Terms of Reference

Table of contents

The terms of reference refer to the description of the services to be provided or the product to be procured in a procurement procedure. The service description is an important part of the tender documents and serves to inform potential bidders about the requirements and expectations of the contracting authority.


The terms of reference usually include detailed information on the technical specifications, scope of services, time frame, quality, requirements for supplies or services, and other relevant information. It enables bidders to target their bids accordingly and ensure that their proposals meet the needs of the contracting agency.


The terms of reference should be precise, clear and unambiguous to ensure that bidders understand the requirements and can tailor their bids accordingly. It may contain several elements, such as:


  1. technical specifications: A detailed description of the technical requirements, including size, weight, materials, features, and other technical characteristics.


  1. functionality: the desired functions and performance of the product or service should be described in detail. This includes the main functions, expected results or objectives, and other relevant aspects.


  1. time frame: Details of the start and end dates of the project or service delivery and any milestones or intermediate steps.


  1. quality requirements: Specific requirements for the quality of the deliverables or product, such as certifications, norms, or standards that must be met.


  1. delivery requirements: Information on delivery times, transportation, packaging, and other logistical aspects.


  1. safety requirements: Requirements related to safety standards, occupational health and safety, data protection, or other relevant safety aspects.


The terms of reference should reflect the essential requirements of the contracting authority while complying with the principles of procurement law, such as transparency, non-discrimination and equal treatment of bidders. A clear and comprehensive performance specification makes it easier for bidders to prepare their bids and enables the contracting authority to objectively evaluate the proposals received.

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