How we award contracts

The tender process

Should your company decide to respond to an advertisement and express an interest in bidding for council work, here are some brief tips which you should bear in mind.

The tender process may take the form of an 'open' process whereby tender documents are sent to all applicants, or a 'restricted' (2-stage) process, where only short-listed tenderers are invited to submit tenders. The shortlist is compiled by assessing tenderers against a set of pre-determined criteria, based on evidence of economic and financial standing, technical capacity and ability, equal opportunities, environmental and health and safety policies, previous experience and references.  Tenders are then issued to suppliers on the shortlist. 

Finance

We will check your organisation's financial suitability for a contract by requesting copies of accounts for the previous three years. If you cannot provide the information because you are a newly formed company or a small business you will be asked to provide a statement of the organisation's cash flow forecast for the current year and a bank letter outlining the current cash flow and credit facility position

Insurance

Our normal requirement is for the contractor to be covered by employer's liability insurance to the value of £10 million and public liability insurance to the value of £5 million.   Changes to these limits or additional insurance requirements such as professional indemnity insurance will be specified at the time of the tender.

References

You will be asked to provide the names of up to three referees, specific to the type of tender being applied for, following which references will be sought checking your organisation's experience and views of the standard of service provided.

Equal opportunities

We are an equal opportunities employer and is committed to promoting equality of opportunity for all people irrespective of sex, age, race or disability.  The council is keen to ensure that its suppliers abide by the law and are working to best practice in this area.  All suppliers, as part of the tender process, will therefore be required to provide evidence that they have equal opportunities policies in place and are committed to them.

Environmental policies

We are committed to using the resources entrusted to it to ensure best value for money at the least possible cost to the environment.  As part of this commitment to the environment, the council's procurement policy will, wherever practicable, focus on:

  • Specifying less environmentally damaging products
  • Promoting greater use of renewable sources
  • Encouraging suppliers to use environmentally friendly practices throughout the production process

When applying for certain council contracts, you may be requested to supply evidence to your practices and procedures as they relate to the environment

Health and safety

It is essential on many contracts that contractors are accredited/compliant to a nationally recognised Health and Safety Scheme - for example Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP). If you do not have the appropriate accreditation/compliance or fail to obtain it during the tender process, then your company will not be awarded the contract with the council. 

The council subscribes to the Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS)

Once a contractor has gained accreditation they can use it to apply for contracts with other bodies that are also part of the scheme without submitting any further health and safety documentation while their accreditation is valid.

Contract award

We aim to usually award contracts to the contractor/supplier who offers the most economically advantageous tender based on a combination of price and quality. The contract award criteria will be stated in the tender documents.

Tips for success

Be on time

Make sure information is provided by the deadline dates. If the information does not arrive promptly, the council will be unable to consider it. The council must be seen to be acting fairly and transparently and by giving everyone the same chance.

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 information for pre-qualification

There may be a number of pre-qualification stages to go through before being invited to tender. If you have expressed interest in a contract, you will generally be asked to submit information on your economic and financial standing, technical capacity and ability, equal opportunities, environmental and health and safety policies, previous experience and references. You must provide all the information requested, as this will be evaluated against that provided by other applicants and will dictate whether or not you reach the next stage.

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.