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We have a tender document, and it lists how the offer should be proposed. Basically this is split into 3 sections:

  1. Rationale
  2. Strategy
  3. Details of Proposal

Under section 2., there is this clause:

A description of the support facilities (back-stopping) that the contractor and his team will have during the execution of the contract

What does the phrase 'back-stopping' mean, in this context? Just for reference, below you can find the entire content of 2. Strategy.


  • An outline of the approach proposed for contract implementation.
  • A list of the proposed activities considered to be necessary to achieve the contract objectives
  • The related inputs and outputs
  • In the case of a tender being submitted by a consortium, a description of the input from each of the consortium partners and the distribution and interaction of tasks and responsibilities between them
  • A description of the support facilities (back-stopping) that the contractor and his team will have during the execution of the contract
  • A description of sub-contracting arrangements foreseen, if any and within the limit indicated in clause 3 of the Instructions to tenderers, with a clear indication of the tasks that will be entrusted to a sub-contractor and a statement by the tenderer guaranteeing the eligibility of any sub-contractor
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Also see pictures of backstops that illustrate the usual sense in the U.S. of backstop – jwpat7 Feb 7 '13 at 16:13
I reccomend moving this to ELL. – Canis Lupus Feb 7 '13 at 16:40
Yes, a "back stop" is the fence behind "home plate" in baseball, and it serves to prevent foul balls from flying backwards into the bleachers. By analogy, anything that stops/deflects/controls errant objects or activities is a "back stop". – Hot Licks Nov 24 '14 at 23:23
up vote 1 down vote accepted

/ˈbakˌstäp/ Noun A person or thing placed at the rear of or behind something as a barrier, support, or reinforcement. Verb Support or reinforce: "the founding banks were backstopping the loans".

Your document pretty much defines it as support facilities and then puts this equivalent colloquialism in parentheses.

In this case, they are using a bit of license (not much) with a word that is already a metaphor. They use it to mean that capability that they have to support or back-up (stand behind) their activities in relation to the execution of their responsibilities.

In this case, I would read it as "capabilities to mitigate risk (prevent things from going wrong)," just as the physical backstop keeps the ball on the field, where it can be controlled.

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I learned the term as "bat-stop", as in a fence or net that stops bats after the hitter swings and throws the bat away. If that were the root term, that would make back-stop a back-formation. – Alex Chaffee Feb 7 '13 at 17:58
Thanks a lot, this explains it all! – Karl Cassar Feb 7 '13 at 20:11

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