Multiple Framework Contract for the provision of services in the field of audits of external aid actions financed by the European Commission from the European Development Fund (EDF) and the General Budget of the European Union (EU Budget)

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1


Multiple Framework Contract for the provision of services in the field of audits of
external aid actions financed by the European Commission from the European
Development Fund (EDF) and the General Budget of the European Union (EU Budget)


2013/S 192
-
33043
0


EuropeAid/134948/C/SER/Multi/



QUESTION(Q) 1
.
In the original contract notice published in the OJEU, it is noted in
section VI.3.2 that:

Tenderers' attention is drawn to the fact that only legal entities which are registered in an EU
Member State, in
a signatory country of the GPA Agreement or in one of the following
countries: Albania, Chile, Colombia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Honduras,
Iceland, Iraq, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Peru, and
Serbia are elig
ible (in the case of a consortium, this applies to all the legal entities of the
consortium). Bosnia and Herzegovina will be granted access when the SAA enters into force.
The central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala will be gran
ted
access when the bilateral agreements with them enter into force.

Should an ineligible legal
entity take part this will result in the application concerned (or the grouping as a whole,
should said party belong to a grouping) being disqualified immediate
ly.

As such, we understand that only legal entities registered in one of the named countries may
be accepted as an eligible partner or joint
-
bidder in a tender submitted in response to this
procurement notice.


As such, eg, an entity registered in Kenya co
uld not be a party to the
submission.

Could you please confirm that our understanding is correct here?


ANSWER(A) 1.

Y
our understanding is correct.

The eligible nationalities are limited to the
o
nes mentioned in
article VI.3.2

of the Contract Notice

for te
nderers and members of
tendering consortia
.
These restrictions do not apply for subcontractors and entities that provide
resources through undertakings and which are not part of the tendering consortia.




(Q) 2
.
Our firm is part of an officially recognise
d network as defined in ISQC 1 and is a
member of the Forum of Firms.


Our membership includes network offices worldwide
including in countries that are non
-
GPA signatories.


Assuming our understanding in point 1
above is correct, is it nevertheless possi
ble to draw on the relevant resources, skills and
experiences of the network firms a whole (eg CVs of personnel from those offices and
relevant assignment experience)?



If so; how does this need to be accomplished?


Can we
rely on letters of undertaking
from each firm of their willingness to make resources, etc
available to us as and when a need arises?

2



In this respect, is this

t
hat the following paragraph at section 3.3.2.2 on page 25 of the tender
specifications is intended to confirm:

Tenderers may, w
here appropriate and for a specific contract, rely on the capacities of other
operators.

In that case the tenderer must provide evidence to the contracting authority that it
can dispose of the capacity and resources required for providing the services of
the specific
contract, for example by producing an undertaking on the part of those entities to place those
resources at its disposal. Under the same conditions, a consortium of economic operators
may rely on the capacities of members of the consortium or
of other entities

(A)
2.

It is your responsibility to decide whether you can rely on undertakings
on the
part of entities to place resources at your disposal

such
as
non
-
key
-
experts

(see
also
a
nswer n°
9 below)
or logistical support
from
offices worldwide i
ncluding in countries
that are non
-
GPA signatories
. If you decide to do so then you must submit evidence for
example in the form of formal and duly completed and signed undertakings.
Note that
restrictions concerning eligible nationalities are not applicab
le to experts (natural
persons)
, see Answer n° 10 below
.


(Q
) 3.
1.

In terms of the named team of experts that we are requested to provide at a category
1 and 2 level for this contract, you have requested that we provide (section 3.3.2.2; page 25):


“a st
atement confirming that
the key experts named on the List of Key Experts will be
available at short notice for specific engagements to be contracted under Lot 1 and 2

of the
FWC. The names of the key experts should be mentioned on the Statement on availabi
lity of
Key Experts or the list of Key Experts can be attached to the Statement.

Tenderers are
informed that the period between the sending of a Request for Services and the concluding of
contract for a specific engagement under the FWC is normally 42 ca
lendar days or 6 weeks.”

As we understand matters; this declaration needs only to be provided by the tenderer and not
the individual experts; would this
be correct?


Is there a specific template to adopt or follow
here?

(A) 3.
1.

Your understanding is corre
ct.
T
enderers
and not individual experts
must provide

a statement

of availability of key experts which shall include the names of the key experts
or the list of key experts can be attached to the Statement.

There is no specific template
.




(Q) 3.

2.


