Editor’s Note, September 21: This story was updated to include an extension to the deadline
The deadline for proposals for EuropeAid’s Framework Contract 2018 has been extended for a second time to October 6.
The tender — which invites proposals for the implementation of external aid — was published on July 7, over two months later than expected, leaving potential suppliers scrambling to pull together proposals over the summer period in time for an original deadline of September 8. However, this deadline was later extended to September 29, and then again to October 6.
Known as SIEA 2018 (Services for Implementation of External Aid), successful applicants will act as preferred suppliers for the European Union’s external aid projects over the next two years (renewable for a further two), enabling the EU to hire experts from its pool of pre-screened organizations at short notice.
As Devex forecast in March, the tender includes several big shifts from previous framework contracts — as well as some surprises.
The tender for EuropeAid's new framework contract — published more than two months later than expected — contains some key changes. Devex runs through what was expected — and what wasn't. Explore the EuropeAid's new framework contract through our Tableau data visualization.
It confirms that the tendering process will be an open procedure, meaning that any business can submit a proposal — whereas in previous rounds this has been restricted to shortlisted candidates.
The total budget for the four years is 650 million euros, an increase of roughly half on the budget of the last framework contract in 2013, while the cap of 300,000 euros on the value of each contract has been more than tripled.
The tender also includes additional “lots,” or thematic areas within which suppliers can bid.
SIEA 2018 covers the provision of technical support and expertise to the European Commission and its partner countries or organizations along the entire cycle of a development project: from design and implementation to the evaluation of interventions.
It acts as an “umbrella contract” between the European Commission and groups of development organizations (“framework contractors”) working as consortia, with one organization nominated as the consortia lead to represent the group. In this interactive visualization, you can see a complete overview of the organizations selected for the last framework contract, covering 2013-2017, including the consortia members and thematic areas they worked in.
When EuropeAid issues a specific contract under the framework contract umbrella, a request for services is sent to three or four eligible framework contractors, depending on the value of the contract. In previous years, specific contracts have been capped at a value of 300,000 euros — but one of the key changes this time is that the cap has been lifted to 999,999 euros. Any contract worth more than 300,000 euros will be sent to four framework contractors for proposals.
Another big change is the number of thematic areas included in the Framework Contract 2018. In 2013, there were 12 of these so-called lots. The prior information notice issued in March indicated that this would be reduced to five broader lots under the new framework contract; but the tender issued this week shows that the final number is six, with a different sectoral distribution than previously announced.
The lots confirmed in the tender are as follows:
► Lot 1: Sustainable management of natural resources and resilience. This lot includes agriculture, fisheries, food security and climate change, with an indicative annual budget of 125 million euros.
► Lot 2: Infrastructure, sustainable growth and jobs. This lot includes transport, sustainable energy, urban development and cities, waste management, private sector and job creation, with an indicative annual budget of 155 million euros.
► Lot 3: Human rights, democracy and peace. This includes the strengthening of civil society, conflict prevention and resolution, security and migration — an area that has been receiving increasing levels of funding from EuropeAid. The lot has an indicative annual budget of 154 million euros.
► Lot 4: Human development and safety nets, including education, culture, health and research and innovation, with an indicative annual budget of 73 million euros.
► Lot 5: Budget support. This covers public policies, macroeconomic stability and public finance management, with an indicative annual budget of 63 million euros.
► Lot 6: Innovative financing for development, including economic, financial, technical and legal expertise on financial products and risk. The lot has an indicative annual budget of 80 million euros.
Each of these lots is assigned a sector, sub-sector, and even a sub-sub-sector in some cases. They define in detail the professional and technical expertise needed to help build proposals where individual experts can be matched to the correct lot. In this interactive visualization created by Devex, you can explore which sectors and sub-sectors are included in each of the six lots.
All of these key changes — the increase in the total budget and specific contract threshold, together with the reduction in the number of lots — suggest that there will be greater competition for this framework contract. Bigger companies may have a better chance of being selected, at the expense of small and medium implementers, as Devex has previously reported.
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