FAQ's on the STEP Complaints module

  • 1: What is the new World Bank Procurement Framework (WBPF)? When does it become effective?
    The Procurement Framework is the product of procurement reform in the Bank following extensive global consultations and adoption of a new Policy together with a Directive and Procedure for Bank staff and Procurement Regulations for Borrowers. It is scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2016.
  • 2: Which operations will be governed by the new Framework?
    The New Framework will apply to the procurement of goods, works, non-consulting services, and consulting services financed by the Bank (in whole or in part) through Investment Project Financing (IPF) operations, excluding procurement under Bank guarantees and under Bank-financed loans made by eligible financial intermediaries, for which the final recipient of loan funds is a private borrower. The new Framework will be mandatory for all such IPFs with Concept Notes approved on or after July 01, 2016. Where there is a need to continue to use the Procurement Guidelines and Consultant Guidelines for Additional Financing for an IPF operation, the Bank may decide to use the Guidelines.
  • 3: Does the new Framework apply to IFC projects?
    The Procurement Framework applies only to World Bank (i.e. IBRD and IDA) financed IPF operations.
  • 4: What happens to existing projects and those currently under preparation?
    If the Project Concept Note is dated before July 1, 2016, those projects continue to apply the existing procurement policy and the Procurement Guidelines and the Consultant Guidelines. However, if it makes sense to do so and the procurement has not yet started, Task Teams may request to transfer these projects to the new Framework as “Early Adopters”. Several current projects across regions have been identified as early adopters. If you have a project that could be an early adopter please contact your Task Team Leader, Accredited Procurement Specialist or Accredited Practice Manager.

    At the Borrower's request, the Bank may agree that procurement under an-ongoing project may be conducted using the New Framework. In such cases, the legal agreement will have to be amended through a formal project restructuring.
  • 5: Why has the World Bank undertaken this reform to formulate the new Procurement Framework?
    The vision of the new Procurement Framework is to ensure that “Procurement in Investment Project Financing supports Borrowers to achieve value for money with integrity in delivering sustainable development.” The new Framework modernizes the Bank's procurement approach to accommodate and better support the use of various modern procurement methods in support of development outcomes. The optimum procurement approach for each operation will be based on the findings from an analysis of the project needs, market, risks, and other influencing factors identified through a Project Procurement Strategy for Development (PPSD). Procurement will be proportional and fit for purpose and much more choice will be available to Borrowers under the New Framework.
  • 6: What are the core principles of the new Framework?
    1. Value for money. The principle of value for money means the effective, efficient, and economic use of resources, which requires an evaluation of relevant costs and benefits, along with an assessment of risks, and non-price attributes and/or life cycle costs, as appropriate. Price alone may not necessarily represent value for money.

    2. Economy. This principle of economy takes into consideration factors such as sustainability, quality, and non-price attributes and/or life cycle cost as appropriate, that support value for money. It permits integrating into the Procurement Process economic, environmental, and social considerations that the Bank has agreed with the Borrower. It also permits augmenting identified sustainability criteria with specific criteria in support of the Borrower's own sustainable procurement policy.

    3. Integrity. The principle of integrity refers to the use of funds, resources, assets and authority, according to the intended purposes and in a manner that is well informed, aligned with the public interest, and aligned with broader principles of good governance. The Bank requires that all parties involved in the Procurement Process, including without limitation, Borrowers and sub-Borrowers (and other beneficiaries of Bank Financing); bidders, consultants, contractors and suppliers; any sub-contractors, sub-consultants, service providers or suppliers; any agents (whether declared or not); and any of their personnel, observe the highest standard of ethics during the Procurement Process of Bank-financed contracts, and refrain from fraud and corruption, as that term is defined in the Anti-Corruption Guidelines.

    4. Fit for Purpose. The principle of fit for purpose applies both to the intended outcomes and the procurement arrangements in determining the most appropriate approach to meet the development objectives and project outcomes, taking into account the context and the risk, value, and complexity of procurement.

