Procurement and tender opportunities for suppliers

We are currently reviewing the content, links and documents for this page and each section will be updated shortly.

We currently spend in excess of £330 million each year on the procurement of goods, works and services. One of the ways in which we can achieve best value for the citizens of Warwickshire, is to ensure that everything, from paper clips to multi-million pound care contracts are purchased effectively and efficiently.

Current opportunities

More current opportunities...

Procurement on Twitter


E-Tendering


Since February 2010, Warwickshire County Council, Coventry City Council and Solihull Council have been working together on procurement. Our new joint E-Tendering platform, CSW-JETS, has now been launched and is the place where all 3 authorities will be advertising their tendering opportunities. Our colleagues in Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council and Rugby Borough Council are also using this common platform and it is hoped that other Warwickshire based public bodies will soon follow suit. This means that for the first time, there is a single point of access for the majority of Local Government tendering opportunities throughout the Coventry/Solihull/Warwickshire sub region. The benefits for you are:

    • Single point of access
    • Single registration to access tendering opportunities in multiple authorities
    • Automatic alerts to tendering opportunities appropriate to your organisation
    • Electronic processes making it easier for you to participate.

We would encourage you to register by visiting the CSW JETS website. To assist you in using the CSW-JETS supplier e-tendering portal, please download the step by step supplier guide to the CSW-JETS E-tendering supplier portal.

Contracts above the EU Tendering Threshold


We are required to advertise certain contracts (exceeding specified threshold levels) in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) Note – if you are searching for Warwickshire Council Contracts advertised in the European Journal search for ‘Warwick’ (for contracts advertised by WCC) or ‘Leicester’ (for contracts advertised by the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation on behalf of WCC (see below).

Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) Tenders


We are a member of the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) based in Leicester. ESPO is a local authority buying consortium and a significant number of the products and services purchased by us are purchased via contracts negotiated by ESPO. How to become an ESPO supplier

Other Public Sector Tender Opportunities


Supplier guidance

Introduction


This guide gives businesses and other organisations a better understanding of how we procure works, goods and services. It explains our approach to the seeking and acceptance of tenders and quotations, along with the relevant National and European legislation governing our approaches. There is a great deal of competition for our contracts, in order to win business potential suppliers will need to be competitive in price and provide high quality goods and services.

We currently spend in excess of £320m each year on bought in goods, services and works. One of the ways in which we can achieve best value for the citizens of Warwickshire and deliver efficiencies, is to ensure that everything – from pencils to multi-million pound projects – is purchased effectively and efficiently.

In November 2010, we formally endorsed a sub regional approach to procurement to support its ambitious savings agenda. We will be looking to work in procurement partnership whenever and wherever it can but with the emphasis being on the Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull sub region. To support this, we have agreed a Shared Procurement Strategy with Coventry City Council and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council. As a consequence of the shared strategy, all 3 authorities now have a shared definition of procurement:

“The whole process of acquisition from third parties and in-house providers and covers goods services and works. The process spans the whole life cycle from initial concept and definition of business need to the effective management of markets, through to the end of the useful life of an asset or end of services contract. It involves options appraisals and the critical “make or buy” decision which may result in the provision of services in-house in appropriate circumstances”

We recognise the role that Procurement has to play in achieving its wider corporate objectives including its social, economic and environmental ambitions. We are committed to non-discrimination in its procurement, with fair and transparent procedures and equal treatment of all potential suppliers.

We want to maximize the opportunity for a wide variety of organisations from all sectors including the Small and Medium Size Enterprise (SME) community and the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS), to trade with us helping them become ‘Fit to Compete’ and to win our business. We are also committed to improving its environmental performance and will be looking to its suppliers to assist in this.

We recognise the benefits of working effectively with its suppliers and wants its suppliers to provide innovative solutions and demonstrate a commitment to work with us to improve our efficiency and reduce our costs.

We expect the introduction of new technology to be have a significant impact on the costs associated with transacting with our suppliers. Our suppliers must therefore expect to see more procurement processes undertaken using an e-tendering platform and with the introduction of our new financial system ‘Agresso’ more order / invoice / payment transactions being undertaken electronically.


Why do business with us?

  • We are one of the County’s largest purchasers of goods, services and works.
  • We are a financially stable customer and we pay promptly usually within 30 days.
  • We have a legal duty to be fair, honest and professional in our choice and subsequent treatment of our suppliers.
  • We promote ethical, environmentally sound and non-discriminatory approaches that benefit the County and those who live and work here.
  • Wherever possible we seek innovative solutions to our requirements.
  • We want to support local businesses and are keen to promote partnerships where appropriate.

Strategic Procurement Unit and Departments of the County Council

We have a Strategic Procurement Unit responsible for providing a professional lead on procurement; coordination of corporate arrangements and ensuring that effective procurement processes and practices are in place and followed by our staff.

The approval of everyday purchasing and contracting is delegated to Departmental Managers. Managers may purchase against contracts they have established themselves, or against central or ESPO contracts where they exist, so long as they have appropriate budget provision. The initiation of new and substantial procurements, especially where they involve decisions on changing the nature of service provision, may need Councillor approval.


