There are new Q&As from 7 January 2021 to the tender The SUPPORTING ALBANIAN NEGOTIATIONS IN ENVIRONMENT, CHAPTER 27 (SANE27) - PHASE 2, Ref. No. UM2020/39339 to be found below:
Gender support NV SANE 27 June 18, 2018.docxNAD_Table_PF_Final_01.11.2019.docx
Operational procedures of the IIWGChapter 27.docx
Planning Document Assessment_Acquis-Final.docx
Questions & Answers:
Q1: We note that the deadline to submit a tender is 2021-01-25 and the deadline for questions is the 2020-12-22, while the answers to questions will be published no later than 6 days before the closing date. Considering such short time for both submission of questions and submission of the tender, and the holiday period between late December and early January, it would be very much appreciated if you could consider extending both these deadlines as this would allow us to prepare a much better proposal.
A1: The minimum time for receiving tenders are 30 days. We have for this procurement allowed for 46 days considering the holiday season ( 9 December to 25 January). The embassy will try to answer/publish answers as soon as possible after receiving questions.
Q2: In order to describe how we intend to capitalize on the progress made and consolidate the knowledge built during the first phase of SANE27 we kindly ask you to provide us with key background information, such as the project document and/or relevant reports, strategies, action fiches, evaluations of the first phase etc.
A2: In the ToR there is background information provided, in particular on pages 19 to 21 and Annex 1. What we can provide additionally are the following;
Q3: The TOR indicates that the tender shall describe amongst other things the Method for implementing the assignment, Project organization, Work plan and timeline and Qualifications and competence; would you prefer us using any specific formats and any limits to the number of pages submitted? To this end it would be appreciated if you could consider providing us with instructions/formats regarding number of pages, font and size, CV and statement of exclusivity and availability as well as personal reference formats.
A3: We have no specific formats or instructions for the issues mentioned or limits in terms of number of pages (although an excessive number of pages should be avoided). The program is still on-going and, as explained in the ToRs, during the inception phase all the documents will be provided and the work-plan revised if needed. It means that the information regarding the status of Chapter 27 will be updated during the inception phase.
Q4: It is mentioned that responses to questions will be posted on the Embassy’s website, can you please indicate more precisely where on the website we might find those answers.
A4: Q&A will be posted here: https://www.swedenabroad.se/en/embassies/albania-tirana/current/news/new-tenders--questions--answers/
Q5: As the tender has been released just before the Christmas holiday, we would like to request that the tender deadline be extended. Would that be possible?
A5: The minimum time for receiving tenders are 30 days. We have for this procurement allowed for 46 days considering the holiday season ( 9 December to 25 January).
Q6: Regarding the Team Leader requirement: “More than 5 years of professional experience in coordinating EU accession process in environmental sector in national administration (as a civil servant) in EU Member States or a current candidate country for EU membership.” - Our assessment is that it is the professional experience that is important with this requirement and we therefore have a question whether it has to be gained from working as a civil servant? The requirement also limits the nationality of the Team Leader to only a few countries and creates unfair advantage. There could be other arrangements, such as work experience gained in frame of long-term secondments to the authorities responsible for legal transposition, approximation and EU accession process (for instance Legal Departments, EU Integration Offices, EU Integration Units of the Ministries and/or central agencies) etc., where an equivalent to the civil servant experience has been gained which also could have been held by other nationalities. Could you confirm if such equivalent experience also fulfils the requirement?
A6: The ToR have been developed together with Albanian partners based on their needs and requirements. The civil servant experience has been considered important because the assignment requires a very good understanding of the functioning of a public administration, thus long-term secondment to authorities responsible for legal transposition/EU approximation would be considered equivalent to civil servant positions and thus valid.
Q7: Regarding the Team Leader requirement: “Proven experience as a team leader in managing program(s)/project(s) related to supporting the EU negotiation process/EU approximation process in environment and climate change” – Is it correct to assume that to have proven experience the expert would have to successfully completed a Team Leader assignment, proven by an approved Final Report?
A7: No the proven experience could also be from an ongoing project. Only the period implemented at the date of submission of the tender will be evaluated.
