Select a procedure

Select the procedure on the basis of the value of the contract, the number of suppliers in the market and the extent to which you want to stimulate cooperation between parties. Public organisations must comply with regulations relating to public procurement procedures; private organisations have more freedom. However, a private party is free to apply public procurement principles when selecting parties.

To achieve your circular ambitions you need to stimulate cooperation, both between client and contractor and between contractors in the value chain. Stimulate cooperation by focussing on meetings between the various parties: interaction between client and possible contractors to clarify ambitions on the one hand, and interaction between contractors to collaborate on innovation on the other. Sitting down together is more likely to create mutual understanding than communicating in writing does. Determine the intensity of the interaction based on proportionality: to what extent is the interaction in proportion with your request?

Different types of tendering

There are a number of different tender procedures. Six commonly used procedures are:

  • Restricted invitation to tender - a procedure that consists of a single stage. Suitable for smaller contracts for which you can invite three to five parties. This procedure allows you to preselect several parties, for instance based on their previous experience with circular economy. 
  • Open procedure a procedure that consists of a single stage: an award stage. Suitable for tenders with either a small number of potential suppliers or a short lead time.
  • Restricted procedure - a procedure that consists of two stages; first, a selection stage, and next, an award stage. This is suitable for tenders with a lot of potential suppliers. In the selection stage you make a selection based on your organisation's vision.
  • Competitive dialogue - a restricted procedure with an added dialogue stage after the selection stage and before the award stage. The dialogue stage creates additional opportunities to add more depth to your project or ambitions.
  • Competitive negotiated procedure - a restricted procedure where negotiations are started with the winning tenderer in order to arrive at an improved proposal.
  • Innovation partnership - a procedure for a complex project where only one or a very limited number of parties has the expertise to respond to your request.

The role of dialogue

Including a dialogue in a tendering procedure enhances the understanding between client and market players. A dialogue can help the client to assess the capabilities of market players and may help market players to understand the client's deeper needs.

Always try to establish interaction between the client and the market players, even for smaller procurement projects. If dialogue rounds are too burdensome or if it is not possible (in case of an open procedure) you should opt for a market consultation preceding the procurement process or an information session at the start of it. The mutual understanding thus gained will benefit the remainder of the procedure.


  • Choose a procedure that is proportional to the size of the contract.
  • Always make room for a dialogue with market players in order to get better acquainted with the parties involved and enable them to understand your ambitions.
  • Prevent high transaction costs for market players due to a procedure that is needlessly intensive. Consider offering a fee for their efforts in case of large procurement projects.

Inspiring examples

Background information

Suggestions and/or additions?