The process spans the whole cycle from identification of needs, through to the end of a services contract or the end of the useful life of an asset. It involves options appraisal and the critical make or buy decision which may result in the provision of services in-house in appropriate circumstances.
The council's procurement team has the responsibility for the development of policy and strategy, which is linked to improving the council's procurement service in response to the issues raised in the National Procurement Strategy for Local Government (2003 - 2006) and the Stronger and Prosperous Communities White Paper (2006). More recently the Government’s 2010 Spending Review advocated transforming procurement to achieve spending reductions, with key messages being; align procurement with organisational policy, collaborate and aggregate, implement category management techniques, streamline processes, use accurate data and find alternative models for delivery. The Localism Act 2011 also sets clear expectations that some power and budgets will be passed down to local communities, as well as giving citizens greater choice in shaping local services.
The policies and the strategy are reviewed annually and updated to fit circumstances and government/market changes.
The Contracts and Procurement service is central to procurement within the council. The main aims of the service are to provide information, guidance, advice and support to other departments during the procurement process, to manage its own specialist categories and to maintain policy and strategy with central government objectives and guidelines.
Consortia and collaborations
We work with other local councils, procurement agencies and consortia where efficiencies can be delivered through sharing services or leveraging spend. Currently Barnsley is working with other local councils for Decent Homes, Highways, and Waste Management and through meet the Buyer/ Supplier Events, as well as with the Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation and the Government Procurement Service.
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. The YPO frameworks used by the council include:
- Building materials
- Energy (gas, electricity, coal)
- Highways materials
- IT consumables
- Multi-functional printers
- Piped water
The Crown Commercial Service
The Crown Commercial Service is an executive agency of the cabinet office, whose overall priority is to provide procurement savings to the UK public sector as a whole and specifically to deliver centralised procurement for central government departments. We use the Government Procurement Service for many different types of products and services including mobile phone and landline telephone maintenance.
The procurement process
To secure value for money and to ensure the fair distribution of contracts to potential suppliers the council procures goods and services in the most competitive and equitable way possible. The thresholds of the contract value determine the procurement process and the choices that may be made. The YORtender system is to be used for all procurements over £10,000. Contracts over £5,000 must be published to the contracts register via YORtender.
The rules for these contract values are as follows:
- A contract estimated to be below £10,000 an officer needs to ensure value for money is being obtained.
- A contract estimated to be between £10,000 and £70,000 needs a minimum of three quotations to be obtained.
- For a contract estimated at £70,000 and above, a tender exercise must be carried out.
- For higher value procurements the European Procurement Directives apply.
European procurement directives
The European Procurement Directives are the secondary legislation adopted by the European Parliament and the Council (Member States) on the co-ordination of procedures for the award of public contracts. The European Union (EU) procurement directives are intended to reinforce the European Treaty's provisions on the free movement of goods and freedom to provide services within the internal market to ensure compliance in all member states with the treaty principle of equality of treatment, non-discrimination and transparency. The EU procurement directives apply to all public sector contracts equal or above specific thresholds.
The thresholds which apply from 1 January 2020 are:
- Goods and services: £189,330
- Light touch: £663,540
- Works: £4,773,252
The directives set out clear procedures and standards to be followed by us when choosing tenderers and awarding contracts.
Terms and conditions for goods and services
Standard Terms and Conditions for the supply of goods and services apply to our orders except where contracts have been awarded against tender or quotation exercises which may have their own specific terms and conditions in addition to these.
Terms and conditions for works contracts
Works contracts are usually subject to specific industry terms and conditions which will be identified at the time of the procurement exercise.
As part of the governments commitment to greater transparency, we have to make information on procurement more visible. With effect from the 1st February 2011, the following clause will be included in the terms and conditions for all our procurement exercises:
The parties acknowledge that, except for any information which is exempt from disclosure in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act ("the Act") the text of this contract, and any schedules to this contract is not confidential information. The Council shall be responsible for determining in its absolute discretion whether any part of the contract or its schedules is exempt from disclosure in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
Notwithstanding any other term of this contract, the Contractor hereby gives its consent for the Council to publish the contract in its entirety, including from time to time agreed changes to the contract, to the general public in whatever form the Council decides.
What does this mean for suppliers?
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.
Suppliers are encouraged to identify information they believe is commercially sensitive and would not wish to be published; the final decision however will rest with the council.