Before beginning the evaluation of offers (bids/proposals) received, an evaluation panel should be formed and approved. Ideally, procurement practitioners should advise, oversee the evaluation process and assist with the drafting of the evaluation report, but they should not be members of the evaluation panel. Procurement practitioners cannot be expected to be technical experts on all requirements, but to have an in-depth knowledge of the procurement aspect of the requirement; additionally, it is healthy to practice separation of functions in order to prevent any one entity or individual from exercising control over the entire procurement process.
Membership of the evaluation panel should be determined based on the qualifications of each prospective member. Evaluation panel members should preferably have knowledge and related experience, and at least one member should have participated in the drafting of the terms of reference or technical specifications and/or other technical documents required for inclusion in the solicitation documents. The number of evaluation panel members should be at least three, excluding any observers and technical experts invited as advisors on the technical aspects of the requirement.
Conflict of interest is a serious concern that must be considered before beginning the evaluation process. All prospective members of the evaluation panel should sign a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement wherein they are expected to declare absence of any family or business ties with firms and/or individuals to be evaluated. Additionally, after the names of the firms and/or individuals to be evaluated are made known to the evaluators, all panel members are expected to declare any potential or actual conflict of interest that may exists due to any past or present relationship that they may have or may have had with any of the firms and/or individuals to be evaluated, that may impede their ability to impartially evaluate any of the offers received.
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