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Doing Business With The Council

How we buy

Selling to the Council

As a Local Authority, we aim to secure the best possible value for money for the Council and for the residents of the district in all our contracts.

What we buy

We spend around £17 million a year on a wide range of goods and services for the following business areas:

  • refuse collection vehicles, equipment and services
  • construction services, housing related repairs and building maintenance
  • professional consultancy services,
  • office services including stationery, multi-functional devices, janitorial and other related goods and services.

What we don’t buy

As a district authority we have no responsibility for social care and education. This is the responsibility of Cambridgeshire County Council

How we buy

We purchase based on value for money, simplicity and ease of process. We buy goods and services via:

  1. Framework contracts - For some types of goods and services we use framework contracts. These are contracts that have been pre-tendered by organisations, so reducing the time it takes to instruct you to carry out work for us. This means that if you bid for and are awarded a framework contract, we are able to pass work to you without asking you to tender every time we do so. Framework contracts cover a wide range of goods and services used in the public sector.
  2. Catalogue call off. The Council purchases from a catalogue of commonly used goods provided by ESPO.
  3. Joint working with partner authorities. Where possible we try to align requirements and specifications with our partner authorities (Huntingdonshire District Council and Cambridge City Council) in order to combine volumes and reduce administrative effort.
  4. Approved lists. Approved lists are only used in specific categories where the work required to go through the full procurement process would be greater than creating and administering the list.
  5. Going to market directly. Our rules seek to balance the needs of open competition and avoiding unnecessary or disproportionate effort in purchasing. The value of the procurement determines the process:

Prompt payment

We aim to: 

  • agree payment terms at the outset of any contract
  • not change payment terms retrospectively
  • tell suppliers promptly if there is any reason why an invoice will not be paid to the agreed terms
  • ask prime suppliers to adopt the same terms throughout their own supply chains
  • provide suppliers with clear guidance on payment procedures.

Our payment guide can be found online.

Terms and conditions

When using a framework contract or buying jointly with another authority, their terms and conditions may apply.  Otherwise, we expect to buy our products and services on the basis of:

Our general terms and conditions for standard or low value goods, services and works.

For works we often use industry standard forms of contract (such as JCT).

For various contracts these standard terms and conditions may be amended and/or supplemented by specific terms and conditions that relate to that particular contract.

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