Punjab Procurement Regulatory Rules 2009, presently enforced in Punjab, have some deficiencies which create bottlenecks in the way to procuring required products/services with required quality standard. Some of these bottlenecks may be removed by devising such evaluation criterion in which quality oriented segments of technical specifications may be assigned more weight-age than the segments which are not quality oriented. But this way of removing such bottlenecks may fail in cases of expertise which may not be properly quantified by the procuring agency through any evaluation criteria e.g. expertise of an individual lawyer, architect, singer, musician, artist, scholar or doctor. Moreover, this way of removing such bottlenecks may also fail in cases where procurement of required quality may not be ensured on the basis of 'Least Cost Bid'. Keeping in view these bottlenecks presented by prevailing Punjab Procurement Rules 2009, following Consultancy Services Rules are proposed to be adopted. These proposed rules are continuation of PPR Rules 2009 which end up at rule 59.
60. (1) This chapter of Punjab Procurement Rules 2009 will be applied to procurement of consulting services as defined in this chapter.
(2). Rule 2 (h) will not be compulsorily applicable to this chapter of Punjab Procurement Rules 2009.
61. Definitions:- In this chapter:
(a) “Chapter” means Punjab Procurement Rules 2009 applicable to Procurement of Consulting Services;
(b) “Consulting Services” mean consulting services involving technical/professional expertise which may be or may not be intellectual or advisory in their nature and will include any of the following types:
i) Advisory or review;
ii) Pre-investment or feasibility study;
iii) Construction supervision;
iv) Management and related services;
vi) Artistic; or
c) “QCBS” means Quality and Cost Based Selection Method in which weight-age is given to both quality and cost as per specified formula;
d) “Least Cost Selection Method” means a method based on “lowest evaluated bid” as defined in rule 2(h);
e) “Single Source Selection Method” means a method through which consultancy services are procured without adopting competitive selection method or any other method of procurement described in PPR Rules 2009;
f) “Competitive Selection Method” means a method based on QCBS or Least Cost Selection Method;
g) “Special Counsel” means a counsel hired to defend a procuring agency in a court of law;
h) “Procuring Agency” means an agency authorizing the expenditures to be incurred on procurement of consulting services.
62. Any expression not defined in this chapter will carry the same meanings as expressed in Punjab Procurement Rules 2009 and Punjab Regulatory Authority Act 2009.
63. Conflicting Rules: In case rules contained in this chapter are conflicting to other rules contained in Punjab Procurement Rules 2009, the rules contained in this chapter will override such conflicting rules contained in Punjab Procurement Rules 2009.
64. Supplementary provisions: Any activity relating to procurement of consulting services and mentioned but not explained in this chapter will be governed as per explanation contained in the relevant PPR Rules 2009, provided such PPR Rules are not conflicting to the Rules contained in this chapter.
64. Selection Methods: Subject to rule 65, all types of consulting services mentioned in rule 61 (b) may be procured through adopting any one of the following selection methods:
a) Least Cost Selection Method;
b) Single Source Selection Method; or
c) QCBS Method
65. Single source selection method: Single Source Selection Method may be applied to procure an individual’s consulting services in the following cases:
i. for a task that is a continuation of previous work that the consultant has carried out and for which the consultant was selected competitively;
ii. in an emergency situation resulting from a natural disaster;
iii. in urgency as stated in rule 42 (d)iii;
iv. when the expertise required may not be properly quantified through an evaluation criteria (e.g. expertise of an individual special counsel), an individual equipped with required expertise with required standard may be selected through interview.
66. Quality and Cost Based Selection Method: Subject to rule 65, Quality and Cost Based Selection Method will be applied in only such procurements in which quality is a prime consideration but required quality procurement may not be ensured through “Least Cost Selection Method”.
67. Least Cost Selection Method: Save as otherwise provided in this chapter, Least Cost Selection Method through open competitive bidding will be the principal selection method for procurement of consulting services.
68. Competitive Bidding: Subject to rule 69, Quality and Cost Based Selection Method and Least Cost Selection Method will be adopted through competitive bidding as defined in rule 2 (c).