Doe
s this paragraph mean that only the named experts in the tender submission can
ever be proposed at a category 1 and 2 level within any subsequent Request for Service

(RfS)
issued after the signing of the framework contract?


(A) 3.

2.

Th
is
understanding is

correct.

Category 1 and 2 experts are part of the offer and
their names have to be agreed by the Contracting Authority. See also Answer n° 3.3.


3


(Q)

3.

3.


If it is possible to add or substitute new or replacement experts at these levels later;
what will
the process and requirements in this respect?


(A) 3.

3.


Please refer to
Article

6.1. “Replacement of Experts” of Annex

1 to the Invitation
to tender “Tender Specifications”.


(Q) 3.

4.


Can we
include names of persons as keys experts from network firms
outside the
main
co
nsortium firms (eg from a network member firm in a GPA non
-
signatory country?


(A) 3.

4.
No, s
ee Answer
s

n° 1
, 9 and 11
.


(Q) 3. 5.

Can you clarify the intention or meaning of this wording further please?


Is the
intent to ensure the na
med key experts are always available, regardless of any other
circumstances, to undertake an assignment under this framework contract

once an RfS is
issued?

We recognise that once we propose any expert specifically in response to an RfS for
any assignment,

we should not seek to substitute or otherwise replace that person without first
following the protocols set out in section 4 of the tender specifications.


However, we are
uncertain as to the how the requirements at 3.3.2.2 then interface with and add fur
ther to the
requirements at section 4.

(A) 3.
5.


Please refer to
Article

6.1. “Replacement of Experts” of Annex 1 to the Invitation
to tender “Tender Specifications” which contains the cases in which key experts can be
replaced and the specific procedures
to
be followed
.


(Q) 4.

In Annex I.8 of the tender specifications, within the sub
-
heading: “Contacts with the
Commission”; the tenderer is required to detail (inter alia):


“A central point of contact / reference for coordination and treatment of FWC mat
ters
(quality issues and complaints, systematic and recurring issues with audits and audit related
matters etc.).”

Would it be reasonable to assume that this person would not also be on the
named Category 1 and 2 key experts or could such a person fulfil b
oth roles?


(A) 4.

The central point of contact coordinat
es and deals with all
FWC matters. This
person
may be one of the
proposed cat 1 or 2 experts. However, it should be clear that it
would not be appropriate for this cat 1 / 2 expert to deal with quali
ty issues or complaints
which relate to audit or other engagements in which s/he was involved.





(Q) 5.

Assuming we were selected as a service provider under the Framework contract and
that we were then awarded and completed an individual contract, coul
d you clarify precisely
what information/documentation would need to be provided as a matter of course with the
interim and final invoices we would submit to the Contracting Authority for payment.


For
example, would it be necessary to provide signed times
heets by the engaged experts to
confirm their engagement and the precise time incurred?

4



(A) 5
.

Please refer to Article
s

I.4.
, II.15 and II.16

of the Framework Service Contract
Model
s
, Annex II.1

and Annex II.2,
to the Invitation to tender.

T
his FWC
operat
es
with
specific
global fee

contr
acts

and consequently,
timesheets for individual experts will not be
requ
ired
.


(Q) 6.

Are the fees (excluding expenses) specified as payable under the awarded contracts in
the form of fixed lump sums (subject to satisfacto
ry performance in all other respects) or
otherwise to be regarded as “maximum” budgets.


Thus, if the total time incurred and charged
(as verified by a timesheet) by any expert is less than the total fees budgeted for that expert;
only the actual incurred
time costs, at the agreed daily rate, can be charged to the
Contracting

Authority
.

(A) 6.

This FWC operates with specific
global fee

contracts
: the total sum
to be
paid for
the services agreed
must

always correspond to the
global
price
stated
in the speci
fic
contract

irrespective of
the actual number of working hours / days spent
.



(Q) 7.
In the
definitions

of qualifying experts set out in the tender specifications, it is noted in
each case that such persons “
should have at least X years of experience as
a professional
auditor or accountant in public practice
”.


Can we clarify if individuals who have previously
worked for organisations other than professional accountancy / audit firms in a role that
involves financial compliance and/or systems audit activi
ties are not eligible to have their
time counted in those roles for the purposes of assessment and qualification here?


Such
persons might include individuals who have worked for National Audit Offices; national
paying agencies, Ex
-
post audit services of t
he EC or other donor institutions as well as NGOs
or corporate organisations which have a specialist financial audit and compliance sector.

