Unsolicited Proposals

An unsolicited proposal (USP) is a proposal made by a private party to undertake a public-private partnership (PPP) project, submitted at the initiative of the private firm, rather than in response to a request from the government.

Governments may be presented with unsolicited proposals for infrastructure projects by private sector entities. How to respond to unsolicited bids so as to protect transparency in the procurement process and recognize the initiative of the proponent, is typically difficult.

A number of approaches have been developed, and examples are set out below:

How to Manage Unsolicited Proposals


The United Nation Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) has produced the useful UNCITRAL Legislative Guide 2019. Chapter III, section E of the guide provides guidance on both policies and procedures for dealing with unsolicited proposals and distinguishes between proposals that do or do not require proprietary concepts or technology. 

It sets out suggested legislative language in provisions 25 to 28 of its text Model Legislative Provisions on Public-Private Partnerships 2019.

Whenever a host authority receives an unsolicited bid, UNCITRAL recommends that the authority first consider whether the proposal is potentially in the public interest. If so, the authority then requests further information from the proponent in order to make a full evaluation. If the authority decides to go ahead with the project, it determines whether the project necessarily involves intellectual property, trade secrets or other exclusive rights of the proponent. For projects that do not involve these rights, a full selection procedure is followed, with the proponent being invited to take part in the selection. If it does necessarily involve the proponent's intellectual property, a full selection procedure does not need to be followed.


New South Wales (NSW)

The Guide for Submission and Assessment of Unsolicited Proposals (2017) outlines a transparent and streamlined approach that will facilitate the NSW Government and private sector working together to develop and deliver innovative ideas. It has been developed to help those considering making a submission to confirm compatibility with the requirements of the process. Its key objective is to provide consistency and certainty to private sector participants as to how their unsolicited proposals will be assessed within a transparent framework with key drivers for the NSW Government being how the proposal helps meet a strategic Government objective and value for money.

Australian Capital Territory Government

The main objective of the Guidelines for Unsolicited Proposals is to provide consistency and clarity to any parties involved in an Unsolicited Proposal submission, both private and public sectors. The Guidelines describes how the Government evaluates submissions and, if appropriate, determines the process for reaching contractual agreement on their implementation in order to meet the Government’s principles of acting in the public interest, delivering value for money, and achieving appropriate delivery.


The Guidelines on Managing Unsolicited Proposals under Republic Act No. 6957 as Amended by Republic Act No. 7718, apply solely to all Unsolicited Proposals covered under the BOT Law and the Implementing Rules and Regulations.


Chile has adopted an approach whereby the project proponent is required to take part in a fully competitive tender process, but is given bonus points in relation to the evaluation. The process to manage unsoliticed proposals is found in detail (in Spanish) in a regulation (secondary legislation) to the law (reglamento) Reglamento 956 Chilean Concession Regulations 956. Click on Chile Summary for a summary of the regulations.

Puerto Rico

The Guidelines for the Preparation, Evaluation, Selection, and Procurement of Public-Private Partnerships through Unsolicited Proposals describes a three stage development process. The first stage includes a Screening with Compliance and Content review. During the second stage, the Project Development and Structuring, the Authority will develop a Study of Desirability and Convenience (Business Case). At the final stage, the Procurement Stage, the Authority will either (i) prepare and undertake a competitive procurement, or (ii) enter into direct negotiations with the Proponent.


The Public Private Partnership Act 2020, deals in details with Unsolicited Proposals in Article 54 and 55. 

South Africa

The South African National Roads Agency Policy - this grants the original proponent an advantage by giving it the opportunity to take part in the call for "best and final bids".


Government of Alberta

Alberta’s Unsolicited Proposal Framework and Guideline released in 2020, is intended to ensure that projects initiated as Unsolicited Proposals follow similar principles as the publicly initiated Public-Private Partnership projects during project development, procurement, and implementation.

Government of Ontario

If the government decides to proceed with a proposal, it will design a transaction and procurement structure that is best suited to delivering the project and protecting the public interest. The program does not limit the project size, asset class, delivery model, or type of proposal that may be submitted, see the Unsolicited proposals submission and assessment guidelines launched in 2019.

Country Examples in the PPP Reference Guide

The PPP Reference Guide provides the most relevant examples and resources on key PPP topics and helps readers navigate the substantial body of knowledge that has been generated across the world by practitioners from governments, international development institutions, academia, and the private sector.

Section 3.7 of the PPP Reference Guide deals with Unsolicited Proposals and describes how governnments, by managing USPs appropriately, may benefit from this approach while reducing potential risks. Benefits and Pitfalls of Unsolicited Proposals, Creating Competitive Tension, Dealing with Intellectual Property and Confidentiality and Defining Clear Policy and Processes are included in the section.

The Guide includes country examples from ChileColombiaIndonesiaItalyMexicoPhilippinesSouth Africa (roads sector), South KoreaUruguayCommonwealth of Virginia, United States of America (highways sector), on procurement strategies for unsolicited proposals. See Table 3.6 in the PPP Reference Guide - PPP Cycle

Further Reading and Resources

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Updated: March 18, 2022