Q8: There seems to be the wrong file attached or wrong file name in tender dossier for the Draft Contract “Appendix 2 Contract Source Separation 2021-23.docx”. The Draft contract does not include the extension option mentioned in the ITT.
A8: Yes, the contract should have an option for a possible extension.
Q9: The ITT 5.4.2 requests that “The tenderer would be requested to send the Program Manager and the Deputy Program Manager.” Is this correct or should it read that the tenderer should send the Team Leader and Deputy Team Leader to the interview?
A9: It should be the Team Leader and Deputy Team Leader who should be interviewed (if the evaluation committee decides to carry out interviews).
Q10: Invitation to Tender, 3.3. Qualification of tenderers, request Evidence that the tenderer and any subcontractors on which the tenderer relies, or consortium parties are not to be excluded according to Chapter 13, Section 1 of the LOU (i.e., section “A: Grounds relating to criminal convictions” in this procurement document) (…): Does the requirement refer to the responsible person in the company too (i.e., CEO)?
A10: Yes, for crimes key people are also included, please see appendix 5 – Declaration of honour:
Q11: Referring to the question above- if yes, is the Declaration of honour considered to be the evidence?
A11: Yes, that is considered valid evidence. We refer to invitation to tender 3.3, item 1.
Q12: Are bidders submitting Key financial ratios only for the lead company or for each member of the consortium?
A12: We refer to appendix 4 – Self declaration 3.1 and 3.2 on what is needed for sub-contractors and consortia. In regards to 2.2 Economic and financial standing there is nothing needed from the sub-contractors and consortia – the consortia as whole shall meet the requirement.
Questions 13 and 14 refer to a longer document with a lot of statements and comments (attached here). Most of the issues addressed don’t seem to be triggered by a need to clarify the technical requirements of the tender dossier and therefore only the two main points have been considered relevant and answered. Question 13: The Terms of Reference are developed in a way that gives unjustified advantage to some potential tenderers.
A13: The Terms of Reference provide a comprehensive summary of the activities implemented in phase 1. In our earlier answer to question no 2 we have provided three additional documents with relevant information. For additional and updated information about the SANE27 program we refer to the project website developed during phase 1 https://sane27.com as mentioned in the ToRs, page 21, footnote n. 5.
Q14: Qualification requirements does not correspond to tasks from the ToRs, some requirements are lowered and another unnecessary stricter, possibly to favour particular CVs.
Q15: In point 1.6 of the Invitation to tender it is envisaged that “During the contract period the estimated volume is approximately 28 400 000 SEK, excl. VAT, (approximately 2 570 000€)”. On the other hand Point 1.1 of the Invitation to tender foresees that the program has a planned implementation period of 30 months and a maximum budget of 18 400 000 SEK (approximately 1 670.000€). Could you please clarify which is the limit fund for bidding purposes? Thank you.
A15: The difference refers to the possible option of an additional 18 months. If there is amendment for additional 18 months then the 28.4 MSEK is the foreseen new budget.
Q16: Can the tender be submitted by a consortium composed by international and domestic companies and/or experts? Is there a country which is excluded from participating in the tender?
A16: Yes, the tender can be a consortium. No country is excluded from participating.
Q17: Will the consortium need to be established and registered in Albania during the implementation of the contract or will it be sufficient that the local entity part of the consortium is registered for tax purposes in the Country.
A17: The consortium does not have to be registered in Albania.
Q18: In case of discrepancies, or differences, between the Terms of References and Instructions to Tenderers, which of the documents shall apply?
A18: In case of discrepancies/differences the Instructions to tenders shall apply.
Q19: According to the ITT the tender shall be valid until 2021-11-30, i.e. almost 11 months after submission deadline. At the same time the tenderer is requested to submit Statements of Exclusivity and Availability for the two Key Experts. Highly competent candidates may find difficult to express availability during such a long time. At the same time, Section 1.1. indicates that while the decision on financing of the above program has been made, theprocurement cannot be finalized until the grant agreement has been signed. Would it be possible to be flexible regarding the requirement on availability under the mentioned extremely long period and non-signed grant agreement, alternatively extend the tender deadline to ensure that the start-date of the programme is more secure?