(A) 7
.
Cat 1 experts must have at least 12 years and cat 2 experts must have at least 6 years
of professional experi
ence as a professional
a
uditor in
public

audit

practice.

Please refer
to the IFAC definition (Handbook of the Code of Ethics for Professional
Accountants issued by the
IESBA

(International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants).
A p
rofessional

accountant
in

public

practice

is a

professional accountant, irrespective of
functional

classification (for example, audit, tax or consulting)
in a firm that provides
professional services.

This term is also used to

refer to a firm of professional accountants
in publi
c practice.

Consequently, experience obtained as auditor in the public sector (
Public sector
: n
ational
governments, regional (for example, state, provincial, territorial) governments, local (for
example, city, town) governments and related governmental ent
ities (for example,
agencies, board
s, commissions and enterprises)
will
not

be taken

into account

for the 12
and 6 years minimum period of professional experience.


5




(Q) 8.
Eligibility

of Legal Entity
.
Re: Contract notice


-

Additional Information
-

VI.3


2
eligible nationalities of the candidates.

Tenderers' attention is drawn to the fact that only legal entities which are registered in an EU
Member State, in a signatory country of the GPA Agreement or in one of the following
countries: Albania, Chile, C
olombia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Honduras,
Iceland, Iraq, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Peru, and
Serbia are eligible (in the case of a consortium, this applies to all the legal entities of the
consortium). Bo
snia and Herzegovina will be granted access when the SAA enters into force.
The central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala will be granted
access when the bilateral agreements with them enter into force.

Should an ineligible legal
entity take part this will result in the application concerned (or the grouping as a whole,
should said party belong to a grouping) being disqualified immediately.

With regards to this
extract from the contract notice, please can you clarify the following:

With regards to GPA, there are a number of ‘parties’ to the agreement, and a number of
‘observers’.


Please can you confirm whether both parties to the agreement and observers are
eligible to participate as a consortium partner or as a named sub
-
contract

firm or if only
parties to the agreement are eligible.

So for example, would a firm registered in Georgia
(country with observer status) be eligible to participate in the tender.

(A) 8.

A legal entity registered in a country with observer’s status
will n
ot be eligible.
Legal entities which are registered in a
signatory

country of the GPA Agreement

and
which have ratified it

are eligible.


(Q) 9
.


W
hether a firm from a beneficiary country that is not registered in an EU Member
state, is not a signatory cou
ntry of the GPA Agreement or is not in one of the listed countries
(in the contract notice
-

Additional Information
-

VI.3


2 eligible nationalities of the
candidates


as shown above), is eligible to participate as a consortium partner or as a named
sub
-
contract firm. For example, in the case of Morocco, a country that is not in any of the
aforementioned categories, but is a beneficiary country, would a firm registered in Morocco
be eligible to participate in the tender?

(A) 9.

Non eligible entities
under

section VI.3.2
, like a firm registered in Morocco,
cannot
participate to the tender.


6


(Q)
10
.
Key Experts

nationalities
.

Please can you confirm that key experts with a beneficiary country nationality (i.e. Morocco)
are eligible to:


-

be nominated as a
key expert for the tender and be listed in the table of experts


Annex
I.5 (Cat I & Cat II)

-

participate in this tender as a Cat III & Cat IV member of staff

(A) 10
.

Th
e basic acts of the relevant funding programmes open the participation to
experts (na
tural persons) without any nationality
-
restrictions
. Nationality restrictions are
only applicable at the level of the tenderer, not the nationality of the individual experts.


(Q) 11.
Sub
-
contractors
.

With reference to Page 20/21 of the ITT, sub
-
contracti
ng would
appear to imply that a sub
-
contractor would undertake the task for the Tenderer, and that work
would not be reviewed by the Tenderer.



In the case where a tender involves the use of local firms to provide audit resources (for
example senior audit
ors and assistant auditors) as part of the audit methodology and where the
work of the local auditors was to be reviewed by the Tenderer, please can you advise whether
this arrangement would still be considered as sub
-
contracting.

(A) 11
.

T
he Tenderer is f
ully responsible at all times for the
quality
of the work no matter
whether this work is subcontracted or performed by the Tenderer's own

staff. The Tenderer
has a duty of care towards the Commission.

As this responsibility cannot be subcontracted
,
key exp
erts must be provided by the tende
rer or the tendering consortium
.

Please refer to Article II.7 “Subcontracting” of the General Conditions o
f Service
Framework Contracts, Framework Service Contract Mode
l
, Annex II.1

and Annex II. 2. t
o
the Invitation to T
e
nder.




