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.
This section provides potential suppliers with a better understanding of how we procure goods,services and works in Warwickshire County Council.
If you would like to know more of the detail in relation to public procurement and/or would like to access hints, tips, detailed business guides and support there is a free online procurement course ‘Winning the Contract’ available from Learn-Direct.
Why do business with us?
- We are one of the County’s largest purchasers spending around £300m each year on 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 transparent 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.
We expect the introduction of technology to have a significant impact on the costs associated with transacting with our suppliers. You must therefore expect more order / invoice / payment transactions with the Council to be undertaken electronically.
The key elements of our e-Commerce strategy are that:
- Orders will be sent to suppliers attached to an e-mail in pdf format wherever possible;
- We will work with those suppliers generating large volumes of invoices to move from paper invoices to submitting invoices electronically (probably 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.
The use of Procurement Cards (P Cards) to make payment will increase. P-Cards are issued to employees responsible for making purchases on behalf of the Council; for example, to order and pay for supplies via a supplier’s website. Suppliers can normally accept P-Cards for payment, utilising their existing credit card infrastructure. Transaction data is captured by a supplier’s point-of-sale (POS) system and transmitted through the card network. No Council order needs to be raised. No Supplier invoice needs to be raised. Payment to the supplier is usually made within a few days.
Where can you find our current opportunities?
We are not required to advertise opportunities with a total value less than £50,000. Above this level we use a range of advertising media:
- Opportunities with a value greater than £50,000 are advertised on our website Current Opportunities.
- Opportunities being tendered using our E Tendering portal (CSW-JETS) are advertised on the portal.
- Opportunities required to be advertised according to the EU procurement directive are advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union OJEU.
If you are interested in supplying the Council you are advised to:-
- check the WCC Current Opportunities page on at least a weekly basis
- follow us on Twitter
- sign-up to CSW-JETS
- sign-up to OJEU.
Which procurement procedure should be followed?
You should note that where the Council identifies an existing Framework contract as its preferred procurement route then the Council is not obliged to and will not advertise these opportunities, regardless of the value.
The procurement procedure we follow is usually determined by the total value of the contract although the Council may vary from these procedures in certain circumstances:
- Below £10,000 – 1 oral quotation confirmed in writing;
- £10,001 – £50,000 – minimum 3 written quotes;
- £50,001 – £172,514 – minimum 3 written tenders;
- £172,514+ (goods and services) – EU compliant tender process;
- £172,514 – £4,322,012 (works) – minimum 3 written tenders;
- £4,322,012+ (works) – EU compliant tender process.
How to tender for our contracts
It is unusual for our contracts to be awarded on the basis of price alone. We will usually award the contract to the supplier that offers the best overall value for money based on a combination of cost and quality.
The tender documents we send out contain full details of our requirements and describe how to complete and return your bid. To maximize your opportunity to be successful you should:
- Be clear about how, when and where to return your bid and comply with these requirements;
- Don’t leave it until the last minute to submit your bid; if you are having any problems contact us well in advance of the closing date/time;
- Answer all questions succinctly but thoroughly with sufficient detail and examples to demonstrate your capabilities;
- If you are an existing supplier to the Council, don’t assume that we know your capabilities. We
will assess your tender based on what it includes so tell us how good you are;
- Be aware of the questions that will gain you the most marks. All of our tender documents include a breakdown of our evaluation criteria including how we will allocate scores and the marks available for each question;
- Provide all information and supporting evidence requested and don’t send us things we don’t ask for;
- Sign and date documentation where instructed;
- Distinguish yourself from the competition;
- Be innovative and offer us creative solutions which meet our needs, add value to our customers and reduce our costs.
If there is anything in our documentation that you do not understand or require clarification on, you should contact us as soon as possible to request further information. Contact details, (and the deadline for receipt of questions or clarification) are included in the tender documents we issue. Please be aware that no questions will be responded to after the specified deadline has passed.
Since February 2010, Warwickshire County Council, Coventry City Council and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council have been working together on procurement. Our joint E-Tendering system, CSW-JETS, has now been launched and is the place where all 3 authorities will be conducting the majority of their tendering. Our colleagues in Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, Rugby Borough Council, North Warwickshire Borough Council, Warwick District Council, Stratford District Council and Solihull Community Housing are also using the CSW-JETS portal to advertise their tender opportunities which 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 and 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 and more cost effective for you to participate.
How we award our contracts
An evaluation team will consider each tender and score it in line with the Evaluation Model included in our tender documents. We may contact you to seek clarification on your tender and your response to any clarifications will be considered and evaluated as part of your tender response. The preferred bidder will normally be the bidder that has achieved the highest score following the evaluation.
Once the evaluation is complete, the successful and unsuccessful tenderers will be notified. Depending on the procurement process followed, unsuccessful tenderers may receive written feedback at this point. If you do not receive written feedback you can request feedback by applying to the Council. We will also accept requests for feedback from successful tenderers.
