What are the Council's purchasing procedures?
All procedures relating to the purchasing of goods and services are established in the Council's Contract Standing Orders which are published as Part 10 of the Constitution of the Council.
Some key points are:
- For purchases of up to £5,000, managers choose suppliers and obtain between one and three quotations.
- For purchases between £5,000 and £20,000, managers again choose suppliers but require at least three written quotations.
- For purchases between £20,000 and £50,000, managers' should adopt controlled quotations where at least 3 written quotations are evaluated under controlled conditions and where the bids received are likely to exceed or be very close to £50,000 the council should adopt the full tendering process.
- For purchases above £50,000, the Council invites tenders either through advertisements in the local press, website, or relevant journal or through its Select List of Tenderers (see below).
- For the very small number of contracts where the value exceeds the EU threshold of £155,000 for goods and services and £3.8m for works, these contracts must be advertised in the Official Journal of the European Community (OJEC).
The Select List
The council no longer maintains a Select List of Tenderers with the exception of 'Constructionline'. We use 'Constructionline' for some of our construction projects because we believe it protects against large numbers of tenderers incurring the costs of submitting unsuccessful tenders. Details on how to get on 'Constructionline' with access to 8,000 buyers from over 2,800 public and private sector organisations can be found at http://www.constructionline.co.uk/static/
The Council accepts the lowest or most economically advantageous quotation or tender based on price, technical references, quality and compliance with the Specification and Conditions of Contract.
The Council is continually developing its environmental role in areas such as the use of recycled products and reducing waste and emissions. It therefore requires companies which deal with the Council to have a positive approach to environmental management. Ideally a company would be able to demonstrate this approach through formal accreditation such as Eco- Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), ISO 14001 or an equivalent standard. However in evaluating a contract, the Council would also take into account informal evidence of a company's record, for instance whether it is working towards accreditation, whether it has conducted an environmental audit, whether it has an environmental policy, or whether relevant training has been pursued.
The Council is committed to equal opportunities for all people and all businesses, regardless of factors such as gender, age or ethnic background. It will therefore follow these principles when purchasing goods, supplies and services. It will also require companies wishing to do business with the Council to follow the same principles by demonstrating that they apply equal opportunities principles in recruitment and in their own choice of suppliers.
Fair Trade is an alternative approach to conventional international trade. It aims at sustainable development for excluded and disadvantaged producers and seeks to do this by providing better trading conditions, by awareness raising and by campaigning. The Council supports this campaign and encourages companies doing business with the Council to purchase Fair Trade products where possible. Companies will ideally have developed appropriate policies to support Equal Opportunities and Fair Trade goods. Alternatively they should try to demonstrate how they are working towards such policies or that their working practices support these principles.
Where possible, the Council will encourage contractors to develop the local workforce and in particular to support local unemployed people into work. To this end, it supports proposals for training and apprenticeship schemes which offer employment and skills development for local workers. It will also wish to see a companies Health & Safety Statement to reassure it of their commitment in this area.
Supplying the Council