(Q) 12.
Audits of External Aid Actions

With regards to audits of the various types of external aid actions, please can you confirm
whether the framework contract will cover audits of external aid actions with commitments
from non EuropeAid budget
, as well as audits of external aid actions with commitments from
EuropeAid budget and commitments from EDF budget.

(A) 12.

T
his is correct. The
A
udit Framework Contract cover
s

services in the field of
audits of external aid actions financed by the Europea
n Commission from the European
Development Fund (EDF) and the General Budget of the European Union (EU Budget)
.
External aid actions primarily relate

to

actions managed by EuropeAid Cooperation Office
and EU Delegations
. However, any
other
Commission DGs
w
hich are implementing
external aid actions financed from the Budget or the EDF (these include in
particular
DG
ECHO, DG ELARG
, DG TRADE and FPI but occasionally other DGs such as for example
AGRI) may use the Audit Framework Contract.

7




(Q) 13.
Secondary C
ompetition

Please can you confirm that following award of a maximum of 4 framework contracts with
contractors, that:

(Q) 13
.1
.
There will be a secondary competition amongst all of the contractors (maximum of
4) for
each Specific Request for Service (RFS),
irrespective of the framework contractors
ranking (1


4) for the overall framework contract.



(A) 13
.1
.

Your understanding is correct.
Please refer to
II.1.5 of the Contract notice and
Article

4 and
Article

5 of
Annex I

“Tender S
pecifications
” to the Inv
itation to T
ender.

(Q) 13
2
.

No preference will be given to the order of the framework contractors ranking 1



4

for the award of the contract in response to the RFS.


(A) 13
.2
.

Your understanding is correct.
Please refer to
Article

4 “Procedures for
concl
uding specific contracts

under Lots 1 and 2” and
Article

5 “Procedures for concluding
specifi
c contracts under Lot 3”of the “Tender S
pecifications
”, Annex I

to the Invitation to
T
ender.

(Q) 13
.3
.

Please can you also confirm that the scoring for this second
ary co
mpetition will be
80% technical
, 20 % financial
.



(A) 13
.3
.

Please refer to
Article
4 “Procedures for concluding specific contracts under
Lots 1 and 2” and
Article
5 “Procedures for concluding specific contracts under Lot 3”of
the tender specificati
ons
, Annex I

to the Invitation to T
ender.


(Q) 14.
Assessment of project experience/technical and professional capacity
.

The technical quality evaluation grid provided in the ITT (P28) does not appear to list
allocation of scoring for Technical and Profess
ional capacity of a bidder


relevant audit
services provided in the last 3 years.


Please can you clarify how details of the list of relevant
audit services completed in Annex I.2 will be assessed, or confirm whether this section is an
area where the Tend
erer is purely required to ‘pass’ an internal threshold set by the European
Commission, in order to be considered eligible as a potential contractor.

(A) 14.

The professional experience of the tenderers is part of the selection criteria as per
Article
3.3

of the Tender Specifications, Annex I to the Invitation to Tender
, therefore it is
a yes/no assessment on the basis of minimum requirements
. The technical quality
evaluation grid is part of the award criteria as per Section 3.4

of the Tender Specification
s,
Annex I to the Invitation to Tender

and is based on a score in order to elect the best offers
.





8


(Q) 15.
Use of local auditors

With regards to staffing and performance of audits, please can you advise whether is it a
requirement that a local auditor

be a part of the audit team for each audit in any given country
where the audit is being performed?

(A) 15
.

Please refer to Articles 4.2 and 4.3 of
Annex I “Tender Specifications” to the
Invitation to T
ender and to
the
website
with the
terms of reference
for audits
.

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/work/framework
-
contract/audit2010/tor_for_financial_and_systems_audits_en.htm

For example you can refer to section 4.2
(Qu
alifications, Experience and Team
Composition)
of the ToR for financial audi
ts
. Local knowle
dge (e.g. language skills,
knowledge of relevant laws, regulations and rules)
may be required (this is optional) on a
case
-
by
-
case basis. This doesn't necessarily mean that the expert / auditor must be a local
but in practice that will often be the case. T
here is normally never a formal requirement to
use local auditors.


(Q)

16
.
Staffing of the consortium

With regards to the financial offer (P30 of the ITT), it is stated that financial offer of tenders
will be made on the basis of the average overall fee r
ate weighed for each category, as shown
below:



Cat I


Partner


20%

Cat II


Audit Manager


30%

Cat II


Senior Auditor


30%

Cat IV


Assistant Auditor


20%

Please can you clarify whether the weighting per category, is also an indication of the amoun
t
of time that each
category of expert will be required to spend on each audit.