Best Value

Best Value is “the optimum balance between quality and cost”.

“Better procurement should be an integral part of best value as the achievement of best value depends on good procurement”.

Source: The Byatt Report into Local Government Procurement.

The need to secure ‘Best Value’ applies to all procurement exercises undertaken by us. We must ensure value for money throughout. From the buying process and the look to secure continuous improvement throughout the life of the contract. This means that contracts will not normally be awarded on the basis of lowest price alone but will be assessed against a combination of whole life costs and the quality required to meet the users needs. The whole life cost assessment might include the cost of acquisition and also takes into consideration indirect and administration costs as well as cost of ownership, residual values and disposal costs if appropriate.


The National Procurement Strategy

In 2003 the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) in conjunction with the Local Government Association published the National Procurement Strategy which sets out the procurement vision for the public sector.

The aim of this is to provide better public services, achieve continuous improvement, obtain better value for money and operate a mixed economy which includes small firms, social enterprises, minority businesses and the voluntary and community sector.

The targets set by the ODPM which are to be achieved by local authorities by the end of 2006 include:

  • Develop and implement a procurement strategy;
  • Be involved with a regional centre of excellence in procurement;
  • Identify opportunities for collaboration with neighbouring councils;
  • Implement an appropriate e-Procurement solution;
  • To stimulate markets and achieve community benefits;
  • Inform the local business community how to do business with the council.

Supplier checklist

The checklist is only intended as a guide to help prospective suppliers understand our policies and priorities. This list is not exhaustive, but it will give you an idea of how closely your company matches our preferred supplier profile.

We do not expect suppliers to be able to answer yes to every question. Different matters will be important in different cases and the specific requirements of each contract will be stated in the “Invitation to Tender” document.

Note – suppliers should not begin work or incur any expense in seeking to comply with any aspect of the checklist on the presumption of winning business from us. Any work that you do undertake is entirely at your own risk and cost.


How we buy goods and services

Standard terms and conditions for Contracts

These are the standard terms and conditions, as varied from time to time, which will apply to all our (‘the Council’) contracts except where we specifies that different terms and conditions will apply. If there is any conflict between these standard terms and conditions and any specific terms and conditions then the specified terms and conditions will take precedence.

Contracts for goods/services – standard umbrella terms, and additional special terms for goods and services:

Contracts for IT good/services – Standard umbrella terms, and additional special terms for IT deliverables and services:


Different types of contract

Framework Arrangements

An arrangement where terms and conditions are agreed with the suppliers of goods or services, which allows call-offs to be made without the need to go through another formal tendering process. The contract length will usually be 2 or 3 years with a disclosed option to extend for a specified further period. All the purchaser has to do, once the framework arrangement has been set up by competitive tender, is to place orders for goods or services as they are needed.

Framework arrangements are based on large volume purchasing. By aggregating purchasers’ potential needs, individual purchasers are able to obtain individual goods and services at prices below those normally charged, or with special added benefits or more advantageous conditions. A contract does not exist in law until each individual order is placed.

Our framework arrangements are normally tendered by the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO). Examples include stationery, cleaning materials and food. Where framework arrangements exist, purchasers are not expected to “shop around” but to use the existing arrangements. EU Directives and Contract Standing Orders have already been satisfied and all the purchaser needs to do is place an order. Where more than one supplier is offered under the arrangement, prices from each supplier may be compared at the time of the purchase.

One-off Contracts

These are contracts to meet a specific need and will generally be short-term contracts to supply goods and services to meet an individual requirement, e.g. the supply of specialist scientific equipment for the Trading Standards Service or the supply of consultancy services for a particular project.

A one – off tender will normally be carried out by the individual department, the department may call upon the services of ESPO or the Warwickshire County Council Business Consultancy Unit to help them.

Renewable or “period” Contracts

These are contracts for services required on a regular basis and are generally let over a longer period of time and will be monitored on a regular basis, e.g. school meals, building cleaning, grounds maintenance. Renewable contract tenders are usually carried out with the help of ESPO.

Commissioning

This is an arrangement where the council and another public body work together to arrange for something to be provided, and particularly applies to social services contracts.

Partnership Arrangements

This is where the County Council seeks to develop a relationship with a supplier based on “partnership principles” (but not a formal partnership) with a supplier thereby sharing the costs and risks involved, for example, civil engineering works and individual building schemes.


How the value of the contract affects the purchasing procedure

As a local authority, there are regulations at a European, national and local level which we need to follow when buying goods, services and works.

All contracts must be let in accordance with Warwickshire County Councils internal rules and regulations which govern its procurement and contracting activities. Our internal rules and regulations are agreed by the Council and form part of the Council’s Constitution. Contracts must also be let in accordance with the requirements of the EU Procurement Directives, which have been incorporated into UK law.