A19: We agree that this could be an issue and accept that The Statements of Exclusivity and Availability for the two Key Experts shall be valid until 2021-09-30.
Q20: ITT section 5.4.2 Qualification based on interview, indicates that the tenderer would be requested to send the Program Manager and the Deputy Program Manager for the mentioned interview.
Please confirm whether the mentioned managers are the same as Team Leader respectively Deputy Team Leader, mentioned otherwise in the ITT.
A20: It is correct, the Team Leader respectively Deputy Team Leader could be requested for an interview.
Q21: Section 6.2 in the TOR describes the Management Structure of the program, including the Program Board (PB) and the Program Implementation Unit (PIU), to be led by MTE and composed by one representative from MTE, the Program team leader and by one representative from the Consultant. Please clarify if the above-mentioned Program Team Leader is the same person as the Program Manager to be identified in the contract, or the Consultant’s Program Team Leader and also clarify about the representative from the Consultant (does it refers to the project-/ home-office coordinator, or any other representative from the Consultant).
A21: Yes it is the Program Team Leader, contracted by the Consultant, who will be part of the PIU. The other representative from the Consultant in the PIU should preferably be the Program Manager from the home office.
Q22: The TOR section 6.2 also indicates that the PIU will be responsible for the recruitment of the local experts and for the implementation of the daily activities of the program. At the same time, the ITT 8.1.2 indicates that the selection of the experts shall be done by the PIU. Sida programming officer in the Swedish Embassy in Tirana will have right to object the selection if deem so. Please clarify whether the PIU refers to the Consultant only, regarding identifying, pre-selecting and recruiting local experts and should all recruitment be subject to Embassy approval?
A22: The PIU refers to what is stated in ToR 6.2 and A21 above. The Embassy has the right to be informed about and object to the selection, but a specific approval is not needed as a general rule.
Q23: The ITT Section 3.3 indicates "Documentation issued by a competent government authority attesting to compliance with respect to the payment of taxes and social security contributions in the home country of the tenderer and of any subcontractors on which the tenderer relies or consortium parties. If these forms of evidence cannot be provided, the tenderer may submit a declaration of honour “before an authorised body, or a similar declaration”. Examples of such declarations are available in Appendix 5, “Declarations of honour”.” In case of forms of evidence cannot be provided by a competent government authority, and a declaration of honour (appendix 5) is to submitted, signed by an “authorized body”. What entity/body would that be?
A23: The Declaration of honour is to be signed by the tenderer and there by someone with a mandate to sign, I e it is not from someone external to the tenderer.
Q24: TOR Section 4.4.2 Inception phase. Among the tasks in the inception phase is the starting of the selection process for recruiting the supporting staff. Section 8.1.3 indicates that backstopping and support staff costs must be included in the budget. Please clarify what kind of supporting staff is expected and type of budget, i.e. should support staff be budgeted as experts/fees or as reimbursable cost?
A24: The office costs/supporting staff are not included in the reimbursable costs but should be part of the fee (the list of the incidental expenditures is in par. 8.6).
Q25: The TOR 8.1.3 Support staff & backstopping (page 31) indicates that “Administrative, backstopping and support staff is defined in the budget” (third paragraph in the section). We assume that this should be interpreted that administrative, backstopping and support staff “SHOULD BE DEFINED” in the budget, and not “IS DEFINED” in the budget. Is this assumption correct? Or is there a budget format (we cannot find it in the ITT nor in the TOR)?
A25: It is correct, these staff should be defined.
Q26: Invoicing and payment. According to Section 4 in the Draft Contract, the Supplier shall invoice the embassy quarterly in arrears. Furthermore, the embassy pays the invoice within 30 days of the invoice date and after approved performance/delivery. This means a period of at least four months between payments. Could an advance payment be considered at the start of the assignment?
A26: Yes, although it is not stated as such in the draft contract an advance payment could be considered.