69. Exemption:- The Procuring agency may give first right of refusal to a public sector service provider organization participating in the competitive bidding process, provided such public sector organization is technically qualified.
70. General Considerations for Executing Agencies: The procuring agency is responsible for selection of consultants, and awarding, and subsequently administering, the contract. While undertaking the process of procuring consulting services, the procuring agency will take into account following considerations:
1. The need for high-quality services;
2. The need for economy and efficiency;
3. The value for money;
4. The need for transparency and fairness; and
5. The need to encourage and develop national consultancy resources, keeping with afore-mentioned considerations.
71. Rights and Obligations of the Client and the Consultant. The rights and obligations of the procuring agency and the consultant will be governed by the provisions contained in the bidding documents, and General and Special conditions of contract between the procuring agency and the consultant.
72. Consultant Selection Committee (CSC). Every procuring agency, for the selection of consultants, shall set up a CSC consisting of odd number as detailed below:
(1) Head of the procuring agency as defined in sec. 2 (l) will be the chairman;
(a) One nominee of the P&D Department;
(b) One nominee of the Finance Department;
(c) A representative of the Procuring Agency to act as member/secretary;
(d) At least one member from civil society having the technical/professional background in the relevant field;
(e) Co-opted Member(s)- the CSC, with approval of its Chairperson, may co-opt two non-official members, having adequate technical knowledge and experience in the relevant field, for assistance in a given assignment that requires technical input.
73. Quorum. Four members, including the CSC Chairman, representatives of the Finance Department and P&D Department, and at least one private member, shall form the quorum for conducting the business of the CSC.
74. Decision by Simple Majority. All decision of the CSC shall be made by simple majority.
75. Functions and Responsibilities of CSC. The CSC shall perform the following functions:
(1) Preparation and publication of EOI; preparation of qualification and evaluation criteria to evaluate EOIs received; short listing of respondents to EOIs; preparation of Request for Proposal; preparation of TORs including required technical specifications and financial conditions; preparation of evaluation criteria to evaluate responses to RFP;
(2) Finalization of recommendation for selection of consultants, based on evaluation criteria.
76. Expression of interest (EOI) –
(1) A request for EOI shall be advertised in accordance with the provisions of Rule 12 and Rule 13.
(2) The EOI shall contain at least the following information:-
(a) The name and address of procuring agency;
(b) An appropriate description of the assignment providing scope of the services required;
(c) Deadline and place of the submission of the EOIs;
(d) Conditions about technical and financial competence of the prospective bidder;
(e) Any other condition(s) required by the procuring agency;
(f) The evaluation criteria for short listing or prequalification (if applicable) may be provided separately;
(g) Any other information that the prospective respondent to EOI may require in order to submit his response to the EOI.
77. Request for proposals (RFP)-
(1) The procuring agency shall issue RFP for seeking proposals from the prospective bidders, or shortlisted Consultants, as the case may be, which shall include the following documents:-
(a) Invitation to bid – The LOI shall mention the name and address of the procuring agency and shall also state the intention of the procuring agency to enter into a contract for provision of consulting services and contain names of all the short listed firms.
(b) Instruction to Consultants – The instructions to Consultants shall contain all necessary information that would help them prepare responsive proposals and shall bring as much transparency as possible to the selection system.
(c) Terms of reference (TOR) – TOR shall unambiguously state the objectives, goals and scope of the assignment; general and specific conditions of contract; delivery mode, schedule and place; qualifications and technical specifications; financial conditions (if any); bid evaluation criteria; performance criteria. TOR shall list the services and surveys necessary to carry out the assignment and standard of required output. TORs will clearly state responsibilities to be performed both by the consultant and by the procuring agency.
(d) Submission of bids:. In case of open competitive bidding, the procuring agency shall specify the manner and method of submission and receipt of bids according to rule 36.
(e) Special provisions- The procuring agency will reserve the right to modify TORs, if required, after they are issued provided such modification is made known timely to all the short-listed or pre-qualified bidders.
78. Award of Contract: The successful bidder as per selection criteria adopted and relevant terms and conditions contained in the bidding documents will be awarded the consulting service contract within period of bid validity.
