Colloquial language in bid documentation – verdict of the National Appeal Chamber

Natalia Gaweł, attorney, acting for a Client of Andersen in Katowice, has won a favourable verdict of the National Appeal Chamber (Case Ref. No KIO 985/19) concerning the method of assessment of documents in public procurement procedures.

The NAC resolution confirms that the contracting authority cannot assess a bid by way of its rigid comparison with the wording of the Terms of Reference. The fact of a bid containing numerous colloquial, rather than statutory, expressions, cannot disqualify it.

The NAC agreed completely with the appellant’s argumentation, confirming that it is unacceptable to deny a contractor points due to the use of non-statutory expressions in the wording of the document under assessment. This applies to situations where the semantics of a term used in the document (e.g. “disposal of waste”) corresponds to the semantics of the term used in the Terms of Reference (“collection and transport of waste”).

In case of doubt as to the scope of the document, the contracting authority should request the contractor to provide clarification which the employer should subsequently take into account when awarding points for the bid. The contractor may submit additional materials to support the explanation. However, they cannot amend or supplement the contents of the original document.