    5. Efficiency. The principle of efficiency requires that Procurement Processes are proportional to the value and risks of the underlying project activities. Procurement arrangements are generally time-sensitive and strive to avoid delays.

    6. Transparency. The principle of transparency requires that the Borrower and the Bank enable appropriate review of the procurement activities, supported by appropriate documentation and disclosure. Transparency requires: (i) that relevant procurement information be made publicly available to all interested parties, consistently and in a timely manner, through readily accessible and widely available sources at reasonable or no cost; (ii) appropriate reporting of procurement activity; and (iii) the use of confidentiality provisions in contracts only where justified.

    7. Fairness. The principle of fairness refers to: (i) equal opportunity and treatment for bidders and consultants; (ii) equitable distribution of rights and obligations between Borrowers and suppliers, bidders, consultants and contractors; and (iii) credible mechanisms for addressing procurement related complaints and providing recourse. Open competitive procurement is the Bank's preferred procurement approach, whenever possible to maximize fairness of opportunity to bid. Whenever is possible, the Bank requires that eligible individuals and firms be given the same opportunities to compete for Bank-financed activities.
  • 7: What are the key changes and benefits of the new WBPF?
    The Procurement Framework introduces a number of key changes that are meant to improve current procurement practices:

    1. The Framework introduces improved procurement practices that borrowing countries can use to deliver greater value for public spending through procurement and plan procurement outcomes more effectively;

    2. To achieve Value for Money, the Framework proposes to adopt Fit-for-purpose procurement approaches to meet clients' needs. The Framework also requires Borrowers to prepare a Project Procurement Strategy for Development (PPSD) for each project. This strategy includes a risk and market analysis proportionate to the complexity of the project, which will enable Borrowers to make informed decisions on the most appropriate procurement approach;

    3. The Framework will enhance efficiency and transparency through a one-stop-shop for procurement processing and data management: The Systematic Tracking of Exchanges in Procurement (STEP) will track all procurements (including contracts subject to prior and post reviews), to streamline processes, measure timeliness, and provide benchmarking. Current projects across regions will be phased into the system, beginning with those with project concept notes after January 2015;

    4. The Framework will support the delivery of improved quality in goods and services through value for money decision making and the use of non-price attributes in evaluating bids (this is now expanded to allow the use of rated criteria for goods, works etc.);

    5. Greater flexibility in procurement arrangements will be achieved through options for using alternative procurement arrangements (other than the World Bank's own), including those of other multilateral development organizations and Borrowers’ own implementing agencies (subject to review and acceptance by the Bank);

    6. Greater procurement support will possible for Fragile and Conflict-Affected States (FCS) and low-capacity Borrowers through expanded hands-on implementation support where Bank procurement staff can provide hands-on help to Borrowers to assist them more through the procurement process;

    7. Borrowers will be able to make speedier procurement decisions as the Bank reduces prior reviews of low value contracts (streamlining prior review by 70% from FY14 baseline);

    8. Borrowers will be better able to meet their environmental and social development objectives through the option of applying sustainable procurement;

    9. Integrity will be enhanced by introducing additional integrity management actions;

    10. Greater support on procurement-related complaints will be provided through the establishment of operating standards and measures for complaints tracking;

    11. There will be more opportunities to work with private sector on sector improvement programs through strategic engagement with businesses e.g. model contract conditions for specific sectors; and

