I would like to state at the outset that there is not a general requirement for projects of a value of €50,000 or above to be procured on the basis of the most economically advantageous tender (MEAT). Contracting Authorities may choose to award a contract either on a MEAT basis to the highest scoring tender measured against MEAT criteria or lowest price only where lowest price is the only criteria. Public works contracts below €500,000 are generally awarded on a lowest price only basis (using the Short Public Works Contract) whilst in most construction-related consultancy contracts the quality of the technical services features highly and therefore the MEAT criteria will normally be used.
Public procurement guidance developed by my Department sets out that all tender processes must be objective, transparent, and based solely on the award criteria stated in the tender documents. It is a matter for each contracting authority when awarding a contract that the criteria used is relevant to the specific contract and appropriate to the nature, type and complexity of the project. Contracting authorities should also follow equitable, fair and transparent procedures when assessing quality and price in a tender.