Evaluation and selection of the contract / service
As client you must ensure that your staff who are responsible for the shortlisting and selection processes have sufficient knowledge, skills and experience to assess the health and safety provisions in the tender submissions against the potential risks from the contract. They can draw upon other competent persons such as external health and safety consultants or specialist resources available in other departments within your authority (eg health and safety advisers).
It is vital that health and safety is seen as an integral part of the evaluation of the proposed statements of safe working practice, and not as some isolated evaluation of the bidder’s policy statements.
At the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) stage information will be required on potential contractors’ health and safety management arrangements. Existing pre-qualification competence schemes can be of assistance but it is important you are aware of the limitations of any scheme.
For example, they are often based on pass and fail criteria whereas as client you may wish to score particular elements. It may also not be applicable to the whole organisation and might be limited to subsidiaries or specific sites. It may be some considerable time since the scheme was independently reviewed and audited. It is not unusual for such organisations to have had no external verification at all of their scheme. You as client must make reasonable enquiries to determine the relevance of a particular scheme.
As client you should be aware there are also management standards available, such as the British Standard ’Occupational health and safety management systems. Requirements BS OHSAS 18001:2007’ (and related standards such as BS OHSAS 18002:2008 and BS 18004:2008).
Organisations which hold this standard are externally audited and accredited, and as such the standard should be an indicator of an organisation’s health and safety competence and ability to manage health and safety in line with the principles outlined in HSG65 Managing health and safety successfully. As client you should check the scope of the registration and ensure it is relevant to the provision of the services required. In particular, you should ensure that the awarding body is UKAS accredited.
As client you will need to adopt a clear policy on assessing the relative importance of previous health and safety enforcement action against the bidder. A simplistic policy of exclusion may not be appropriate. You should consider the scale or the history of the bidder’s waste management activities, along with the potential positive effects of any enforcement actions on their subsequent performance.
This guidance includes a set of considerations which could be used when assessing the content of bids. In summary, the shortlisted bidder needs to demonstrate that they are:
- Competent to manage health and safety;
- Understand the hazards involved;
- Have systems of work in place that adequately control the risks;
- Have procedures for monitoring and reviewing health and safety performance;
- Have sufficient resources to run the contract efficiently and safely; and
- Actively promoting a positive approach to health and safety in their proposed service delivery arrangements.
Improved equipment should generally be provided when replacement becomes due, rather than expecting substantial capital sums to be spent to upgrade equipment (such as provision of vehicles, or for tens of thousands of bins/containers) before its normal end of life.
However, in all such cases it will be necessary to ensure that the level of risk in allowing existing equipment to continue to be used has been properly considered and suitable controls have been put in place to reduce the risk to an acceptable, minimum level. Where a risk versus benefit analysis indicates significant gain in risk reduction through retrofitting or replacement (possibly in a phased programme) before the end of the equipment’s life, then this course of action may be justified.
The selection process will be aiming to achieve ‘value for money’ across the lifetime of the contract, which involves balancing a number of different but important considerations. But ‘value for money’ may not always be reflected by the cheapest bid.
The cheapest bidder has sometimes been awarded the contract but the service provided has failed to meet expectations because the resource levels deployed proved to be inadequate, as well as compromising health and safety performance, in extreme situations this has resulted in the financial collapse of the contractor organisation.
At the end of the service definition and contractor selection process, but before the contract is let, as client you should compare the final detail of the service or contract negotiated against the health and safety considerations listed in this guidance, for example, and then define any additional management controls and/or monitoring requirements identified as necessary to address recognised gaps or weaknesses.
Before the contract commences, as client you should be satisfied that there is a robust framework for the management, monitoring and review of health and safety performance. There should be a final check that agreed arrangements and suitable documentation are in place defining the key aspects of the contract with a direct impact on health and safety performance (as the majority of the arrangements and documentation should have been established and agreed on earlier in the tendering process).
The list below is not exhaustive, but the agreed documentation and arrangements should include:
- risk assessments, statements of safe working practice/operational instructions (including information for specialist work such as clinical waste collection) and management arrangements etc;
- Details of relevant health surveillance/monitoring regimes;
- Supervision and monitoring arrangements (including those by you the client) and performance measures;
- Arrangements for consultation with and involvement of the workforce;
- Roles, use, management and supervision of agency workers including drivers;
- Contact points, nominated directors etc;
- Contract amendment (alterations/variations) procedures;
- Measures and milestones for performance monitoring. These may be simple objective measures such as the number of accidents per month, the number of days lost or vehicle collisions, and they might usefully include measures of management performance such as inspections carried out and actions taken, staff training (at all levels), tool box talks delivered etc;
- Audit and review; and
- Contract termination arrangements, if necessary corrective measures are not actioned.