79. Cost of consulting services: In terms of cost, the consulting services are divided into following categories:
a) Short consultancies. Short-term consultancies are consultancies with a value under Rs. 1.0 million for Individual Consultants and Rs. 5.0 million for consulting firms. The maximum period for short consultancy services will be six months. The hired individual/firm will be bound to make delivery within specified period; the hired individual/firm will not be paid for extended period he/firm will require to make required delivery.
b) Medium to Large Consultancies. Medium to Large Consultancies are consultancies with a value of Rs. 2.0 million or more for Individual Consultants and Rs. 5.0 million or more for Consulting Firms.
80. Bar on hiring in case of Conflict of Interest. A consultant/ consulting firm shall not be hired under the circumstances stated below:
(1) Conflict of interest between consulting activities and procurement of goods, works or services (other than consulting services covered by these rules) –Any firm hired to provide consulting services for the preparation or implementation of a project, and each of its affiliates, shall be disqualified from subsequently providing goods, works or services (other than consulting services under the original assignment ) related to the project, resulting from or directly related to the firm’s consulting services for such preparation or implementation of the project. Alternatively, any firm engaged by the procuring agency to provide goods, works or services (other than consulting services) related to the project, and each of its affiliates, shall be disqualified from providing consulting services related to those goods, works or services to be procured.
(2) Conflict among consulting assignments. Neither consultants (including their personnel and sub-consultants) nor any of their affiliates shall be hired for any assignment that, by its nature, may be in conflict with another assignment of the consultants.
(3) Relationship with the procuring agency’s staff. Consultants (including their personnel and sub-consultants) that have a business or family relationship with a member of the procuring agency’s staff who are directly or indirectly involved in any part of:
(a) The preparation of the TOR of the contact,
(c) Supervision of such contract;
may not be awarded a contract, unless the conflict stemming from this relationship has been resolved in a manner acceptable to the Procuring agency.
81. Hiring of Government Officials and Academics. Government officials, civil servants and academics may be hired under consulting services contracts only if:
(1) They are on leave of absence without pay;
(2) They are not being hired by the agency they were working for, six months prior to going on leave; and
(3) Their employment would not give rise to any conflict of interest.
82. Equal Access to Information. The procurement agency shall make available to all the short-listed consultants, together with the request for proposals and subsequently, all information on an equal opportunity basis.
83. Declaration of Ineligibility. The procuring agency may declare a consulting firm or individual consultant ineligible, either indefinitely or for a stated period of time, if it has, directly or through an agent, engaged in corrupt, fraudulent, collusive, coercive, or obstructive practices, as defined under Rule 2(p), while competing for, or executing a contract or commits breach of contract.
Such an action to bar a consultant or consulting firm, shall be duly publicized by the procuring agency and this information will be placed on PPRA web-site as well.
84. Criteria for short-listing of Consultants –
(1) Whenever short-listing is deemed necessary, the procuring agency shall predetermine criteria for short listing. The short list will normally contain a minimum three consultants. However, if less than three candidates apply; their proposals may be considered on merit.
(2) The procuring agency while engaged in short listing of Consultants will take into consideration the following factors, namely:-
(ii) Experience; and
(iii) Any other factor that a procuring agency may deem relevant, not inconsistent with Public Procurement Rules, 2009.
85. Criteria for Evaluation of Quality of Service Provider:.
(1) Evaluation of the Consultants. Evaluation criteria shall include, but not be limited, to the following:
(a) Experience: The consultants’ experience of working on the similar assignment;
(b) Qualification: Qualification of service provider will be assessed to ascertain its appropriateness;
(c) Financial Capability: Financial capability of the service provider will be assessed.
(d) Understanding of the assignment: The methodology proposed by the service provider shall be evaluated to assess its innovativeness and soundness.
(f) Quality Management (QM): The availability of a well-established QM system may be taken into account for large and complex assignments.
86. Intellectual Property Rights.
(1) All documents, reports, designs, research works and all deliverables prepared by the consultant shall become and remain the property of the procuring agency.
(2) Any restrictions on the future use of all deliverables should be specified in the conditions of the contract.