Common Documents in Procurement

The following documents can have different names in each organisation.

Procurement Process Step


Document´s Name




Bill Of Quantities

A document used in tendering in the construction industry in which materials, parts, and labour (and their costs) are itemised.


Request for Expression Of Interest

A formal notification aimed at determining the capacity, interest, and availability of potential suppliers in the market to deliver the goods and services required.


Request For Information

Is used to supplement the writing of the technical annexes to the solicitation documents and ensure those are accurate and have a comprehensive set of requirements.



Purchase Request

The standard and official form to request a purchase.


Scope of Work

SOWs can be used for different contexts:

  • SOWs can be used in all types of civil, mechanical, electrical or other engineering/installation services for works, as well as the supply of construction materials and equipment included therein. It provides all information required to allow the contractor to undertake the works. 
  • SOWs also are used for detailed product specifications, utilised when organisations need to be highly involved with the product development process, including detailed material specifications. 


Terms of Reference

A description of the work to be performed, the level of quality and effort, the timeline and the deliverables, used to define the performance requirements for services that cannot easily quantified.


Technical Specifications

A document drawn up by the contracting authority setting out its requirements and/or objectives in respect of the provision of supplies, specifying, where relevant, the methods and resources to be used and/or results to be achieved.



Request For Quotation

A written request made to suppliers for the purchase of goods or services, up to a maximum value established by the organisation.


Invitation To Bid

A letter sent to selected candidates in a restricted procedure or competitive negotiated procedure inviting them to submit a bid. This term is use interchangeably with “RFQ” in this guide.


Request For Proposal

A written request made to suppliers for complex purchase exceeding the maximum value established by the organisation. This term is use interchangeably with “Tender Dossier” in this guide.


Tender Dossier

The dossier compiled by the Contracting Authority and containing all the documents needed to prepare and submit a tender.



Evaluation Table

Tool aimed to compare the different bids received and present them in a Comparative Table.


Tender Report

Document where present every detail about a tender process, including a comparative table and a reasoned proposition to award the contract

Ordering and Contracting


Purchase Order

A financial commitment that confirms the purchase details (Units, quantity, price, delivery time and Location, etc), formalising the Order


Terms and Conditions

The applicable rules governing the purchase of a product, service or works.



Legally binding agreement between the organisation and the supplier. It defines the Terms and Conditions for the good and services provision, as well as the signatories related rights and obligations. (see Contracts).


Long-Term or Framework Agreement

A contract concluded between a Contracting Authority and an economic operator for the purpose of laying down the essential terms governing a series of specific contracts to be awarded during a given period, in particular as regards the duration, subject, prices, conditions of performance and the quantities envisaged. ( see LTAs)



Delivery note

Documentary proof that the supplier commitments have been fulfilled.


Reception note

Documentary evidence of the transfer of responsibility of a cargo.


Commercial Invoice

A document that state the parties involved in the transaction, describe the goods purchased and indicate their value.

Documentation Management

Each specific purchase will need to be in compliance with each organisation's own procurement procedures and donor requirements. Every procurement process must be justified and thoroughly documented, having its own dossier containing all the documents related to a procedure. A procurement dossier can be thought of as a set of documents that justifies the steps taken in a particular procedure. Not all dossiers will be the same in volume and complexity, but all dossiers should be preserved for later use.

A proper filing system ensures that records are properly maintained during a fixed period of time for internal and external use. 

  • Internally - An adequate filing system increases efficiency and reduces wasted time during the preparation of reports and audits. The appropriate file reflects the principles of the Organisation and provides Professionalism and Transparency.
  • Externally - The organisation is responsible for justifying the acquisition, use and disposal of materials, services, equipment, etc. to donors.

A filing system has no value if the documents are not duly completed and signed. Only employees to whom such responsibility has been formally assigned should be authorised to sign documents. Those employees must understand the meaning of their signature in terms of their responsibilities and consequences for the organisation. Files must be kept for months or years, depending on donor requirements or internal audit guidelines. 

Standardisation Tools


Most of the forms handled by logistics personnel have or should have specific codes (references) that allow them to be connected and subsequently tracked. Typically, a form includes its own reference for easy identification, as well as one or more references to link it to the other documents. Forms are filed according to their references, and the proper use of references has a direct impact on the archive. When someone (internal or external) needs information about the history of our operations, the correct use references (encoding) facilitate access.

These codes might include information about the country, the office and the department requesting the purchase plus a running number.

As an example, a purchase requisition for the logistics team in Rome, might follow the below convention.

Unique Number

Document Type









Purchase Requisition

When written, the code might look like:


This short hand code will allow any person to quickly identify documents and know at least some level of information about the document. The order types of information are specific to the agency managing the files, however. Some agencies may wish to use the date as a unique code, while others may choose to use a running number sequence. Also - some agencies prefer to have unique number sequences for each document type (PR/PO) while others may want to have singular numbers that do not change throughout the different documents within the dossier. The need for each will be specific to individual agency's needs. 


Large volumes and types of documentation are common in emergency response. Labelling each folder and/or box in the most harmonised way possible with the thought process of who will coming after the initial response phase is important. The common archiving approach allows documents to be tracked more easily, while also allowing sensitive files to be identified faster in an emergency. All related folders must be clearly labelled and separated using a colour, number, or other identifiable pattern, and stored in a safe, dry and secure location. Electronic filing systems should match paper files.

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