Tenders and contracts

Strategic procurement

Our main aims are to provide information, guidance, advice and support to other departments during the procurement process, to manage our own specialist categories and to maintain policy and strategy with central government objectives and guidelines.

Working with us

Depending on the type and size of contract, we search for suitable suppliers using a number of systems and solutions.

If you are a supplier interested in doing business with us, you can find out about forthcoming business opportunities by registering your details at YORtender.

Our tender platform

We use an online tendering system called YORtender. YORtender is the Supplier Contract Management System used by 22 Councils across the Yorkshire and Humber Region.

All tender and quote opportunities provided by us require information to be submitted through this system.

Many of the tenders and quotes that we advertise contain a YORtender contract reference number, which can be used to access relevant supporting documents and further information regarding the tender.

Register your details at YORtender. Please try to avoid duplicate supplier registrations wherever possible.

One supplier profile can have up to five individual users registered against it. Registration to the YORtender system is free of charge.

It is extremely important that you follow these instructions and any guidance within them to ensure you continue to access tender opportunities from Yorkshire and Humber Authorities.

How we advertise opportunities

All relevant opportunities will be advertised on YORtender. Search current opportunities. All relevant opportunities over £25,000 will also be advertised on Contracts Finder.

Tenders over the EU thresholds will additionally be advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) until 11pm on the 31 December and the Find a Tender Service (FTS) notification system thereafter.

For contracts under £70,000

For expenditure under £70,000, where there is no in-house provider or contract for the goods and services we need, we follow the procedures below:

  • If the contract is estimated to be below £10,000; an officer will ensure value for money is being obtained.
  • If the contract is estimated to be between £10,000 and £70,000, a minimum of three quotations need to be obtained, two of which should be from local suppliers (if applicable).
  • If our requirements are very complex or difficult to describe, for example where we are buying a bespoke service, we may seek tenders rather than quotes.

For contracts over £70,000

For contracts over £70,000 (goods, services and works), where there is no in-house provider or corporate contract for the goods and services we need, a competitive tendering process will be followed.

This means we will ask organisations to submit competitive bids (tenders) to us. By doing this we can ensure that public money is spent in a way that is fair, open, honest and accountable.

The only exception to this rule is where a reason not to competitively tender for a contract has been agreed and financial regulations have been waived, for example where there is only one supplier or timescales are very short due to an emergency situation.

Public Contract Regulations 2015

Contracts over certain high values are also subject to the Public Contract Regulations 2015. These directives require us to:

  • advertise and award contracts in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) up to 31 December 2020 and in the Find a Tender Service (FTS) from 1 January 2021
  • follow specified timescales and
  • award contracts, either on the basis of 'lowest price', or 'most economically advantageous tender' (a consideration of both quality and cost)

The public contract regulations apply to contracts that exceed the following amounts (as of January 2020):

  • Goods and services: £189,330
  • Light touch: £663,540
  • Works: £4,773,252

The thresholds vary from time to time and have traditionally been amended every two years on 1 January.

All public sector procurement, regardless of how much is being spent, is governed by the principle of equality of treatment, non-discrimination and transparency.

How we award contracts

There are four main ways in which we competitively tender contracts:

  • Open procedure
  • Restricted procedure
  • Competitive dialogue procedure
  • Approved list and framework arrangements

Definitions of what all these terms mean can be found on the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) website.

These are well established procedures which we follow to ensure we get the best value for money. The process we follow will be determined by a range of factors, including:

  • value of contract
  • number of suppliers in the market
  • the complexity of our requirements
  • timescales

Regardless of the process followed, all bids are evaluated according to clear, pre-published criteria by a panel of experienced officers, and contracts will be awarded on the basis of value for money, which means a balance of quality and cost.

The Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation (YPO)

We are one of the founder members of the YPO, along with 12 other local authorities in the north of England. The YPO supplies goods and services both through its catalogue and through framework agreements where direct supply contracts are arranged.

Find out more information on becoming a supplier with YPO

Tips for a successful bid

Be on time

Make sure information is provided by the deadline dates. If the information does not arrive promptly, we will not be able to consider it. We must be seen to be acting fairly and transparently by giving everyone the same opportunity.

Understand what is required

The initial advert is your chance to decide whether or not your business can undertake the contract. Every advert will contain a council contact person from whom further information can be obtained. If you have questions that need answering before you can decide whether or not to bid, take this opportunity to seek clarification.

Provide evaluation information requested in the invitation to tender

If you receive an invitation to tender you are being invited to make an offer, which we may accept. You must ensure you comply with all requirements at this stage because the decision on who is chosen will ultimately be based on criteria listed in the contract notice or invitation to tender. Make sure you provide all relevant information requested in respect of the price and quality criteria. If you are unsure, ask. As well as the quality criteria, make sure your offer is also competitive and offers value for money.

How we manage contracts

Our commercial strategy will focus on the key elements we feel are important to support us on our journey to operate as a more commercially focused organisation. A key aspect of this is to implement a best practice approach to managing contracts and supplier relationships.

Strategic Procurement and Contract Management are responsible for the development of policy and strategy, which is linked to a category management approach covering the whole cycle from identification of need, market engagement, tendering, contract award and mobilisation, contract management and exit planning. This is being developed with best practice guidance including that of the Government’s commercial function toolkit.

We will ensure our cost base and structures are efficient and lean and value for money will be at the heart of our core business, we will embed a culture of commercialism across all our employees to support the delivery of our aspirations.

  • Consideration of the whole life cost impact of decisions, including assessment of the market and benefits realised.
  • Improving efficiency for service delivery – reducing costs and streamlining our processes
  • Effective contract administration and a focus on performance management and relationship development
  • Maximising value for money from our contracts with a focus on managing risks
  • Delivering social value outcomes and environmental benefits.

Contracts register

The contracts register information is made available to help your organisation know what we buy, how much we spend and with whom. It also includes a contact name should you wish to find out more details about any specific contract. Find out more about the contracts register.

The register may also be of benefit to companies in identifying business opportunities, either as a main contractor or as a supplier or subcontractor within the supply chain.

Transparency

As part of the government’s commitment to greater transparency, we have to make information on procurement visible.

The Council includes in its standard terms and conditions a freedom of information clause that requires the supplier to acknowledge that the council is subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

Suppliers should be aware that if they are awarded a tender, the resulting contract between the supplier and us will be published. In some circumstances limited redactions will be made to some contracts before they are published to comply with existing law. 

Key strategies, policies and information

Our procurement activity plays a key role in contributing to the strategies of the council, through the goods, and services we choose to purchase. These key strategies are what we will look at as part of any tender process.