The procurement procedure, which the we follow, is largely determined by the aggregated value of the contract (i.e. If we are letting a 3 year contract with an option to extend for a further 1 year then the aggregated value is the value of the contract over 4 years). There are three procurement procedures that the council may follow:

  • Minor Contracts/ Low Value (with an aggregate value below £30,000) – These items are usually purchased through ESPO or other centrally negotiated arrangements. If not, then dependent on the aggregate value, Council Officers are required to obtain up to 3 written quotations and award the business to the company providing the Best Value quotation.
  • Ordinary Contracts/ Intermediate Value (with an aggregate value above £30,000 but below £156,442) – Usually, these contracts will be advertised on the Warwickshire County Council website, and, if appropriate, in the Official Journal of the European Union and/or trade journal. We will undertake a formal competitive procurement exercise for this level of contract and evaluate/award in terms of value for money and quality (Most Economically Advantageous Tender).
  • Major Contracts/ High Value – All contracts with an aggregate value over £156,442 must be awarded following a competitive procurement process and we evaluate/award in terms of value for money and quality (Most Economically Advantageous Tender). Contracts with values, which exceed the thresholds determined by the European Procurement Regulations (with the exception of some exempt services), must be advertised in OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union).

What are EU Procurement Directives?

We have a legal requirement to comply with the European Procurement regulations, which govern the way in which public sector procurement is conducted for contracts above certain specified thresholds. The European Procurement regulations have been enacted into UK law under the ‘Public Contract Regulations 2006′ as amended.

The Regulations require us to follow detailed procedures for all procurements (excluding those services specifically exempted within the EU regulations) with an aggregate contract value above the following financial thresholds.

The thresholds that apply between 1st January 2010 and 31st December 2011 are:

  • Services: £156,442
  • Supplies (Goods): £156,442
  • Works: £3,927,260

EU thresholds are fixed for periods of 2 years with the next change to threshold values being effective from 1st January 2012. As soon as revised threshold values are confirmed this website will be updated

Under the EU Procurement Directives, we can conduct their procurement using one of the following processes. The tendering process chosen is at the our discretion.

  • Open Procedure – A one-stage process, where all interested providers responding to an advertisement will be invited to submit a full tender.
  • Restricted Procedure – A two-stage process in which potential contractors expressing an interest in bidding are evaluated first through a pre qualification questionnaire. Then a shortlist is drawn up from the evaluation exercise for the purpose of inviting tenders.
  • Negotiated Procedure -This is when the Council, under certain limited circumstances, negotiates with one or more organisations of its choice.
  • Competitive Dialogue Procedure – This is intended to be used for large complex projects, in circumstances where it is difficult to assess what might be the best technical, legal and/or financial solutions. This is a newer procedure than the other procedures and is now more commonly used than the Negotiated Procedure. It is usually used where the Negotiated Procedure would previously have been used.

Approved Supplier Lists

Approved or standing lists are lists of companies who are considered able to carry out work to necessary standards and will be invited to tender for specific work or services. Being accepted on a standing list does not guarantee the award of contracts. Our departments use only a very few approved lists for items.

Property Services

The Council’s Property Services Department no longer maintains its own approved list of contractors and, instead, uses the services of Constructionline when the need arises to short list contractors to tender for individual projects.

Constructionline is a contractor pre-qualification service provided for the public sector and operated by Capita Symonds Ltd in partnership with the Department for Trade and Industry. Further details can be found on the Constructionline web site.

Opportunities to tender for building and engineering works have reduced in recent years as the department has adopted ‘partnership’ working with small groups of contractors. Partnership contracts are usually based on the National Schedule of Rates and are now used for most of our planned and reactive building and engineering maintenance work and also minor works and major contracts. Partnership contracts usually run for four years after which they are re-tendered.

Advertisements are placed in the local press and suitable trade journals when partnership contracts are due for renewal to which interested contractors are invited to respond. Partnership contract renewals over a certain value also have to be advertised in accordance with European procurement arrangements which involve the placement of Notices in the European Journal. In addition, it is intended to post details of forthcoming partnership contract renewals on the department’s web site.


Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO)

The Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) is a Local Authority purchasing and distribution consortium, formed in early 1981.
ESPO was established by its Member Authorities to provide a comprehensive purchasing service to their spending departments and other approved customers.

ESPO’s membership covers Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Warwickshire, Leicester City and Peterborough City but ESPO also supplies to other areas which are not members of the consortium.

ESPO supplies schools, colleges, County Councils, City and District Councils along with other statutory bodies such as charitable organisations which elect to make use of its specialised knowledge and services.

ESPO currently manages expenditure in excess of £400 million each year on goods and services. These are supplied to over 14,000 organisations with more then 19,000 individual customer delivery points.

For more information about ESPO and how to become one of their suppliers please visit their web page how to become an ESPO supplier.


Advertising Contracts

We advertise our tender opportunities to ensure openness of process, equality of opportunity, compliance with legal requirements and to achieve maximum competition thereby ensuring best value for the money we spend.

If you are interested in supplying us you are advised, as a minimum, to check the WCC Tender Opportunities page on a weekly basis.


How to respond to a tender advert

A business interested in bidding or tendering for work should carefully follow the instructions contained within the advert. In the first instance, this usually means a formal application to the named contact detailed in the advertisement. This can be done in writing, fax, e-mail or telephone call (followed up by a written application). The advert will usually state the process by which, the tender will be let.

