Specifications and assignment documents

What are specifications for a public contract?

A set of specifications is a document that the procurer prepares to describe the public contract and define the conditions that candidates or bidders must meet. The specifications are part of the contract documents along with the contract notice, any selection guide, bid forms and annexes.

The cutlery has several functions:

- It informs potential candidates or bidders about the nature, scope, objectives and expectations of the contract.
- It contains the rules and procedures that the procurer will follow in the placement and performance of the contract, such as the choice of placement procedure, selection and award criteria, deadlines, method of submission of bids, payment modalities, defenses, etc.
- It forms the basis for the contract between the procurer and the contractor, together with the general performance rules and the bid of the successful bidder.

As a public servant, how do you prepare good specifications?

Good specifications must be clear, complete, coherent and legally correct. It must also take into account the specific characteristics and needs of the contract and the procurer. Good specifications should respect the following principles:

- It must promote competition and not discriminate between candidates or bidders. Thus, it must not impose unnecessary or disproportionate requirements, give preference to certain brands or products, allow unjustified derogations from the law, etc.
- It must ensure transparency and provide all relevant information to candidates or tenderers. Thus, it must not contain unclear or contradictory provisions, withhold or conceal essential information, make changes without the necessary publicity, etc.
- It must seek the best value for money and ensure the optimal fulfillment of the tenderer's needs. Thus, it must carefully define the technical specifications and award criteria, correctly allocate risks and responsibilities, consider sustainability and innovation aspects, etc.

To prepare good specifications, the procurer can use various tools such as models, manuals, checklists, online platforms, etc. The procurer can also seek advice from specialized services or external experts.

Where can you find more information about public contract specifications?

For more information on the specifications for a public contract, please consult the following resources:

- Public procurement legislation, in particular the law of June 17, 2016 and the Royal Decrees of April 18, 2017.
- The website of the Federal Public Service Policy and Support, which offers, among other things, models, manuals, FAQs, etc.
- The website of Flanders Intern, which offers, among other things, a roadmap, a glossary, a toolbox, etc.

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