Procurement Glossary Part 1 – Accelerated Procedure to Business Questionnaire

Blog | July 18, 2015

Procurement GlossaryProcurement has its fair share of jargon and specialised language. We thought it would be useful to provide a procurement glossary, a guide to the terms that you’ll find in procurement situations.

Accelerated Procedure

A standard procurement process, but carried out within a reduced timeframe. Such contracts should be marked as such with a justification included.

Acceptance Letter

The formal notification from a buyer that a supplier’s offer has been approved and accepted.


The over-arching ‘whole life-cycle’ process which includes procurement as a sub-section. Contractors involved in acquisition planning stages can often shape the procurement requirement to their specialisms.


The process of adding together similar types of existing or likely procurement requirement (often necessary to ensure Regulations regarding public advertisement of contracts are adhered to).

Agreement In Principle

This suggests the likelihood of a contract being awarded based on information available to date. It is not a formal contract, and allows flexibility for the buyer.

Alcatel Letter

A communication sent to unsuccessful tenderers at the end of a procurement process. Shows the categories used for evaluation and respective scores.

Alcatel Period

A period of usually ten days between communicating the result of a tender exercise and signing the contract. Also known as Standstill Period.


A formal agreement between buyer and numerous contractors. Intended to encourage working together and sharing specialist skills for the benefit of the project. In certain instances, risk and reward is also shared.

Anchor Milestones

The forecast completion dates for key stages of a project process. If delays occur to these dates, there is a likelihood that the overall project completion date will be affected.


A review of a potential supplier’s ability to meet the buyer’s criteria or required standards.

Approved List

An index of contractors or suppliers that have previously been deemed as suitable for providing required products/services. See also Preferred Suppliers List.

At A Price To Be Agreed

The signing of a contract without an agreed price in place. This is dangerous, and should only occur when an Instruction To Proceed has been placed with a financial cap stated. In this instance the buyer should look to fix the price as soon as is possible.

Audit Trail

A record of events within a procurement process to provide transparency and prove integrity.

Authorised Officer

A procurement professional with authorisation (from management) to undertake procurement activity.


A body authorised to issue purchase orders and coordinate purchasing activities.

Automatic Suspension

The result of an aggrieved unsuccessful tenderer issuing a claim form. It prevents a contract from being awarded before a court hearing has taken place.

Award Criteria

The key factors used to assess a supplier’s tender submission against the relevant requirement.

Award Decision Notice

The communication sent to a successful tenderer to end a procurement process. Constitutes the Standstill Letter.

Award Notice

The publication of details of the procurement process’s conclusion and name of the successful tenderer.


Checking results of procurement events against targets, published prices or those of similar procurement functions in other organisations.

Best And Final Offer (BAFO)

A partly or completely reworked proposal based on feedback from the buyer to the initial submission. Can help provide more differentiation between shortlisted suppliers.

Best Practice

Procurement strategies recognised as professional and effective across the industry

Best Value

The supplier that demonstrates best overall quality, experience, expertise and value – rather than just the lowest tender price.

Bills Of Quantity

Lists detailing required items, quantities and additional costs (eg. labour) into which costs are inserted by tenderers.


The failure to carry out works as formally and contractually agreed.


The use of a middleman to obtain goods or services in a procurement process.

Business Questionnaire

A request for general business information to ensure basic suitability of suppliers for the procurement need. Usually includes details of business size, location, turnover and capacity. More commonly known as ‘Pre-Qualification Questionnaire’.

This is the first in a series of posts that will constitute the Procurement Glossary. Follow the blog to keep up with the latest news too.