Tender Debriefing

Debriefing refers to disclosing of confidential information upon request by an unsuccessful tenderer.

Information requested for debriefing may include reasons for not selecting, advantages other tenderers had over him, names of bid winners etc.

Legally, debriefing information may only be given verbally and not in writing.

The advantages for tender debriefing include:

  • Establishes client reputation for fairness and transparency.
  • Getting unsuccessful contractors know what to do so that they can be more competitive in future.
  • Ensures smooth relationship with contractors/vendors in the market.
  • Reduces possibility of legal battles from unsuccessful tenderers.
  • The debriefed discussion reports help for future reference to ensure continuous service improvement.


  • Breaches commercial confidentiality.
  • Time consuming and costly.
  • May end up in arguments leading to poor relationships.
  • Any error committed by tendering board may lead to commercial disputes.
  • Opens door to further challenges by other unsuccessful tenderers.
  • May discourage (the would be) better tenderers who may not wish their trade secrets exposed out to competitors.
  • May lead to corrupt deals out of influence due to physical contact as familiarity can easily lead to contempt.


The recommendations are that debriefing:

  • Should not disclose information about other tenderers which may breach commercial confidentiality
  • Should not be turned into arguments or casing to justify non- compromising tender issues
  • Should only confine itself to the unsuccessful bid and weaknesses for rejection e.g. quality issues, inadequate experience, lead times, total costs, technological level etc.
  • Should only confine itself to indicating perceived strengths of unsuccessful tenderers
  • Should request for contractor’s views on the debriefing process
  • Should strongly encourage the unsuccessful tenderers to continue having ambition to tender in the future
  • Information sought for should only be given verbally
  • Only one tenderer should be attended to at time and not two or more.

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