Selling to the Council

How much does the Council spend?

The Council spends approximately £10m a year on goods, works and services from a wide range of suppliers. Contracts vary from small one-off purchases to large supplies or service contracts. A significant proportion of this is supplied under contract via a competitive tender process in order to achieve value for money. The Council also use framework agreements which are pre tendered contracts that are accessible to a number of public bodies where is represents good value.

One of the key principles of the Council's Procurement is to develop a mixed economy of suppliers, promote partnering arrangements and above all provide value for money. A key Council Corporate Objectives is to "Sustain and promote our local economy" so we are keen to try and make it easier for small and medium local enterprises (SMEs) to trade with the council as long as it is consistent with best value, and in compliance with procurement law.

What The Council Buys

Contract Regulations

The Council has to follow detailed procedures when tendering and awarding contracts. These are included in the Council's Constitution as "Contract Standing Orders". Generally the total value of the procurement determines the procedure required, as follows:

  • Below £5,000 - At least 1 written quotation must be sought from a known supplier
  • Between £5,000 and £25,000 - A minimum of 3 written quotations are invited from known suppliers
    Over £25,000 - A minimum of 3 formal tenders invited as a result of a public advertisement
  • If the total contract value is above the European OJEU limit then the requirements of the Public Sector Procurement Directive (2004/18/EC) apply. These contracts are advertised in the European Journal and subject to special rules

Framework Agreements

Central and Local Government Organisations procure goods and services collectively through framework agreements. Frameworks are basically pre-tendered contracts for supply of particular goods of services and are available for local authorities to use if they so wish. As they have already been tendered there is no need to go through the Council's full tendering and contracts process.

Tendering Process

In the advert there will usually be detailed information as to how the tendering process will work. It may be that you will be required to firstly submit a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ), and on the basis of your response you may be invited to tender. Alternatively, you may be invited to tender straightaway. The Invitation to Tender (ITT) will set out clearly the information you must supply, such as accounts and insurances if relevant, any questions you have to answer, and the tender submission arrangements.

Please ensure you submit you tender by the stated time in the manner prescribed as no exceptions can be made for late submissions.

Tender Evaluation

Tenders will usually be evaluated on price and quality. The evaluation criteria will be set out in the Invitation to Tender documentation.

Contract Award

Once the tender evaluation is complete, a report recommending acceptance of the 'Most Economically Advantageous Tender' is submitted to the relevant Director or Chief Executive, in consultation with the Chairman of the Executive / relevant Portfolio Holder. Larger contracts may be submitted to the full Executive for approval.

Following acceptance of the recommendation report, the Council's Legal Services will complete the contract documentation with the supplier. Generally, either the Council's Standard Terms and Conditions, or industry standard Contract Terms (for example NEC3 or JCT) are applied to the Contract. This is in order to ensure that there is no ambiguity over terms and conditions, and so that the Contract can be implemented quickly.

Contract Management

All suppliers carrying out contracts for the Council are monitored to ensure compliance with the contract requirements and conditions. The contract conditions will be strictly applied and explanations sought if a contractor fails to perform to the levels required. Poor performance can ultimately result in the termination of a contract.

Declaration of Interests

The Council has very strict rules in regard to the probity of its members, officers and suppliers. If, as a potential tenderer, you have a connection with an officer or a member this must be declared as part of the tendering process so that it can be evaluated. If such a link were to come to light at a later stage then the contract may be deemed to be invalid. Similarly, suppliers should not give hospitality or gifts to officers or members without discussing the matter with the Council's Monitoring Officer first.

Publication of Documents

The Council is covered by the Freedom of Information Act. It is a condition of all tenders that all contracts may become public. If this is not acceptable to a tenderer then this must be made clear at the tender stage.

This authority is under a duty to protect the public funds it administers, and to this end may use the information you have provided on this form for the prevention and detection of fraud. It may also share this information with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds for these purposes. For further information, see Data Matching National Fraud Initative or contact julia.greenfield@surreyheath.gov.uk