If the contract is being tendered using a 2 stage tendering process, the Council will, on receipt of the application, forward a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) to the applicant which needs to be completed and returned, accompanied by all the supporting information requested in the PQQ. The information in the PQQ will be evaluated and used to shortlist potential bidders, prior to issuing formal tender documents to the shortlisted suppliers.

If the contract is being tendered using a 1 stage tendering process, the Council will forward the tender documents once the application is received. The PQQ as outlined above will usually be completed at the time of tendering and will form part of the tender evaluation process.

Tender documents will usually be sent in hard copy, but as electronic systems are developed they will be sent out electronically. Applications may have to be accompanied by a non-returnable fee for the documents and where this applies, details will be included in the advert.

We have developed a Standard Tender Pack for low value low risk contracts:

Hints and tips for completing our tender pack:

  • Don’t leave things until the last minute
  • Answer the questions posed, not the ones you would have preferred
  • Be sure your goods or service match the requirement
  • Address the selection criteria
  • Make sure references and referees are relevant to your bid

Policies and regulations


Suppliers need to demonstrate their commitment to the policies, regulations and guidelines

E- Procurement

The key elements of our e-Procurement strategy are that:

  • Orders will be sent to suppliers attached to an e-mail in pdf format wherever possible
  • The authority will be working with those suppliers generating large volumes of invoices to move from paper invoices to receiving invoices electronically (probably in in XML format), for automatic uploading into our back office systems. We will be looking at alternative ways of receiving electronic invoices from our smaller suppliers.
  • Payments will be made electronically to suppliers via BACS transfer whenever possible.
  • Remittance advice notes will be sent to suppliers electronically whenever possible
  • We will be introducing Procurement Cards (which function in the same way as an individual’s credit card) for ad hoc and on the road type purchases from 1st April 2006. Suppliers currently able to accept VISA credit card transactions should be able to take payment using a WCC procurement card.

Suppliers will be approached to provide the information necessary to implement our e-Procurement strategy prior to receiving electronic orders or electronic remittances. Any existing suppliers wishing to commence electronic trading with WCC now, can get more information and download the necessary forms by clicking on the link below.

E readiness of suppliers

The County Procurement Unit is currently researching into the ‘e’ readiness of local business. We are keen to find out details about how you carry out business at the moment and what training you would need to be able to carry out e-trading with us.

If you are a local supplier then please fill out our and either e-mail or send it to our address.


Equality

We are seeking to:

  • Deliver contracts in a way which is non-discriminatory and promotes equality of opportunity;
  • Ensure that contractors deliver goods, works and services that cater for all users’ needs, particularly those users who need our services most;
  • Ensure that there is no difference in the satisfaction rates of users or employees, on the basis of race, age, gender, disability, religion or sexual orientation;
  • Encourage contractors to promote equality of opportunity beyond the scope of the contract.

A large proportion of our work is put out to tender and it is important that the suppliers awarded these contracts can demonstrate the same level of commitment to equality as we do. This commitment should be demonstrated in their delivery of services and in their own employment practices.

It is our policy to include equality issues in the contracting process, by taking the following steps:

  • Ensuring that contractors, suppliers, volunteers and partners are aware of our position on equality and are clear about their obligation to provide services that are free from discrimination, harassment or victimization.
  • Recognising and promoting the application of the Commission for Racial Equality and Local Government Association guidelines on Race Equality and Public Procurement, in line with our own contracting procedures.
  • Making sure that our selection and tendering processes positively address and include equality considerations.

Ethics

All our employees have a duty to Council Tax payers when they are spending the Council’s money. They must spend it wisely and ensure that spending is lawful, necessary and reasonable. We expect our suppliers to be aware of and respect these ethics and follow them when acting on behalf of the County Council.

The following points are issues applicable to all procurement and contracting activity:

  • Declaration of interest – our staff must declare to the manager of their department any interests they have in a procurement process which could conflict with the Councils interests or affect their judgement as our employee. Such interests may be financial, business related, ownership of property, family interests, membership of external bodies or any other factor that could be construed as a personal interest.
  • Confidentiality and accuracy of information – The confidentiality of information received in the course of a procurement process should be respected and should never be used for personal gain.
  • Business gifts – Business gifts, other than items of very small intrinsic value such as business diaries or calendars, should not be offered.
  • Hospitality – As a rule, Council employees have to make sure that they justify any hospitality received in connection with work as being in the public interest. Any gift or invitation for hospitality will be recorded in a departmental hospitality record. Any refusal of hospitality will also be recorded.
  • Use of discount arrangements – Employees must not take personal advantage of any discount arrangements with suppliers unless special arrangements have been made for all our employees.
  • By agreeing to work for or supply to us it is expected that suppliers and contractors will adopt the principles of the our Public Interest Reporting Code.

Fair Trade

We support the principle of international Fairtrade, which aims to improve the livelihood and well being of excluded and disadvantaged producers by providing better trading conditions and awareness raising. We will promote and encourage the use of fair or ethically traded goods where appropriate wherever this is within the our legal powers to do so.

