The formal procurement for the NBP State intervention was launched with the publication of the Pre-qualification Questionnaire, or PQQ, and Project Information Memorandum (PIM) in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). The PQQ assisted the Department in evaluating the eligibility, economic and financial standing and technical and professional capability of each bidder to provide the services required under the NBP. Only those bidders that could demonstrate they had the necessary economic and financial standing, together with the required technical and professional capability, were allowed to participate in the procurement process.
The procurement documentation issued to all bidders at the beginning of the process set out a mechanism for the Department to assess and approve or reject changes to the membership of any of the bidders, as would be appropriate in a procurement of this scale and duration.
As part of the assessment of a change, any bidder in the process was required to demonstrate that it continued to meet the economic and financial standing, and technical and professional capability, set out in the original rigorous pre-qualification criteria. The Department could not have approved a change in Bidder composition unless it met those criteria. The criteria were designed to ensure that Bidders who passed had the ability from a financial robustness and technical ability, to build, operate and maintain the NBP network.
The bidder which submitted its Final Tender to the Department met these relevant thresholds, as did the other bidders invited to participate in the process.
My Department has received a final tender submission from the bidder and I intend to bring a recommendation to Government regarding this submission in the coming weeks.