The contracting entity may request clarification from a supplier concerning a tender submitted by the supplier concerned. Any number of clarification requests can be sent, but only one clarification request can be assigned to a single tender at a time. The tender clarification is a three-step process. At step 1, a clarification request can be assigned to a tenderer in two different ways depending on whether the procurement object criteria have been set using the old or the new set of criteria (options a and b in the instructions). There are also differences in step 3. “Processing of a received clarification request” if the call for tenders was prepared using the old or the new set of criteria (options a and b in the instructions). The processor of the comparison can always accept or reject the clarified information provided by the tenderer, and versions will be created of the tenders in respect of the tenders so confirmed.


Step 1: Creating and sending a clarification request


Option a) Creating a clarification request using the new set of criteria

The creation of a clarification request is started in the comparison table edit view ‘Generate tender clarification request’ 

  • The system switches to the create clarification request view:

FIGURE: The ‘Generate tender clarification request’ functionality


Assigning a clarification request 

In the create clarification request view, fill out the following fields first: 

  • Cover letter 

    • Enter the cover letter related to the clarification request that will be shown to the tenderer. 

  • Additional recipients (non-mandatory field) 

    • If applicable, other recipients can also be defined for the clarification request. The clarification request is always automatically sent to the party who submitted the tender, whose address is shown under ‘Recipients’. 

  • Deadline 

    • Set a date and time for the clarification request 

  • Attachments 

    • Add an attachment that will be shown to the tenderer if applicable.


The figure depicts the ‘Preparing a clarification request’ view


Clarification request pertaining to criteria 

To mark the items or criteria to be clarified, activate the item concerned by clicking it, and in the text field that appears, enter a comment related to the clarification.NOTE! Opening the comment window is not alone sufficient, but a comment must be added to each item or criteria to be clarified, indicating in which respect clarification is needed for the item concerned. 

  • This needs to be done separately for each object or criterion in respect of which clarification is required.


Clarification request pertaining to tender attachments 

NOTE! A clarification request may not pertain to attachments downloaded by the tenderer under ‘Other attachments’. Only clarification requests that pertain to the criteria of the procurement object can be created. However, the tenderer may include a free-form cover note and file attachment in its clarification that will be shown to the contracting entity in the acceptance view.


Send clarification request 

Send the clarification request to the tenderer 

  • Click ‘Send request’

The figure depicts the ‘Preparing a clarification request’ view



Option b) Creating a clarification request using the old set of criteria


The creation of a clarification request is started from the ‘Received tenders’ tab by clicking ‘Send request to supplier for tender clarification’.
  • The system switches to the create clarification request view


In the create clarification request view, fill out the following fields first:

  • Cover letter
    • Enter the cover letter related to the clarification request that will be shown to the tenderer.
  • Clarification deadline
    • Select the date until which the tenderer will be able to respond to the clarification request. The clarification request will be open up until the end of the selected day (until 23:59).
  • Additional recipients (non-mandatory field)
    • If applicable, other recipients can also be defined for the clarification request. The clarification request is always automatically sent to the party who submitted the tender, whose address is shown under ‘Recipients’.
  • Attachments (not mandatory)
    • Add an attachment that will be shown to the tenderer if applicable.

To mark the items or criteria to be clarified, activate the item concerned by clicking it, and in the text field that appears, enter a comment related to the clarification.
  • This needs to be done separately for each item or criterion in respect of which clarification is required.

NOTE! Opening the comment window is not alone sufficient, but a comment must be added to each item or criteria to be clarified, indicating in which respects clarification is needed for the item concerned.


NOTE! A clarification request may not pertain to attachments downloaded by the tenderer under ‘Other attachments’. Only clarification requests that pertain to the suitability requirements and the criteria of the procurement object can be created. However, the tenderer may include a free-form cover note and file attachment in its clarification that will be shown to the contracting entity in the acceptance view.

When the clarification request has been prepared, click ‘Save and close’ or ‘Save and send’ to exit the view.

  • If you click ‘Save and close’, the clarification request will not be sent to the tenderer yet, but instead you may still return to edit it.
  • If you click ‘Save and send’, the clarification request will be sent to the tenderer immediately, and the contracting entity will no longer be able to edit the comparison until all the received clarifications have been processed.

NOTE! The comparison table cannot be edited as long as there are unprocessed clarifications in the call for tenders.

