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Help Privacy Terms. This research used thematic analysis as proposed by King and Horrocks All focus groups were conducted in Dhivehi local Maldivian language and transcribed in the same language. However, all the coding was done in English.


The transcripts were coded in a three-tier approach, starting with descriptive coding, followed by interpretive coding and finally defining overarching themes. The transcripts included gestural information e. This information was kept as part of the quotations in order to illustrate the discussion, but the object of coding was the verbal information. For the purpose of formulating the narrative that forms the proposed inductive theory, important and supporting quotations were translated into English.

It was evident, as the MoE had mentioned in the preliminary meetings, that all the institutions follow the same procedure for procurement. It repeatedly reinforced at multiple times during the focus groups that the tender evaluation method had to be in-line with the Maldivian legal requirements, mainly to safeguard the BEC, the institution, suppliers and the public as a whole. It was repeatedly stated that the BEC is a legal body to evaluate bids consisting of senior public officials.

BECs are required to explicitly express the reasons for selection or rejection of any bid.

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For the decision making context, bid evaluated results are the reason for selection or rejection. Public Finance Regulation states two compulsory bid evaluation criteria, namely price and duration of delivery, and this was confirmed by the participants in the focus group:. Justifiability of the prices submitted by suppliers compared to the estimated price of the procurement material or service. Nonetheless, the most common strategy on selection is to give the major focus on price by setting higher weight for this criterion whilst other criteria are also being considered.

However, in specific cases, such procurement of technical equipment, more importance may be given to the required specification rather than the price.

But the highest cost bid may exactly meet our spec. This meeting will provide explanation and discussion of the written details of requirements of the procurement products or services. The meeting also explicitly discusses the evaluation methods and the criteria and weights used, which are also part of the formal documentation.

Since currently BECs are using the weighted sum for all public procurements, it is expected that the potential bidders know how the calculations are done. However, in some information sessions, the evaluation calculations are explained. This information session provides the opportunity for the bidders to clarify their doubts.

If the answers are readily available, it is provided during information the session, otherwise sent to all the bidders after the session, either by email or by telephone. Those queries will be answered during the session. Performances for all the criteria of each individual successful bidder are evaluated by the BEC.

No bid can be discarded a priori based on an unexpected low level of performance of any of the criteria. In explaining the process, a BEC member provided the following illustration:. Even if a bidder submits a bid with MVR However, BECs are also concerned about unreasonable lower bid prices by the bidders to win the bid. In such cases, the BEC estimates the cost and if any bid is below a reasonable cost estimate, the bid gets cancelled stating the reason. All BEC members who attended the evaluation session need to sign the evaluated sheets. Some suppliers get suspended for a certain period of time by the BEC due to previous undesirable experiences with them.

In such cases, bids from those suppliers are not considered until the suspension is over. After evaluation, the BEC decides who the winner is and the winner is informed through a letter. No separate letters are sent to the bidders who did not win. However, the letter to the winner gets copied to all the bidders, so that every bidder knows who won the bid. The calculated evaluation results are not sent to bidders.

However, if any bidder requests the calculations, it is then provided but hardly any bidder requests for the details. No other methods have been tried in evaluation of bids in the Maldivian Public Sector. BECs assume that the weighted sum provides accurate results for evaluating the best bid.

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BEC members, not normally being statisticians, are not always aware that there are other more suitable methods for bid evaluation. This research aimed at breaking this tendency and at investigating if any other MCDA methods can be used. When asked, BEC members were somewhat evasive but expressed the belief that any other method to be adopted would have to be in line with law and regulation and would have to be approved by the Ministry of Finance in a first instance and ultimately by the Parliament.

This research aims at forming the basis for such a proposal. Therefore, these are the operational criteria that need to be combined with legal criteria to enable the selection of a suitable MCDA method. A full list of operational requirements, emerged from the field research, are presented in Appendix 2.

In the case of this research, the criteria-based evaluation of the MCDA methods is performed against operational requirements of the Maldivian context gathered as described above. This process was reported in-depth in other publications. However and to illustrate the use of the operational and legal requirements identified in this paper, a rejected method and a selected method is presented as follows. MAUT aims to obtain the maximum overall utility with tradeoffs of the attainment of some objectives against other objectives.

Huang states that MAUT is a quantitative method which has an orderly process to identify and analyse multiple variables to find a solution. By applying the developed MAU multi-attribute utility function a decision maker can find the utility of every alternative, to identify the alternative with highest utility to select.

The expression of MAU function given by Huang is as follows: where n is the number of attribute, u i is a single-attribute utility function over attribute i , w i is the weight for attribute i and. If inconsistency is found in MAUT, the preference information of the decision maker has to be changed. However in public sector procurement as mentioned above, the weights are announced in advance and even if the decision is not favourable based on sensitivity analysis, it is not possible to make changes to weights.

When it is done, it can be used to evaluate many alternatives.

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  • Sensitivity analysis could balance the likely inaccuracy in the measurements. However, there is no psychological justification for the questions faced by decision maker Moshkovich et al. Public sector procurement evaluations are done by senior officials of the public sector and they have responsibilities other than the BEC limiting their time.

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    Undergoing training and holding onto it during MAUT analysis incorporate practical difficulties. In addition, the BEC may change from time to time and would require the training to be conducted every time a new member joins the BEC. Technique for order preference by similarity to an ideal solution TOPSIS is accepted as suitable for the Maldivian context based on the legal and operational requirements.

    A further drawback stated by Tsaur is that a narrow gap between the performed measures is derived in the normalized scale for each criterion due to the operation of normalized decision matrix. Therefore, with a narrow gap in the method, it is not good for ranking and cannot reflect the true dominance of alternatives. When drawbacks are compared to the public sector procurement as discussed in operational requirements, having monotonic criteria could be considered, as public sector requires pre-announced criteria with its weights for each bid or tender which cannot be changed later in the procurement process.

    The next drawback of having narrow gap between the performance measures after normalisation still provides relative comparative figures, even though small, which can still be used for calculation.

    Procurement Systems

    Finally, the public sector is looking for the best alternative based on the performance criteria as described in public sector requirements. The best alternative should be the alternative closest to the ideal solution even if the alternative is not the furthest from the negative ideal solution. Therefore, in the public sector procurement context, the best alternative by TOPSIS, by chance not being the furthest from the negative ideal solution is acceptable as the alternative that will be the closest to the ideal solution. Considering the above mentioned drawbacks in TOPSIS have no direct conflict with public sector requirements, the method is considered appropriate.

    This paper describes the identification of the operational requirements for the public education sector procurement in the Maldives. The operational requirements involve legal and practical constraints of public sector procurement. In order to identify the operational requirements a field research was conducted involving focus groups and analysis of official tendering and BEC documentation.

    Based on the field research, it is evident that the public sector has legal and practical difficulties to adopt many of the available MCDA methods for bid evaluation.