Fairtrade tea, coffee and sugar is offered by County Caterers at meetings, events and in Staff catering facilities.

So What is Fairtrade?

The Fairtrade mark gives 5 guarantees:

  • Farmers get a fair and stable price for their products
  • Farmers and estate workers are guaranteed extra income to improve their lives
  • Greater respect for the environment
  • Small farmers are guaranteed a stronger position in world markets
  • Closer links between consumers and producers

If you would like to know more, visit the Fairtrade website.


Freedom of Information

Information in relation to tenders may be made available on demand in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Tenderers should state if any of the information supplied by them is confidential or commercially sensitive or should not be disclosed in response to a request for information under the Act. Tenderers should state why they consider the information to be confidential or commercially sensitive.

This will not guarantee that the information will not be disclosed but the stated reasons will be examined in light of the exemptions provided for in the Act. Nevertheless, the final decision on whether information shall be disclosed rests with us.

It is important to note that information may be commercially sensitive for a time (e.g. during a tender process) but afterwards it may not be. The timing of any request for information may be extremely important in determining whether or not information is exempt. However, Tenderers should note that very little, if any, information is likely to be regarded as exempt forever.

In tendering for any contract let by ourselves, Tenderers are thereby acknowledging and accepting the Council’s right, at its sole discretion, routinely to publish and to make publicly available general information concerning a contract, including: a brief description of the subject matter of the contract; its duration; the identity of the successful contractor; and the total contract value. For the purposes of clarification, however, we are not under any obligation routinely to publish any information concerning a contract except as required by law.

Further information on Freedom of Information


Genetically Modified (GM) Food Policy

In recognition of the widespread public concern in Warwickshire about the safety of GM crops and foods, WCC has adopted a precautionary in relation to the procurement of genetically modified products and will:

  • Exclude from supply all products required to be labelled as containing Genetically Modified Organisms.
  • Not knowingly purchase or serve GM products.
  • Require all suppliers to WCC to take all reasonable steps to ensure all products supplied are GM free.

Health and Safety

When expressing an interest to tender you will normally be asked for details of your Health and Safety policies and procedures. You must also submit a copy of your Health and Safety Policy as required by Section 2 (3) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and any codes of safe work practices and risk assessments issued to employees. For low value/low risk contracts we have developed a Health and Safety Checklist which will be included in our standard tender pack.

Additional questions concerning Construction Design and Management Regulations (1994) may also be asked by the Council where appropriate.

Health and Safety practices will be keenly monitored by the Council during the life of a contract. Breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and other examples of poor practice will be considered as grounds for termination of a contract.


Insurance

Suppliers are usually asked to arrange and maintain the following insurance.

In all cases:

  • Public liability insurance – at least £5million.

If necessary:

  • Product liability insurance – at least £5 million.
  • Professional indemnity cover- normally £2million.
  • Employer’s liability insurance – at least £5 million (as required by law). Many insurance policies automatically provide £10m.
  • Motor policy for physical injuries – unlimited.
  • Motor policy for property damage – at least £5 million.

Our insurers have recommended these limits to make sure that we are protected properly. In some cases these levels may be reduced but only in exceptional circumstances. Suppliers’ will be asked for a copy of their insurance certificates before entering into the contract.


National Procurement Strategy

NationalProcurementStrategy2014 (PDF, 1.33 MB)

Performance Management

Particularly when using output specifications we will establish on-going performance management arrangements as part of any contract. We will work with our suppliers to agree how performance management information is collected and the frequency at which performance is reviewed. The performance Management issues to be considered are likely to include:

  • What outputs/outcomes, the key performance measures will cover.
  • What the performance measures should be, including targets for continuous improvement.
  • At what frequency information will be gathered.
  • At what frequency performance will be reviewed.
  • Who will collect the performance data – it is becoming increasingly commonplace that the onus for the collection of data is placed on the supplier/provider.
  • How poor performance will be managed.

Although the specification will suggest performance management measures, we understand that for performance management arrangements to be effective, the successful supplier needs engaging fully in the process. We will expect suppliers to be involved in discussions and the agreement of the final performance management framework.


Public Interest Reporting Code

We are committed to the highest possible standards of openness, probity and accountability. In line with that commitment we encourage employees and others with serious and reasonably held concerns about malpractice within the Council to come forward and voice these concerns. The Public Interest Reporting Code outlines how the we will deal with any concerns and provides assurances to individuals that they themselves will not be victimised or harassed for raising any concerns they may have – unless of course the concerns were raised maliciously and subsequently prove to have no substance.

Although designed primarily for members of staff, the Code applies equally to suppliers and contractors to the County Council. By agreeing to work for or supply to us it is expected that suppliers and contractors will adopt the principles of the code and report any concerns they or any of their employees may have to one of the designated Council officers (full details of who to contact are included in the Code) in a timely manner

Further details on either the code or its application can be obtained from the County Human Resources Department telephone number 01926 410410.


