Procurement process by procurement value
- Identify needs
- Write specifications, terms of reference or statement of work
- Choose a procurement method
- Prepare solicitation document
- Seek, clarify and close offers
- Evaluate offers
- Award contract
- Negotiate the contract
- Manage contract
- Evaluate the procurement
Depending on the type, complexity, size and value of a procurement exercise, common methods of solicitation include:
Request for Quotation (RFQ)
An RFQ is an informal invitation to submit a quotation, usually for goods/services/civil works at a value between US$500 and US$60,000.
Prices, and other commercial terms and conditions are requested and award is made to the lowest-priced technically acceptable offer.
Invitation to Bid (ITB)
An ITB is a formal invitation to submit a bid, usually associated with requirements that are clearly and concisely defined, with an estimated procurement value of US$60,000 or more. Normally price is the sole determinant in making an award. Where all technical criteria are met, award is made to the lowest bidder.
Request for Proposal (RFP)
An RFP is a formal request to submit a proposal, usually associated with requirements for services, which cannot be clearly or concisely defined, with an estimated procurement value of US$60,000 or more.
Price is only one of several factors comprising the evaluation criteria. Award is made to the qualified bidder whose bid substantially conforms to the requirement set forth on the solicitation documents and is evaluated to be the lowest cost to UNRWA.
In some cases, exceptions to competition are made and direct contracting is used. This usually happens when a long-term agreement (LTA) is in place, either locally (at field office level) or internationally.
Evaluation is based on different factors, depending on the procurement method.
Requests for Quotation and Invitations to Bid
Price is the most important element.
Requests for Proposal
RFPs require a technical evaluation, which is the main factor in whether the proposal will be accepted or declined.
UNRWA also evaluates offers (for goods, construction works, or services) on the following criteria:
- quality assurance
- speed of response
- environmental soundness
- accuracy of documentation
- delivery in full for all required items
- customer service – based on detailed service level agreements (SLAs)
- ability to meet technical specifications or demonstrate comprehensive technical solutions.
- acceptance of and compliance with the UNRWA General Conditions of Contract (GCC)
Up to US$500
All purchases and services below this threshold may be obtained through an imprest fund voucher without the need for a formal written contract. While best value for money shall always be sought, there is a reduced need for competition at this expenditure level.
US$500 to US$10,000
Oral or written RFQ shall be addressed to at least one approved supplier. Quotations must be submitted in writing. Proforma invoices may suffice. If received orally, a written note justifying the selection of suppliers as well as the price shall be included in the file. Where time and market conditions allow, three or more approved suppliers shall be asked to quote. Increasing the number of quotations received beyond one is highly desirable.
US$10,000 to US$59,999
A written RFQ or RFP shall be addressed to at least three approved potential suppliers.
A two-envelope system is used for the pre-qualification of potential suppliers at the time of the RFQ / RFP. When using a two-envelope system, the first envelope shall contain a completed bidder pre-qualification form, along with supporting evidence such as headed notepaper, company accounts if requested, etc (Technical Quotation). The second envelope which contains the financial quotation shall only be opened if the potential supplier is successful in pre-qualifying, following analysis of the contents of the first envelope. Second envelopes from potential suppliers who did not qualify will be returned unopened to their respective addresses, or will have the contents shredded, unopened if possible.
The approved suppliers that submitted the best three acceptable quotations or proposals from the last RFQ / RFP must be invited to participate, provided that they have maintained their approved status.
For contracts below US$60,000, no formal Tender Opening Committee is required. Bids may be opened by an internal Quotation Opening Committee comprised of the relevant Section Head, a procurement staff member at Headquarters and the FPLO, and a procurement staff member in the Field Offices.
Quotations or proposals can be received via a designated fax number or by conventional mail. Once received, the documents are placed in a closed box until the RFQ/RFP opening date.
Any procurement action with an estimated value exceeding US$60,000 shall be tendered using an ITB or RFP. Written ITBs or RFPs shall be addressed to at least five approved and potential suppliers.
A two-envelope system is used for the pre-qualification of potential suppliers at the time of the ITB/RFP. When using a two-envelope system, the first envelope shall contain a completed pre-qualification form, along with supporting evidence such as headed notepaper, company accounts if requested, etc (Technical Quotation). The second envelope which contains the financial quotation shall only be opened if the potential supplier is successful in pre-qualifying, following analysis of the contents of the first envelope. Second envelopes from potential suppliers who did not qualify will be returned unopened to their respective addresses, or will have the contents shredded, unopened if possible.
The approved suppliers that submitted the three most acceptable quotations or proposals from the last ITB/RFP must be invited to participate, provided that they have maintained their approved status.
Bids or proposals have to be sent in closed envelopes to be placed in a closed tender box.
With due consideration for the economic use of Agency resources, contracts shall be let on a competitive basis. The transparent and competitive tendering system used by UNRWA requires that the market available to the Agency is reasonably and adequately investigated by, among others, prequalification of suppliers and by providing opportunities for new potential contractors to participate over a reasonable period of time.
Competition shall be solicited either by public advertisement or by direct invitation addressed to potential and qualified approved suppliers for the List of Approved Suppliers, or a combination of both.
UNRWA Conditions of Contract
To any contract and purchase order issued by UNRWA, the UNRWA General Conditions of Contract shall apply.
GCC Goods (PDF)
GCC Services (PDF)
GCC Goods and Services (PDF)
Addendum to General Condition of Contracts (PDF)
UNRWA procurement is decentralised, with the Chief of the Procurement and Logistics Division (firstname.lastname@example.org) having ultimate responsibility for ensuring that procedures and awarded contracts comply with the UNRWA Regulatory Framework on Procurement.
Organisational Directive No 10 – Procurement (PDF)
Procurement Manual (PDF)
PLD headquarters oversees:
- Agency-wide long-term agreements (LTAs)
- procurement of goods and services
- analysis, policies and development
- transport and logistics
Its main tasks are:
- global procurement of inventory for the entire Agency (such as food items)
- updates and maintenance of the Agency’s policies and procedures
- technical support for all UNRWA procurement and logistics divisions
- tendering for and management of Agency-wide LTAs.
Field Office PLD
Field Office PLD carries out field-specific procurement under the delegated procurement authority of the Director of Field Office and the general guidance of the Chief, Procurement and Logistics Division. Each field office also provides logistical support to its field programmes.
UNRWA, like other public-sector agencies and organisations, faces ethical challenges. The Agency promotes ethical conduct among its staff, based on common values.
The Agency has defined standards of behaviour and performance expected of its staff members by directly linking the Agency’s values to all elements of its work, and by making those standards an inherent part of its overall human resources management strategy.
As part of this overall strategy, the UNRWA Procurement and Logistics Division in Headquarters Amman and in the Fields continuously seek and promote the commitment of their staff members to the UNRWA Staff Standards of Conduct. (available in PDF and Word).
Common Guidelines for Procurement by Organisations in the UN system.