Step 2: Clarifying the tender on the Supplier Portal (tenderer’s actions)

The tenderer will receive an e-mail about the clarification request that includes a cover note, clarification deadline and link to the Supplier Portal. The link will only remain active until the deadline given for the clarification.

In the Supplier Portal, the tenderer may clarify its tender in respect of the suitability requirements and details of the procurement object as defined by the contracting entity when the clarification request was prepared. The other fields of the tender will be locked. However, the tenderer may add a free-form cover note and file attachment to its clarification. These will be shown to the contracting entity in the clarification acceptance view.

When the tenderer has clarified the details of the tender as specified by the contracting entity, the clarified tender must yet be submitted from the ‘Submission of tender’ page.

Step 3: Processing a received clarification in Cloudia Tendering

When the tenderer has submitted a clarified tender, the individual who made the clarification request receives a notification by e-mail.



Option a) Processing a received clarification using the new set of criteria 


Click ‘Open received tender clarification’ in the comparison table edit view to initiate the processing of the received clarification.

  • The system switches to the clarification processing view


FIGURE: The ‘Open received tender clarification’ functionality



The view lists the following items provided by the tenderer: 

  • Cover letter 

  • Attachments 

  • Object or line-specific new values


The individual who processes the clarification checks the information provided by the tenderer in its clarification for each item or criterion in respect of which clarification was requested. It is important to complete the processing of the submitted clarification, as otherwise the details clarified by the tenderer will not be saved on the tender and shown in the comparison. 

  • To accept the clarification, click the box next to the clarified item or criterion. 

  • When the clarification selections have been saved, the new information is saved in the tender submitted by the tenderer. When all the clarifications provided by the tenderer have been processed in the same way, the contracting entity will be able to also access the comparison table. 

NOTE! In the view that appears, the individual who processes the clarification accepts or rejects the clarifications proposed by the tenderer. The selection must be made separately for each clarified detail. It is not sufficient to just click the ‘Save clarification selections’ button in order to accept the information provided in the clarification.


FIGURE: Example of the clarification acceptance view


Option b) Processing a received clarification using the old set of criteria 


In Cloudia Sourcing, the received clarification is shown under the tenderer on the ‘Received tenders’ tab, i.e. in the same place where the clarification request was sent. The contracting entity must accept and save the clarifications made by the tenderer to have the information updated to the tender and shown in the comparison.

Click ‘Open received tender clarification’ to initiate the processing of the received clarification.
  • A view similar to the comparison table is displayed, showing the details of the original tender and the details provided by the tenderer in its clarification side-by-side.

 

The individual who processes the clarification checks the information provided by the tenderer in its clarification for each item or criterion in respect of which clarification was requested. It is important to complete the processing of the submitted clarification, as otherwise the details clarified by the tenderer will not be saved on the tender and shown in the comparison.

  • To accept the clarification, click the box next to the clarified item or criterion.

NOTE! In the view that appears, the individual who processes the clarification accepts or rejects the clarifications proposed by the tenderer. The selection must be made separately for each clarified detail. It is not sufficient to just click the ‘Save clarification selections’ button in order to accept the information provided in the clarification


When the clarification selections have been saved, the new information is saved in the tender submitted by the tenderer. When all the clarifications provided by the tenderer have been processed in the same way, the contracting entity will be able to also access the comparison table.



Previous clarified tenders

If several clarification requests have been sent to the same tenderer, to which the tenderer has responded with a clarified tender, these can be found listed in chronological order by selecting ‘Previous clarified tenders’.




Clarifications tab

You may view the clarifications in the system on the Clarifications tab. You may sort the clarifications by their status.

  • In progress: The tab lists clarification requests the preparation of which has been started but which have not yet been sent to the tenderer.
  • Active: The tab lists clarification requests that have been sent to the tenderer but in response to which the tenderer has not yet submitted a clarified tender.
  • Pending: The tab lists clarification requests in response to which the tenderer has submitted a clarified tender but which have not yet been processed by the contracting entity.
  • Processed: The tab lists clarification requests in response to which the tenderer has submitted a clarified tender and which have been processed by the contracting entity.
  • Not clarified: The tab lists clarification requests in response to which the tenderer has failed to submit a clarified tender within the given deadline.

Each tab shows, depending on the case, the original tender, the clarified tender, the cover letter prepared by the contracting entity, and the date and time when the clarification was sent. From the tab, you can also download a zipped package containing all the documents related to the original or clarified tender.