(A) 16
.
Please refer to
Article

3.4.2 Financial Offer of
the “Tender Specifications”, Annex
I to the Invitation to T
ender which states:

C
omparison of financial offers of tender
ers will be made on the basis of the
average
overall fee rate weighed for each category as follows:


Category I: 20%; category II: 30%; category 3: 30% and category 4: 20%.

Th
e amount of time is not used in the computation
.


9


(Q) 17.
Mobilisation following

contract signature

We understand from the Invitation to Tender (ITT) that it is expected that the contractor will
be able to provide experts at short notice for specific engagements to be contracted under Lot
1 and

2 of the FWC (P 25 of the ITT)
.


Please
could you provide an approximate typical
timeframe between the signing of a contract for a specific engagement under the FWC and the
mobilisation of audit resources when you would expect the audit work to commence.


(A) 17
.

Please refer to the website with

the terms of reference for audits.

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/work/framework
-
contract/audit2010/tor_for_financial_and_systems_audits_en.htm

For example you can refer to section
6
.2
(Planning and Fieldwork)
of the ToR for financial
audits.

Start of the
audit
.
The date of signature of the Commission's order form or other applicable
contractual document for the audit is the official starting date of the audit.

The Auditor should contact the Entity as soon as possible to prepare the audit and to agree
a da
te to start the fieldwork but not before the audit has been formally announced by the
Commission. This should not be later than 7 calendar days from the starting date of the
audit.


(Q) 18.
Page limitations & Annexes

(Q) 18.
1

Please can you advise whether
the page limit outlined for the methodology is a strict
limitation or should this be used for guidance purposes to get an overview of the level of
information that is required to be included in the tender.


(A) 18.
1

The page limitations in Annex I.8 and An
nex I.9 to the Invitatio
n to T
ender
are
maximum number of
pages which is
are mandatory and
this
shall be
respected
.

The
description / narratives shall be sufficient, clear and self
-
explanatory. That means that it
should
not

be necessary to refer to annexes

to understand the methodology.


(Q) 18.
2

In order to support information provided in the methodology, will the contracting
authority accept annexes, so for example: organograms or listings?

(A) 18.
2

Yes, this can be useful to illustrate or detail informat
ion provided in the
descriptions / narratives (see (A) 18.2 but it is not necessary.


10



(Q) 1
9
.
Eligible nationalities

In section VI of the contract notice: Complementary information, point VI.3) Additional
information point 2, the eligible nationalities o
f the candidates are listed. Could yo
u please
kindly clarify if this
criteria applies only to legal entities involved in a consortium or also for
subcontractors? Given the geographical spread of the contract, we assume it is the former but
would appreciate

your confirmation on this point.

(
A) 19.

This criteri
on

does not
appl
y
for subcontr
ac
tors

nor
for
the nationality of individual
experts
. I
t
does apply to
the nationality of the tenderer(s)
.


(Q)
20
.
Submission of tender

Although in the invitation to tend
er it is requested to submit the tender in one original and 3
copies, in the service tender submission form (annex III to the invitation to tender) it is stated:
“one signed original of this tender submission form must be supplied, together with five
copie
s and a CD
-
rom”. Could you please confirm that one original, 3 copies and a CD
-
ROM
is correct?

(A) 20.

Please read as provided for in the invitation to tender: 1 original, 3 copies and 1
CD
-
Rom.


(Q)
21
.
List of audit services

With regards to the annex I.2

(lot 1) and I.3 (lot 2): technical and professional capacity


list
of relevant audit services provided in the past 3 years, we would like to know whether project
references implemented only by consortium members and subcontractors can be included or
is i
t possible to also include references from our wider international network of firms by for
instance producing an undertaking on the part of these entities? If the latter is acceptable,
please could you also confirm vis
-
à
-
vis question 1
(Q 19)
above that th
ese can be worldwide
or if there are any specific eligibility criteria to adhere to?

(A)
21

Audit services provided in the past 3 years and listed in the application must have
been implemented by the tenderer or members of the tendering consortium only.


11



(Q)
22
.
Exclusivity statement

Could you clarify if all our auditors involved in this contract (i.e. NOT freelancers)
irrespective
of the
XXX

network firm they are employed by are under the obligation to sign
an exclusivity statement? It goes without say
ing that any full time employee we put forward
for the execution of this framework contract is by definition exclusively working for our firm
or one of our Member network firms and no other.