    12. The Framework promotes greater client ownership through the Bank's support for capacity building of procurement systems at both the project and country levels.
  • 8: Will the flexibility in new Procurement Framework compromise the rigor and high standard of World Bank's procurement practice?
    No. Because the Core Procurement Principles govern the Procurement Framework and standards and Integrity will not be compromised. The New Framework provides more options in procurement processes and selection methods that would serve the Borrowers with fit for purpose solutions that deliver value for money. The selected options will have to be justified through the PPSD and the Bank approves the project procurement plan and its updates. At the same time, the New Framework has built in mechanisms to ensure the integrity and fairness of the procurement processes. For example for market approach options and selection arrangements which are inherently risky such as Best and Final Offer (BAFO), Negotiations, and Competitive Dialogue, the Borrower shall engage the services of a Probity Assurance Provider, agreed with the Bank.
  • 9: How will the World Bank Borrowers be made ready for the new Procurement Framework?
    There are plans for extensive training to Borrowers through e-learning packages and project-based face to face training provided at country level. Through Open Learning Campus (OLC) initiative of the Bank, some of these e-Learning programs will be available to Borrowers from July 2016.
  • 10: Who is responsible for preparing the Project Procurement Strategy for Development (PPSD)? Is training available for PPSD?
    The Borrower has the responsibility of preparing the PPSD and the Procurement Plan. The Bank will assist the Borrower in the formulation of the PPSD during project preparation. The Bank reviews the PPSD and agrees to the Procurement Plan before completion of loan negotiations. All procurement staff in the Bank have received training in PPSD. The training material will be made available on the Bank's website. There are specialists in the Bank to support task teams and the Borrower in preparing PPSDs. Two (2) Guidance Notes on PPSD have been prepared and will be available on the Bank's website by July 1, 2016. An e-Learning module on PPSD is under development. Targeted training on PPSD will be made available on project basis.
  • 11: What is Alternative Procurement Arrangements (APA)?
    In this arrangement, at the Borrower's request, the Bank may agree to: (a) rely on and apply the procurement rules and procedures of another multilateral or bilateral agency or organization, and may agree to such a party taking a leading role in providing the implementation support and monitoring of project procurement activities; and (b) rely on and apply the procurement rules and procedures of an agency or entity of the Borrower.
  • 12: Who will make the decision to apply APA in a particular project?
    In case of APA in any particular project, the Borrower proposes and the Bank decides.
  • 13: How would the decision to apply APA be made?
    The PPSD will document if APA is best-suited for a particular project. Bank staff will assess if APA is appropriate given the circumstances and make the necessary recommendations to Bank Management. The Bank has an internal approval process for APAs.
  • 14: When can the Borrower's own procurement arrangements/system be used?
    The procurement arrangement/system of an Agency of the Borrower can be used as an APA when it is formally assessed by the Bank and found to be acceptable for use in a particular IPF project. The key assessment is at an agency level with a macro level assessment at country level. Member countries of World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement (WTO GPA) would not require macro level assessment as they have already been assessed by the WTO GPA member countries.
  • 15: What is Hands-on Expanded Implementation Support (HEIS) under the new WBPF?
    The Bank may agree to provide the Borrower with procurement hands-on expanded implementation support (HEIS). To structure the Borrower's initial request for such support, the Project Procurement Strategy for Development (PPSD) documents and justifies the degree of Bank support needed, which, for example, may include:

    1. drafting Procurement Documents;
    2. identifying the strengths and weaknesses of Bids/Proposals;
    3. observing dialogues and negotiations with Bidders/Consultants; and
    4. drafting procurement reports and contract award documentation.

    Project execution remains the Borrower's responsibility. HEIS does not result in the Bank's carrying out procurement on behalf of the Borrower.
  • 16: What is Systematic Tracking of Exchanges in Procurement (STEP)? Is it mandatory?
    STEP is an online planning and tracking tool for procurement plan implementation and keeping all records and correspondences of a project's procurement activities. Yes it is mandatory.
  • 17: Is STEP replacing the other online procurement plan management system such as PROCYS and SEPA?
  • 18: Who is responsible for entering the data into STEP?
    The Borrower. The Bank will provide Task Teams and Borrowers with training in STEP.
  • 19:What is the complaint handling system in the new WBPF?
    Procurement-related complaints should be submitted to the Borrower in a timely manner, at the appropriate stage of the procurement process, and when so submitted, the Borrower shall address them promptly and fairly. All procurement-related complaints shall be recorded by the Borrower in the appropriate tracking and monitoring system as agreed between the Bank and the Borrower.

