Section 1: Research Tendering Process

Transport Scotland's social research is usually commissioned through competitive tendering, though Transport Scotland is not always required to do this. This is where a selected number of researchers or organisations who have submitted an expression of interest, are invited to tender for the work as set out in a research specification. Procurement legislation states that we are unable to fund unsolicited proposals. The following information covers the broad principles of commissioning social research for Transport Scotland.

Expressions of Interest

Contractors who wish to be considered for inclusion on tender lists for any of the new projects outlined in the research programmes are invited to complete an 'expression of interest' form for each project. Transport Scotland research projects will normally be advertised through the Public Contracts Scotland website. Potential contractors are advised to register there and then check for any relevant contracts. Public Contracts Scotland RSS feeds and procurement apps are also available.

Invitations to Tender

The tender process is carried out using Public Contracts Scotland. Selected tenderers will be invited to tender and sent a detailed specification describing the proposed research. The specification sets out the background, the aims of the research, what contractors are expected to provide in the tender and a date for receipt of tender. A copy of the Standard Conditions which govern Transport Scotland's research contracts will also be provided.

Assessment of Tenders

Tenders will be assessed by the project manager in consultation with appropriate policy clients. Overall assessment will be concerned with value for money taking into account the quality and cost of the contractor's proposals. Criteria for each individual project will be listed in the tender specification and may vary by project. However in general assessments will focus on:

  • The contractor's understanding of the issues to be addressed
  • Experience of previous relevant research and knowledge of the policy area
  • The appropriateness of the proposed research methods, output and timetable
  • Arrangements for managing the research
  • The proposed costs and distribution of resources

Awarding of Contracts

The assessment of tenders normally results in the selection of a preferred tender, although Transport Scotland is not bound to accept any tender. On occasion, some tenderers may be invited to make a presentation of their proposal to assist in the assessment and selection. A formal contract is then finalised between Transport Scotland and the successful tenderers. All tenderers are informed of the outcome of the tendering process in writing.