How to respond to invitations to tender
All contracts are awarded on the basis of being the most economically advantageous to the council, with quality being considered as well as price. Smaller works contracts are generally let using Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) or New Engineering Contract (NEC) conditions of contract.
Responding to tenders
Our advertisements tell you how to obtain copies of our invitation documents. The invitation documents will explain what your response should include, how it should be submitted to us and when the response should be submitted by.
Our tender evaluations have two parts:
Part 1: qualification
When inviting suppliers to submit tenders we may at first ask for qualifying information about the company, including:
- details of company status, parent company etc
- financial statements/company trading accounts
- customer/trade references
- health and safety policies
- public liability and employers liability insurance cover
- quality, training and environmental systems
- equalities policies
This information helps us decide whether we would be able to do business with a company. We will explain how that decision will be made in the qualification questionnaire.
Part 2: evaluation
We select the tender which offers the best value for money using pre set evaluation criteria which we will explain in the invitation documents.
When we award contracts we follow certain internal and external rules and regulations:
- internal council set rules, known as Contract Standing Orders
- external rules established by Parliament, the Public Contract Regulations 2015 (external website), that implement the EU procurement directives
Type of contract
There are three main groups of contracts:
- works, such as construction contracts
- goods, such as stationery, IT equipment and consumables
- services, such as refuse collection, grounds maintenance and advertising
The processes we apply are linked to the value of the contract we intend to award. Our Contract Standing Orders set out the threshold values for procuring goods, services and works. In summary:
- contract values between £501 and £5,000 - minimum two quotes although officers may award without competition if they have an appropriate justification
- contract value: £5,001 to £100,000 - minimum of three bids
- contract value: over £1000,000 - minimum of five bids
Currently, goods and services contracts over £164,176 and works contracts over £4,104,394 are subject to European procurement directives. These thresholds are amended occasionally to take account of fluctuations in the pound/euro exchange rate.