    Those procurement-related complaints arising in connection with contracts for which the Bank's Standard Procurement Documents (SPDs) are required to be used, shall be administered and handled in accordance with Annex III (Procurement Related Complaints) of the World Bank Procurement Regulations for IPF Borrowers.
  • 20: What is Standstill Period?
    Following the decision to award a contract the Borrower is required to provide all bidders/proposers a Notification of Intention to Award the contract. To give Bidders/Proposers/Consultants time to examine the Notification of Intention to Award and to assess whether it is appropriate to submit a complaint, a Standstill Period shall apply for those procurements where the Bank's Standard Procurement Document has been used. A Standstill Period starts after issuance of the Notification of Intention to Award and the contract shall not be awarded before or during the Standstill Period. The Standstill Period is 10 Business Days.
  • 21: What is the new policy on the Abnormally Low Tenders (ALT)?
    An abnormally low Bid/Proposal is one in which the Bid/Proposal price, in combination with other elements of the Bid/Proposal, appears so low that it raises material concerns with the Borrower as to the capability of the Bidder/Proposer to perform the contract for the offered price.

    Where the Borrower identifies a potentially Abnormally Low Bid/Proposal, the Borrower shall seek written clarifications from the Bidder/Proposer, including detailed price analyses of its Bid/Proposal price in relation to the subject matter of the contract, scope, proposed methodology, schedule, allocation of risks and responsibilities, and any other requirements of the bidding/request for proposals document.

    If, after evaluating the price analyses, the Borrower determines that the Bidder/Proposer has failed to demonstrate its capability to deliver the contract for the offered price, the Borrower shall reject the Bid/Proposal.
  • 22: How is value for money achieved?
    VfM is achieved through the application of the following:

    1. ensuring integrity throughout the Procurement Process;

    2. a clear statement of needs and procurement objectives in the Project Procurement Strategy for Development (PPSD);

    3. a procurement approach that is proportional to the risk, value, context, nature, and complexity of the procurement;

    4. appropriate specification of the requirements;

    5. selection of appropriate contractual arrangements;

    6. suitable evaluation criteria;

    7. selection of the firm that best meets the needs and objectives of the procurement; and

    8. development of effective contract management to ensure successful implementation of the contract and ensure that the deliverables are met as agreed in the contract.
  • 23: What is Sustainable Procurement? Is sustainable procurement mandatory under the new Procurement Framework?
    If agreed with the Bank, Borrowers may include sustainability requirements in the Procurement Process, including their own sustainable procurement policy requirements, if they are applied in ways that are consistent with the Bank's Core Procurement Principles. Sustainable procurement is not mandatory for Borrowers.
  • 24: Where can I get the Policy, Directive, Procedure, Regulations, and other documents related to the World Bank's New Procurement Framework?
    The documents are available in the Bank's procurement policy website
    URL: www.worldbank.org
  • 25: What is Systematic Tracking of Exchanges in Procurement (STEP)? Is it mandatory?
    In international competitive procurement subject to prior review, the Bank may agree to the Borrower's use of Best and Final Offer (BAFO). The circumstances under which BAFO may be used is elaborated in the World Bank Procurement regulations for IPF Borrowers.
  • 26: What are the key changes in the selection of consultants?
    1. Number of short-listed firms can be between five (5) and eight (8)

    2. Geographic restrictions on shortlists (such as wide geographic spread, not more than 2 from any one country and at least one from a developing country) have been removed

    3. The Terms of Reference (TOR) must be released along with the request for expressions of interest (REOI)

    4. Advertising for Consultant's Qualifications Based Selection (CQS) is not-mandatory

    5. A 7-days “pause” between the notification of the technical scores and the opening of the financial proposals has been introduced

    6. Project implementation support personnel may be hired using the Borrower's personnel hiring procedures if acceptable to the Bank
  • 27: How would the World Bank support countries to build the national capacity?
    GGP-SIP needs to answer
  • 28: Is World Bank organizing training on the new Procurement Framework?
    There are plans for extensive training to Borrowers through e-learning packages and project-based face to face training provided at country level. Through Open Learning Campus (OLC) initiative of the Bank, some of these e-Learning programs will be available to Borrowers from July 2016.
  • 29: Where can I get more information and resources on the new Framework?
    The documents are available in the Bank's procurement policy website