This case study is a classic example of violation of the first and basic principles of public procurement – Principle of cost-effectiveness and efficiency, according to which the contracting authority is obliged, inter alia, to procure goods, services or works of appropriate quality having in mind purposeful spending of public funds, and making sure that the procurement is carried out and the contract is awarded with as few costs related to the procedure and execution of public procurement as possible.

In this particular case, the contracting authority rejected the bid which was over 2 million dinars lower than the bid of the selected bidder, although the rejected bid did not contain any actual defect, nor was it impossible to compare it with other bids, as stated in the contract award decision. The contracting authority rejected this bid only because the Contract Model and the Bid Form stated a different total price.

Regardless of the fact that another price was stated in the Contract Model, based on the data from the Bid Form and the Price Structure Form, the unit prices of works were very clear, as was the total price so there weren’t really any reasons to turn down the more favorable offer. The contracting authority could and should have allowed the correction of the error due to which this bid was rejected.

The two most important documents in which the total offered price is entered and which the bidder submits with his bid are the Bid Form and the Price Structure Form, which are an integral part of the bid. In these documents, the bidder whose bid was rejected stated the exact total price offered (obtained by multiplying unit prices with the total quantities of works) and there is no difference between the total price in both documents in his bid.

As for the Model Contract, even if the bidder did not state the total price in it, his bid could not be rejected as unacceptable, because for the contract model it is only important that the bidder signs and submits it through the Portal thus confirming that he agrees with its contents and the future public procurement contract. Therefore, the price in the model contract is completely irrelevant, especially having in mind the Rulebook on the content of tender documentation in public procurement procedures (“Official Gazette of RS”, No. 21/21), which stipulates that the key element in the Basic Price Structure Form is in fact offered price (unit and total) with and without VAT.

As in many other examples we have written about, in this case the bidder whose bid was rejected also submitted a request for protection of rights, which the Republic Commission a priori rejected, accepting the arguments of the procuring entity.