What are Challenge Proceedings?
It is a review of a decision or action taken by a procuring entity in a procurement proceeding.
It is conducted by the Office of Procurement Regulation (“the OPR”) which is an independent regulatory body established by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act, 2015, as amended (“the Act”).
The procedure is governed by:
- Part V of the Act;
- The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property (Challenge Proceedings) Regulations 2021; and
- The Hearing Rules and Procedure for Part V Challenge Proceedings.
The decision of the OPR will be issued within twenty (20) working days after receipt of the application for review submitted by the aggrieved supplier or contractor. Written reasons would be issued no later than thirty (30) days thereafter.
Who can join an ongoing Challenge proceeding as an Interested Party
There are two (2) categories of Interested Parties:
- Any supplier or contractor participating in the procurement proceedings which relates to the Application for Review that has already been filed by the Applicant; or
- Any public body whose interests are or could be affected by the Application for Review that has already been filed by the Applicant.
What can an Interested Party seek by joining an ongoing Challenge Proceeding
An Interested Party is restricted to the grounds of challenge and remedies contained in the Applicant’s Application for Review.
NOTE: A supplier or contractor who participated in the same procurement proceedings being reviewed and wish to raise other grounds of challenge or seek remedies specific to them, must file their own Application to Review (Form 8) within the timeframes set out in section 50(2) of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act 2015, as amended, that is:
- Where the Challenge relates to the terms of solicitation, pre-qualification, pre-selection or decisions or actions taken by a procuring entity in pre-qualification or pre-selection proceedings, the deadline to file this Challenge is before the deadline for presenting submissions;
- Where the Challenge relates to other decisions or actions taken by a procuring entity in procurement proceedings the deadline to file this challenge depends on whether or not a standstill period was applied by the procuring entity;
- If a standstill period was applied, the deadline to file this Challenge is within the standstill period; and
- If a standstill period was not applied, the deadline to file this Challenge is within seven (7) working days after the publication of the notice of the decision or action that was taken by the procuring entity.
NOTE: Interested Parties will have to bear their own costs for participating in an ongoing Challenge proceeding.
How can an Interested Party learn about an ongoing Challenge Proceeding?
The OPR will publish a Notice of the Application for Review in two (2) daily newspapers and on the OPR’s website within three (3) days of OPR’s receipt of the Application.
How can an Interested Party join an ongoing Challenge Proceeding?
The Hearing Rules and Procedure for Part V Challenge Proceedings sets out the prescribed Forms to be used in Challenge Proceedings. These Rules and Forms can be downloaded from the OPR’s website www.opr.org.tt
Form 10 is the Application to Participate which must be completed, signed and dated by the Interested Party. This Application to Participate must be submitted via e-mail to the OPR at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than three (3) days after the OPR’s notification of the Application for Review (that is, Day six (6) of the Challenge process). Some of the details the Interested Party must include are:
- The grounds or basis for seeking to participate in the ongoing Challenge Proceedings;
- If the Interested Party is a supplier or contractor that participated in the procurement proceedings, they must state how the reliefs sought by the Applicant can affect them;
- If the Interested Party is a public body, they must state how their interests are or could be affected by the ongoing Application for Review; and
- The witnesses to be presented in support of the Interested Party at the Hearing of the matter.
Documents and evidence in support of the Application to Participate must be listed in Form 10 and attached. Failure to attach any relevant documents can result in the Interested Party’s inability to rely on same at the Hearing of these Challenge Proceedings, if their Application to Participate is successful. Form 10 and supporting documents must be submitted to the OPR via e-mail to email@example.com and the Case ID number must be included in the subject line of the email.
Other relevant forms which may be submitted at this stage are:
- Form 2- Notice of Appointment (of Representative). This is to be submitted if the Interested Party intends to have an Attorney-at-Law, engineer, quantity surveyor, valuator, agent or such other person recognised by the OPR to represent it in the Challenge Proceedings; and
- Form 1- Confirmation of Service. When Form 10 and supporting documents are submitted to the OPR, these must be served on the other Parties. Once served, Form 1 -Confirmation of Service must be submitted to the OPR.
All communications to the Hearing Panel relating to any Challenge Proceedings must be through the Administrative Review Secretariat of the OPR.
Failure to Participate
A supplier or contractor who is notified of an Application for Review and who fails to participate in proceedings relating to the Application, is barred from subsequently challenging the decisions or actions that are the subject matter of the Application.
For more information
Visit our website at www.oprtt.org or call us at (868) 627-4OPR (4677) or (868) 226-4OPR (4677)