Risk Management

We have a corporate approach to the management of procurement risk based on the Prince II project management methodology. We will consider risk in the following areas:

  1. Strategic/commercial risk (e.g. under-performance, collapse of contractors)
  2. Economic/financial/market risk (e.g. inflation, shortage of working capital)
  3. Law and regulatory risk (e.g. new legislation, loss of intellectual property rights)
  4. Organisational /management/human factors (e.g. lack of support, poor processes)
  5. Political risk (e.g. change in policy, adverse media)
  6. Environmental risk (e.g. site contamination, transport problems)
  7. Technical/operational/infrastructure risk (e.g. performance failure, lack of business continuity)

We expect suppliers to help us reduce these risks where possible and we may expect the supplier to accept or share the risk.


Supporting local and small businesses

Many local and smaller businesses lack awareness of the our procurement process, have misconceptions that contracts are awarded on lowest price alone, consider us to have a “preferred list” of suppliers, and lack awareness of the issues relating to ‘e’ procurement. We have a corporate objective to:

“Develop and maintain a vibrant local economy which promotes employment and prosperity for all.”

Our Procurement Unit are supporting this by:

  • Ensuring that consideration is given to SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises) when creating the E-Procurement strategy
  • Ensuring that all tenders have evaluation criteria so that there is consideration of factors other than lowest price alone
  • Ensuring that all invitation to tender documents contain at least one key contact point
  • Offering constructive debriefing to all those who compete for contracts in order to help them become more competitive in the future
  • Undertaking an analysis of current our business with local companies
  • Providing Information on the our Procurement Web pages, including all Contracts, current Public Notices and key contacts at the Council
  • Support for “Meet the Buyers” and other outreach events
  • Collaborative procurement with other public bodies to capture more local business

For business support and details of local initiatives please visit our business advice pages.

Local Companies and ‘e’ readiness

Our Procurement Unit is currently researching into the ‘e’ readiness of local business. We are keen to find out details of how you carry out business at the moment and what training you would need to be able to carry out ‘e’ procurement with us.

If you are a local supplier then please fill out our e-procurement questionnaire and either e-mail or send it to our address.

Small Business Friendly Concordat

We have adopted the Small Business Friendly Concordat. The purpose of the Concordat is to set out what small firms and others supplying Local Government can expect when tendering for our contracts, and also the standards that public sector buyers should expect from their suppliers.


Sustainable Procurement

The Sustainable Procurement Task Force published a National Action Plan Procuring the Future in June 2006, making key recommendations for public bodies and including a Flexible Framework against which to assess progress. Procuring the Future defined Sustainable Procurement as:

“a process whereby organisations meet their needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life basis in terms of generating benefits not only to the organisation, but also to society and the economy, whilst minimising damage to the environment.”

What we’ve done so far

We recognise that our own environmental influence extends well beyond our own staff and workplaces, and take very seriously the impact of our procurement activities on the environment. In 2005 we adopted an environmental procurement policy and strategy designed to address areas of high impact and increase the efficiency with which we use resources in order to reduce detrimental environmental impact. Our work to achieve the Strategy targets has established Warwickshire as an instrumental authority in the ongoing development of sustainable procurement, speaking at national seminars and sitting on a panel led by the Improvement and Development Agency to draft a Local Government response to Procuring the Future.

We have received national recognition for our work, winning the 2006 Government Opportunities Award for Greatest Procurement Contribution to the Environmental, Social and Sustainability Agenda.

The judging panel were impressed by our “professional and wholehearted approach to environmentally sound procurement. The results of this approach made for impressive reading and included acquiring 94% of electricity needs from renewable sources. This winning entry has demonstrated effective collaboration and communication with a range of stakeholders including suppliers and the public”

Later that same year our Sustainable Procurement work was short-listed for the Society Of Procurement Officers in Local Government annual awards, and received a commendation for Outstanding Achievement in Procurement.

Helping you to help us

Without the support of our suppliers our efforts may achieve little so we need your commitment to share in a more sustainable approach, reviewing your own practices and promoting environmental principles throughout your own supply chain. We understand that for some suppliers this may seem a daunting proposition but help is available.

Environmental Support for Business is a free services with advice for Warwickshire businesses; suppliers based in other counties are advised to seek similar help from their own local council.

Small businesses can find advice on their environmental responsibility by going to the NetRegs website developed by the Environmental Agency. The website provides clear and comprehensive web-based guidelines for businesses on how to comply with the environmental legislation that affects them. NetRegs is free and there is no need to register. There are four main areas on the site Management Guidelines, Sector Guidelines, Legislation and More Resources. The site does not cover all environmental legislation which exists in the UK but focuses on the key pieces of legislation affecting most businesses. In addition to current legislation the site will also cover forthcoming legislation.

We trade with a wide variety of suppliers, from large public companies to small and medium sized enterprises, the community sector (voluntary and social enterprises) and sole traders. In order to embrace all the principles of Sustainable Procurement we need to take into consideration the social and economic impacts of the money we spend, which can come into play through both our primary and secondary supply chain.

We recognise that smaller businesses can sometimes find it more difficult to participate in the our procurement process.

