school and aligned with the capabilities of the market.
Further guidance can be provided by the Council's procurement team, please contact them on 01922 658437