'Competitive dialogue follows a similar start to normal prequalification. Then parties are invited to participate in dialogue, ' says ODA procurement director Morag Stuart.
The dialogue process involved interviews, written and oral presentation and an 'events in the life of the ODA' simulation exercise. This crammed all of the foreseeable crises that could emerge over the six year delivery period into a single day.
The simulation day was led and assessed by a third party organisation, which evaluated how each consortium interacted with the ODA under pressure.
'We held parallel dialogues with all of the participants over two weeks.
The idea was to bring to life what we wanted.' The ODA invited each consortium to put up 10 individuals for the dialogue.
These people would be expected to front the project if the consortium was selected for the job. The ODA marked each bidder man for man, putting 10 of its own staff into each dialogue session.
'We also asked them to commit those personnel for six years, until the project is completed. People could say OK that's fine, or no, we can't accept.
'As we went through the process, we laid out our ideals and were able to develop four different, divergent solutions, based on the ideas of each consortium.' Stuart says that the ODA has adopted an output based contract, which gave each bidder scope to draw up and pursue their own methodology.