For more information on what we’re doing on the social and economic aspects see Trading with the Third Sector


Trading with the Third Sector

Truly sustainable procurement encompasses social and economic issues in addition to the more familiar environmental focus. We believe that engaging with Third Sector suppliers for the delivery of supplies, works and services can help us realise the social and economic benefits that procurement offers to the community.

What is a Third Sector Organisation (TSO)?

There are numerous definitions of a third sector organisation but our interpretation is:

  • a non-public body ie not directly controlled by the state
  • can be grant funded and/or generate income
  • can be a charity, a social enterprise, a voluntary or community group
  • can be unincorporated or incorporated eg a Community Interest Company
  • is value driven – primarily motivated by a desire to further social, environmental or cultural objectives
  • can engage in trading activities ie supply of services to meet objectives
  • non-profit making, but may make a surplus which is re-invested to further trading activities and/or to meet the organisation’s social, environmental or cultural objectives.

What we’ve done so far

We have adopted the Small Business Friendly Concordat. The purpose of the Concordat is to set out what small firms and others supplying Local Government can expect when tendering for Local Authority contracts, and also the standards that public sector buyers should expect from their suppliers.

We are a member of the Warwickshire Compact which aims to improve working relations by setting out the principles and standards that public agencies and voluntary and community organisations can expect of each other, when working in partnership for the benefit of local people.

We have published a Voluntary and Community Sector Strategy determining how we will work more effectively with the VCS, including contracting for service delivery.

In February 2010 we launched our first Third Sector Commissioning and Procurement Strategy. We are working with Warwickshire Community and Voluntary Action, providing training to Third Sector organisations to develop their knowledge and understanding of public procurement processes, and better tendering skills. Please go to Warwickshire CAVA for future training dates and to reserve your place.

Tender training for Third Sector providers is in two stages. Stage 1 is Introductory, and Stage 2 is a Tendering Workshop:

Guide to help Social Enterprises win public sector contracts

A guide ‘Working with the Public Sector: Busting the Myths’ has been produced by The Social Enterprise Coalition in partnership with Antony Collins Solicitors. The guide looks at the most commonly-held but mistaken beliefs about procurement, market engagement and localism.

Tender advice


This guide gives businesses and other organisations a better understanding of how we procure works, goods and services. It explains our approach to the seeking and acceptance of tenders and quotations, along with the relevant National and European legislation governing our approaches. There is a great deal of competition for our contracts, in order to win business potential suppliers will need to be competitive in price and provide high quality goods and services.


How to tender for our contracts

How to tender

The tender documents we send out to suppliers contain details of our requirements. The documents, particularly the specification, should be read carefully and all information completed fully and accurately. If you do not understand any part of the specification or other documents, you should contact the Council officer named in the tender documentation and request further information. This must be done before the tender period closes. A deadline date will often be set for enquiries, which must be observed as no further enquiries will be dealt with after this deadline has passed.

You should be aware that copies of all queries received and responses will be copied to all companies competing for the business.

Whichever tendering procedure the we adopt, tenderers should carefully read the advert, tender documents and instructions for tendering and pay close attention to:

  • When and where to return a bid (time and date and correct building)
  • Using unmarked packaging, excluding company logo etc
  • Returning the bid in the format requested
  • Answering the questions we ask, not the ones you wanted us to ask
  • Providing all information required
  • Giving thorough responses to all elements of the tender document
  • Signing and dating documentation where instructed
  • Giving us references and referees that are relevant to the contract you are bidding for
  • Distinguish yourself from the competition
  • Be innovative and offer us creative solutions which can add value to the customers we serve.
  • Help us to become more efficient by offering alternatives

Sometimes the information the Council receives from suppliers is unclear or requires further clarification. Once again you should provide any additional information by the requested deadline.


Pre Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) Stage

Pre-qualification is an additional step in the supplier selection process, but can be helpful where large numbers of responses to a tender are expected, or where there is a requirement on suppliers to deliver creative solutions to satisfy the requirements.

The PQQ requires the applicant to provide evidence of its financial standing and technical expertise including professional or other relevant qualifications and references from similar works being undertaken with other bodies. The information received will be evaluated against predetermined Council criteria and those applicants considered most suitable to undertake the contract will be invited to tender for the contract. We have a Pre Qualification Questionnaire that is tailored to meet individual contract needs.

  • The sort of criteria considered include:
  • Financial standing.
  • Technical capabilities including membership of appropriate bodies.
  • Professional capabilities including membership of appropriate bodies.
  • Previous experience in the areas of contracting you are undertaking.
  • Environmental track record.
  • Health and Safety track record.
  • Equalities track record.

Tender Documentation

We are aware that there is a cost to suppliers in competing for our business and therefore we try and keep the documentation proportionate to the size and the risk of the contract. We also try to construct the document so that the offers from suppliers arrive in a standard format which are easy to evaluate.

If you are successful in your application for a tender, we will forward a set of tender documents to you. (Note – if the tender process is a “2 stage” approach you will be initially receive a PQQ – Business Questionnaire. Only shortlisted companies passing the PQQ stage will receive tender documentation).

