English translation of the Proportionality Guide, 2nd revision 2020 now available

Door : mr. N. (Natasja) van Wijk-van Gilst - 14 december 2020

The award of public contracts has to comply with among others the principle proportionality. In many instances during the tender procedure the contracting authorities has to pay particular attention to the principle of proportionality. Think of the following topics: suitability requirements, requirements relating to financial and economic strength, requirements relating to technical and professional skill, selection criteria, requirements for consortiums and the award criteria.

For many civil servants acting according to the principle of proportionality is an abstract concept that places them for difficulties when working on tender documents. The Dutch government is aware of this problem and offered a helping hand by having a special guide written solely on the principle of proportionality.

This guide contains explanations, arguments and examples to help in the daily practice of all those working in tender situations: contracting authorities and economic operators. The Proportionality Guide is considered to be very helpful in the Dutch tender practice and it is for that reason the Dutch Institute of Construction Law took the initiative to translate the guide, 1st revision, April 2016, into English so it could be of use outside of the Netherlands as well.

By order of 8 May 2017 (WJZ/17035793), the then Minister of Economic Affairs established the Advisory Committee Proportionality Guide. The Advisory Committee was tasked with:

  • Issuing advise, on the request of the Minister, relating to the intended amendments to the Proportionality Guide;
  • Issuing advise, on its own initiative, to the Minister relating to possible amendments to the Proportionality Guide.

5 November 2018, the Advisory Committee received its first request for advice (reference CE/18325492), relating to the ‘tender costs involved in tenders rescinded in a late stage’. This request has led to the advice to modify paragraph 3.8 on the basis of which advice the Proportionality guide was amended. The amended version of the Guide is designated as the ‘2nd revision January 2020’. This amended version came into force on July 1st 2020. The Dutch Institute of Construction Law (IBR) also translated  this 2nd revision which is available for use outside of the Netherlands as well.

A free copy of the Proportionality Guide 2nd revision can be downloaded here.

The Dutch Institute of Construction Law would like to thank mr. A.M.B. (Andrea) Chao and mr. N.M.C. Steurrijs (Nathalie) (Simmons & Simmons Amsterdam) for the translation of the new Voorschrift 3.8. and the explanatory notes.