What is an award decision for a public contract?

An award decision is a document in which the contracting authority announces the choice of supplier for a public contract. In the context of public procurement, an award decision is a mandatory and reasoned decision that is part of the procedure to conclude a contract between the contracting authority and the supplier.

The contracting authority is the public body that awards a contract for a particular need, for example, the construction of a school, the supply of furniture or the performance of a study. The contracting authority must announce the contract through a publication in the Bulletin of Procurements or on a European website, depending on the value and nature of the contract. The publication contains the conditions and criteria that bids must meet, as well as the deadline and method of submission.

A company interested in the contract can submit a tender to the contracting authority. A tender is a document in which the company provides a price proposal for the performance of the contract, as well as technical specifications, quality assurance and references. A tender must be submitted within the stipulated deadline and in the prescribed manner, for example through an electronic platform or by registered mail.

The contracting authority will evaluate the bids based on the predetermined criteria, which may be price, quality, sustainability, innovation or service. The contracting authority will choose the best bid and prepare an award decision. An award decision must include the following elements:

  • The identification of the assignment and the client
  • The identification of the chosen supplier and the justification for the choice
  • The identification of the other bidders and the reasons for their rejection
  • The indication of the possibility of appeal and the deadline for it

An award decision must be communicated to all bidders, both the successful supplier and unsuccessful bidders. An award decision does not create a contractual obligation. That only arises at the conclusion of the contract, after the expiration of the appeal period or after the resolution of any appeal.

Thus, an award decision is an essential document for both the contracting authority and the participating companies. An award decision indicates who won the contract and why. An award decision can also give rise to an appeal to the Council of State or the Court of First Instance if a bidder believes that the contracting authority made a mistake or violated the law.

Want to know more?
Ask your question