Our tender documentation generally comprises:

  • Invitation to tender letter including details of how, where nd when tenders are to be returned.
  • Instructions to tenderers. Guidance for completing the tender documentation, including Conditions of Tender.
  • The Specification. Describing the work and the standards that are required and including a general summary of the context of the contract and the desired outcomes.
  • Tender Proposal – Details of your bid, i.e. method statement pricing etc. You will be expected to respond to questions about how you intend to provide the service including supporting evidence demonstrating relevant experience.
  • Contact and payment information sheet.
  • The Terms and Conditions (both standard and special) of the contract: This sets out the contract that will be entered into between the Council and the appointed contractor.
  • The Pricing Document: This enables the tenderer to set out and provide a price for the work.
  • Equality Questionnaire.
  • Health and Safety Questionnaire.
  • Environmental Questionnaire.
  • Collusion and canvassing declaration.
  • A Form of Tender.
  • Tender Return Label

Other documents you may be provided with include site plans, drawings and other supplementary information to aid the bidder to submit an informed tender.


What we look for in a supplier

Supplier selection is based on overall value for money. Whilst price is important, we will always consider aspects such as previous performance, quality, reliability, safety, good design, timely delivery, maintenance and after sales support before arriving at a decision which offers the best overall value to the Council.

Potential suppliers must demonstrate their financial, commercial and technical capability to fully meet the contractual requirements under tender. We will also take account of a company’s past performance with reference to contracts of a similar nature, both with the Council and other organisations. We will also be looking for a clear demonstration of commitment to the our policies.


Procurement policies, regulations and guidelines

Suppliers need to demonstrate their commitment to the policies, regulations and guidelines


How we evaluate tenders

Tender Evaluation

Returned tenders are evaluated against pre-determined criteria usually by an evaluation panel, to ensure a fair and objective decision is reached. Because of the nature of our contracts, it is unlikely that they will be awarded on the basis of price alone. We will award the contract to the supplier it considers offers the most value for money. For this reason, our main evaluation criterion will be the “most economically advantageous tender” (MEAT) as determined by the criteria set out in the tender documents.

The award criteria will vary depending on the type of contract. Examples of award criteria, in addition to price, are quality, value for money, compliance experience, technical merit, financial viability, flexibility to future changes to our requirements, speed of project delivery, etc.

We will tell suppliers the key criteria against which offers will be evaluated as part of our tender processes.


Award of Contract

An evaluation team will examine each tender received and make recommendations to the Council as to which represents the best tender. We will award the contract based on this advice. Once the contract has been awarded, the successful and unsuccessful tenderers will be notified. Unsuccessful tenderers may obtain feedback of their tendering performance by applying in writing to the Council.

A contract award notice, if required, will be placed either in OJEU or on our website within 3 months of the contract being awarded.


Debriefing

We will always endeavour to offer unsuccessful tenderers, within the limits of commercial confidentiality, feedback as to why their bid has failed. Areas of information which we will provide feedback on include:

  • In the non-price areas (i.e. quality, delivery arrangements, etc.) we will provide a broad outline of the reasons why the bid did not match our original requirements
  • If price was the deciding factor, we will provide an indication of the differential between your bid and the successful contractor’s bid.
  • Once the contract has been awarded, the name of the successful tenderer and the value of the contract will generally become publicly available.

How we pay our suppliers

Payment terms are normally set out in the contract documents. They may be stage payments, annual / quarterly / monthly payments, payment on completion or payment per purchase order. Payment is made within 30 days of receipt of a correct invoice, unless otherwise agreed.

To ensure that your payment is dealt with efficiently and to avoid delays, please ensure that you:

  • Submit the invoice in the format agreed in the contract;
  • Quote the order number and contract title if appropriate;
  • Address it to the correct officer and location;
  • Ensure that it is mathematically correct;
  • Include as much information as possible about what the payment is for;
  • Only include requests for payment of supplied goods or services;

We currently make payment by BACS or Cheque. BACS transfer is our preferred method of payment. Procurement cards will be used in some areas of the Authority from 1st April 2006.

Procurement Cards are used for travel, petty cash, food, accommodation, etc.

  • Credit card transactions where the invoice is replaced by a bank statement
  • A compliment to e Purchase Orders
  • High Volume / low value purchases / Emergency

They offer the following benefits to both the Authority and the Supplier:

  • Payment within 4 days by the bank
  • Fewer invoices/statements
  • Fewer points of contact for queries

Monitoring the contract

We believe that effective contract management is key to a successful relationship between the council and the supplier. We expect you to manage your part of the business and work with us pro-actively to improve the performance and value for money of the contract over its lifetime.

For high value contracts or for contracts identified as carrying significant risk, regular meetings with the supplier will happen in the early stages of the contract. Depending on the contract, regular could mean daily, weekly or monthly. Once the contract is running smoothly and the contracted performance levels are being delivered the frequency of these reviews may be reduced.

We understand that contract monitoring and performance management is a two-way process. For example, we may set targets for suppliers to achieve cost reductions during the life of the contract. This may in turn result in the supplier asking us to make changes to our processes in order that cost reductions can be realised. You can be assured that we will work with you to achieve any potential cost savings.

Procurement and tender opportunities for suppliers was last updated on October 23, 2014.