Guidance to suppliers, providers and third sector

We work with companies of different sizes to buy goods and services. It is essential that we protect public money by purchasing in the most efficient way. Two key ways to ensure this happens are securing ‘Best Value’ and assessing ‘Whole Life Cost’.

Best value

We have a duty to secure best value (BV) as part of the government’s agenda. This means we are committed to spend public money in the most efficient way.

All possible options will be considered rather than focusing on the price. We consider:

  • supplier capability
  • technology
  • expertise
  • innovation
  • ability to reduce costs
  • flexibility
  • adaptability
  • sustainability 
  • continuous improvement options

This should not be taken as a complete list, but as an indication of what may be considered aspects of best value.

Whole life cost

We are moving towards whole life costing (WLC), a technique that will assess and give a financial cost for the life cycle of the goods or service.

When evaluating categories during the tender and quotation process WLC will be considered. WLC considerations may include:

  • the initial capital cost
  • procurement cost
  • rent
  • energy and water cost
  • installation
  • maintenance
  • operation
  • repair
  • disposal
  • insurance

This should not be taken as a complete list, but as an indication of what may be included in the WLC equation.

Rules affecting how supplies, goods and works are purchased

Two main rules affect how we purchase goods and services. These are:

  1. The European law on public sector purchasing. Most contracts for services and supplies exceeding ££181,302 must be advertised in the Official Journal for the European Union (OJEU) and the local and national press.
  2. Contracts for building or highway works exceeding £4,551,413 must also be advertised in the OJEU and the local and national press.

Evaluation

Formal offers are all opened at a specified time and late tenders are not accepted, unless a corporate director deems there to be a reasonable reason why the tender should be accepted. A record is kept of all offers received. Each tender is checked for accuracy and the appropriate technical officer or panel of officers evaluate it to ensure compliance with the specification. We may seek clarification of the proposal during the evaluation process.

Ethical conduct and governance arrangements are essential to our operation and reputation. A supplier chain code of conduct has been developed as part of the council’s integrated approach to ethical conduct to ensure that external providers meet the authority’s requirements in relation to ethical standards.

The supplier chain code of conduct forms part of our initial tender evaluation procedure and compliance with the code is mandatory for all external providers seeking to contract with the council. The code applies to the private and voluntary sector, including grant funded organisations. Read the supplier chain code of conduct to find out how to comply.

Contract award

We will, unless stated otherwise, evaluate the tender bids on the basis of the Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT). This is the optimum combination of costs and benefits assessed against pre-determined evaluation award criteria which will be detailed in the Invitation to Tender (ITT). Please note that the council is not bound to accept the lowest bid submitted or any of the bids submitted. After evaluating the bids, a recommendation is made to the appropriate level for acceptance; if the recommendation is accepted the contract will be awarded.

When your tender has been accepted you will be notified in writing but the council will not be bound until both parties have fully agreed and signed the council contract.

If you are not awarded the contract, you will be notified in writing. You have the option of asking for a debrief meeting, where your result will be compared to the council’s weighted criteria. If your tender is the result of a works or services contract you may obtain a copy of the result by writing to the Head of Procurement or appropriate Director, however the council will not divulge what it considers is another company’s competitive advantage or intellectual property.