How we pay our suppliers
In order to ensure payments are processed as quickly as possible, you should comply with the guidance in the Suppliers Payment document (DOCX, 42.65 KB).
The supplier checklist is intended as a GUIDE ONLY to give you a better understanding of the areas that we consider when we are sourcing. Note – This checklist of criteria is not exhaustive and we do not expect suppliers to be able to answer yes to every question, Suppliers should not begin work on or incur any expense in seeking to satisfy any aspect of the checklist on the presumption of winning business from us. Any work that you choose to undertake is entirely at your own risk and cost.
Support for business and the third sector
Want to do business with Warwickshire County Council?
If you are interested in doing business with Warwickshire County Council visit the Council’s tendering opportunities page to view all current procurement opportunities.
Free online procurement course
A free online procurement course ‘Winning the Contract’ is available to help businesses and third sector organisations learn about public procurement and how to bid for public-sector contracts.
Support for businesses
For business support and details of local initiatives please visit our business pages.
Our Business2Business (B2B) portal helps organisations of all sizes improve their competitive edge by providing access to business opportunities from other local companies.
Once you have registered and your account is activated you can:
- Search and view your own business opportunities;
- Post details of your business opportunities for other businesses to see;
- Activate e-mail alerts for opportunities specific to your business;
- Search and View career/employment opportunities;
- Find out the latest Business News and Events in Warwickshire;
- Search and view public sector opportunities across the Coventry, Solihull, Warwickshire sub-region via CSW Jets.
Support for the third sector
The Warwickshire Partnership is a partnership between five ‘infrastructure support’ organisations in Warwickshire that provide training, advice, and support to third sector organisations and volunteers in Warwickshire:
- Warwickshire Community and Voluntary Action – WCAVA
- Voluntary Action Stratford on Avon – VASA
- Volunteer Centre Nuneaton and Bedworth -VCNB
- Volunteer Centre North Warwickshire – VCNW
- Warwickshire Children and Voluntary Youth Service – WCVYS
Any Third Sector group looking for advice can seek opportunities for help at The Warwickshire Community Directory
It is also possible to seek in-person or 1:1 help by ringing or emailing your local Warwickshire Partnership partner:
If your group works specifically with children and young people, you can also contact Warwickshire Children and Voluntary Youth Services
Coventry and Warwickshire Cooperative Development Agency provides a range of enterprise, employability and financial inclusion services, and can offer advice on social enterprise and community interest company set-ups. Social Enterprise West Midlands is also able to provide information on getting the most out of the social enterprise model.
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.
Contract terms and conditions
Purchase Order Terms and Conditions
The WCC Purchase Order Terms and Conditions (DOC, 90 KB)> are those conditions which cover all ‘Purchase Orders’ (PO) issued by the Council and shall apply unless reference to a specific contract is given on the PO in which case the terms and conditions of the specified contract shall apply.
Minor changes to these terms and conditions may be evidenced on the face of the PO issued by the Council. Any purchase by the Council is conditional upon acceptance of these terms and conditions by the supplier.
If you do not wish to accept these terms and conditions, then you should not accept the PO and you should inform the Council as soon as possible.
Model contract terms and conditions
We have adopted a range of model Terms and Conditions for particular contract areas and where these exist they are included in the documents and downloads section of this web page.
Where the contract is of a complex nature and/or extremely high value, it may be necessary for a bespoke contract to be drafted. You will receive the relevant conditions of contract as part of the Invitation to Tender and you will be asked to confirm acceptance of these as part of making your tender submission.
Policy and regulations
The Council’s Procurement Strategy
In November 2010, we formally endorsed a sub-regional approach to procurement to support our ambitious savings agenda. We will be looking to work in procurement partnership whenever and wherever we 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. This strategy is currently under review.
The National Procurement Strategy for Local Government 2014
The recently launched National Procurement strategy for Local Government 2014 sets the framework within which local authorities are seeking to develop their approach to procurement.
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. As part of the tender process, bidders can 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. 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.
Further information on Freedom of Information
Whistleblowing – Public Interest Reporting
By agreeing to work for or supply to us it is expected that suppliers and contractors with serious and reasonably held concerns about malpractice within the Council will report any concerns they or any of their employees may have to one of the designated Council officers in line with the Council’s Public Interest Reporting Code
Other public sector tender opportunities
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
Most public sector organisations have tender opportunities:
- Nuneaton and Bedworth District Council
- North Warwickshire Borough Council
- Rugby Borough Council
- Coventry City Council
- Solihull Borough Council
- Birmingham City Council
- Staffordshire County Council
- Oxfordshire County Council
- Worcestershire County Council
- Leicestershire County Council
- Northamptonshire County Council
- Gloucestershire County Council
There is also a national website, Contracts Finder, which lists contracts and business opportunities over £10,000 with the Government and its Agencies