Q27: According to the ITT, the procurement is carried out in accordance with the Swedish Public Procurement Act (2016:1145), also known as LOU. At the same time, according to TOR Section 8.6, the per diem is a flat-rate maximum sum covering daily subsistence costs (following EU-per-diem-rates), which is not in line with LOU, as per Section 1.1 which states that procurement is carried out through an open procedure, in accordance with the Swedish Public Procurement Act (2016:1145), also known as LOU. Moreover, the ITT Section 2.9. Contract terms and conditions, indicates that “The tenderer shall accept the attached contract draft, including appendices (including the standard conditions and the terms of reference)”. While the draft contract does not refer to any “Standard Conditions” but to “Sida’s General Conditions for Framework Agreements and Contracts”, we assume that the General Conditions are what the Embassy refers to when writing “Standard Conditions”. However, the Standard/General conditions (Appendix 3 to the ITT) have a different application regarding per diem and other expenses (e.g., accommodation, transport, etc.) than the EU per diem rules with flat rate covering daily subsistence costs. Please clarify which conditions shall apply -EU-flat-rate or Sida general conditions.
A27: The EU flat rate for per diem shall be applied.
Q28: Please also clarify if there are other deviations from LOU or Sida General Conditions, specific for this tender, to be taken into consideration.
A28: There are to our knowledge no other deviations.
Q29: Would it be possible to extend the deadline for questions until two weeks before the deadline for tender submission?
A29: We accept to extend the deadline for questions for clarification until 2021-01-07 at 12.00hrs.
Q30: We have noticed that company references are not mentioned in the ITT. Section 4.8. only mention Personal References. Please confirm that company references are not required.
A30: We confirm that company references are not required.
Q31: Regarding the mentioned ITT Section 4.8. Personal references, it states: “The tenderer shall submit in its tender at least one reference assignments within environment and climate change for each of the proposed team members. The person must have completed the reference assignment within no more than three years (calculated from the closing date). Reference to on-going assignments can be also submitted and, in that case, only the period implemented at the date of submission of the tender will be evaluated.” Since the request is “at least one reference”, please clarify whether the evaluation, and scoring, of the candidates for the two key positions will also consider the number of references, in the case a candidate is able to present more than one reference.
A31: Section 4.8 of the ITT refers to minimum criteria which must be fulfilled by the tenderer. Either the tenderer fulfills it or not. The scoring of tenders is done in accordance with section 5 “Evaluation criteria” of the ITT.
Q32: From the ToR’s we understand that all costs related to support staff and backstopping support (ToR’s Section 8.1.3) plus office accommodation (ToR’s Section 8.2) and all items under Facilities provided by the Consultant (ToR’s Section 8.3) should be baked into the Fees of the Experts, that is: TL, DTL SIEs, SNEs and JEs. Is that Correct?
A32: This is correct.
Q33: If the above is correct then Support staff and Backstopping should not be defined in the budget but rather in the organization and methodology. Is that correct?
A33: This is correct.
Q34: Hence the budget to be presented in the tender will ONLY include:
In the ITT page 15, Section 6.1 Fees and Costs it states that the ‘total costs shall be specified in the tender (fees and reimbursable expenses)’. Furthermore it states that ‘Recoverable expenses should be specified separately’. Our understanding of the ToRs is that the only reimbursable/recoverable expenses will be those stemming from the Incidental expenditure budget and all other reimbursable/recoverable costs will be included as part of the fees. Therefore, no recoverable/reimbursable costs need to be specified in the Financial Proposal as such. Please confirm or clarify. The incidental/recoverable expenditures which preferably should be indicated in the tenderer’s financial proposal are stated in ToR § 8.6.
A34: See above, Q34 points 1-3 and the following section.
Q35: Is the Tender Price (Budget) to be submitted as an Annex to the Technical Tender (i.e. in the same file), or as a different file in the same message, or in a separate message? Please clarify.
A35: The tender price should be submitted in a separate file in the same message.
THREE NEW DOCUMENTS HAVE BEEN ATTACHED IN ORDER TO IMPROVE THE TENDERERS’ UNDERSTANDING OF ACTIVITES AND RESULTS OF SANE27 PHASE 1.