(A) 22
.
All key experts stated on the list of key experts (Sectio
n 3.3.2.2 of the Tender
Specifications, Annex I to the Invitation to Tender)
must sign an exclusivity statement.


(Q) 23. Auditors not employed
by the
submitting legal entity

Could you clarify if we are entitled to put forward auditors who are not employee
s of the legal
entity which is submitting for this framework contract, but are employees of member firms of
our network?

(A) 23.

Member firms of the network of the submitting legal entity are de facto consortium
members. Key experts employed by consortium

members can be stated in the list of key
experts (Section 3.3.2.2 of the Tender Specifications, Annex I to the Invitation to Tender).


(Q) 24. Page limitations and annexes

Could you clarify if bidders are allowed to include

annexes in excess of the maxi
mum number
of pages indicated in the tender specifications? Indeed, you have set a minimum number of
expert CVs to be included, but if we surpass this minimum we are bound to surpass the
minimum number of pages allowed. Could you clarify if CVs and project

references form part
of the proposal or can be included in annex?

(A) 24.

See Answers A18
.
1 and A18
.
2
.


12



(Q) 25. Network of firms


statement of legal entity on capacity and resources

In addition to the evidence required under 3.3.2.2 relating to the te
chnical and professional
capacity, and the current list of the Member Firms in our network (as required in the
Tenderer's Declaration in Annex IV), we plan to include in our tender a statement from our
legal entity, signed by our authorised representative,

confirming that we will have at our
disposal, via our network of Member Firms, the capacity and resources required to carry out
the audit engagements worldwide.

Given that, in the event our tender is successful, the
signature of any contract, audit opini
on etc. would be the sole responsibility of our legal entity
(as single contractor), could you please confirm if the above
-
mentioned statement from our
legal entity would be acceptable and sufficient?

(A) 25.

See answer A23. Member firms which are part of
the same network as the legal
entity submitting the tender are de facto consortium members

(as far as they are established
in an eligible country). Furthermore the existence of the network

agreement renders
unnecessary the signature of an undertaking for n
on
-
eligible firms which belong to the
network and which would act as subcontractor
s

of the tendering consortium
.


Hence, it is not necessary for this legal entity to provide a statement, signed by its
authorised representative, confirming that it has at i
ts disposal, via its network of Member
Firms, the capacity and resources required to carry out the audit engagements worldwide.


(Q) 26. Network outside EU/GPA countries

In the contract notice it states that this call for tender is reserved to legal enti
ties based in the
EU Member States or in GPA countries. Nevertheless, we are asked in the tender
specifications to ensure we can cover audits worldwide. Could you confirm that we may rely
on the capacity of our network outside of the EU/GPA countries in or
der to be able to meet
the requirement to cover audits worldwide.


(A) 26.

See answer A25. The legal entity submitting the tender may rely on the capacity of
the member firms of its worldwide network including member firms which are not based in
EU/GPA cou
ntries.

13


(Q) 27 Request for extension of the deadline to submit tender files

We fully appreciate that there was no requirement from the Commission to provide immediate
responses to any clarifications submitted regarding the tender, however, we do feel tha
t a
response to our query re eligibility of firms based in certain countries was fundamental before
we could look to organise appropriate groupings of firms to form an ‘eligible’ consortium.



We felt this was a particularly poignant question as from our o
wn experience of performing
previous EuropeAid and EDF audits, it is normally the case that beneficiary countries are
eligible to participate, however the notice appeared to indicate

the contrary for this particular
assignment, and we needed to be absolute
ly sure on which countries were eligible for
participation before proceeding with tender preparation.

We now acknowledge kind receipt of your response to this, and our other queries, but would
note that more than 5 weeks of the tender preparation time has
already passed. We are
effectively only now able to form our consortium grouping in the knowledge of which firms
are eligible to be included in the tendering consortia.



As I am sure you will understand,
organising a consortium grouping and collating all
necessary documentation from the
consortium firms, does take a considerable amount of time.




We understand that all potential tenderers are in the same position, but I am writing to enquire
if in light of this fundamental position only being clarified y
esterday, and with only 4 weeks
remaining of an original 9 weeks preparation time, is the Commission considering an
extension to the current tender deadline (06/12/2013) to take into account the time that has
already lapsed whilst awaiting clarification on

the key question re eligibility.

(A) 27.

The deadline to submit tender files will be extended. This change will be published
with a corrigendum in the Official Journal as soon as possible.