How we buy

How we buy

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

The use of framework contracts with organisations like ESPO and Government Procurement are becoming more frequent. Frameworks are contracts that have been pre-tendered by these organisations, allowing Local Authorities to benefit from larger contract discounts and reduce the process time of letting contracts therefore reducing the costs of the Council.

Contracts up to a value of £25,000 (that are not awarded through a framework) are let through a quotation process. Contracts above £25,000 are let by our formal tender procedure and if they exceed the EU thresholds, then they are subject to the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) regulations. EU Tenders can be found at the European Tenders Electronic Daily site.

Any quotation or tender process for contracts over £5,000 will be advertised on this web site or Contract Finder  a Government led initiative advertising Government contracts and notifies suppliers. Suppliers can currently register free of charge.

The Tender Document

The tender process generally involves the Council advertising and responding to expressions of interest with a tender document that will contain:

  • the award criteria (how we will score the document and the emphasis on price vs quality)
  • the specification and list of requirements
  • the terms and conditions
  • an equalities questionnaire
  • a questionnaire that seeks responses to the specification and requirements
  • a date and time of return

Important notes about tenders:

  • Ensure that you read through all of the documents as soon as possible and if you have any questions please ask!
  • It is important that you make sure that you comply with the date and time of return. Late tenders will be rejected and not considered.
  • It is also important to follow the instructions that are detailed in the tender documents.
  • The questions are seeking responses to the specifications or requirements, make sure that you read and understand these and answer the questions linking any experience that you may have to these.
  • Often it will appear that you are repeating information when answering the questions. This is exactly what is required as you will be awarded the points against that question not for details contained in previous question responses. Different questions can be marked by different Officers and so its important to ensure your answer is as complete and detailed as possible.
  • Try to organise your answers in the same format and order as the question as it will make it easier to locate your responses. Try to avoid cross linking to other documents or if unavoidable make it clear which specific part refers.

Finally the Councils tendering process may seem lengthy and time consuming but it is there to ensure fairness and transparency. Once you have mastered responding to tenders it is a technique and skill that will benefit your company.

 The Council's Requirements

South Cambridgeshire District Council expects that Contractors and Consultants will carry out work to the same standards required of its staff. The following publications detail these standards:

Code of Conduct

Data Protection Policy
Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998
Procurement - Proceeds of Criminal Act 2002
Bribery Act 2010

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