How to do Business with West Sussex Councils A Guide for

How to do Business with
West Sussex Councils
A Guide for
Suppliers and Service Providers
Council Procurement Procedures
How to do Business with West Sussex Councils
Council Service Responsibility
Understanding public Procurement
Local Government Procurement Procedures &
European Union Consolidated Procurement
Tendering Tips
Using technology to aid the procurement process
Local Government Marketplace
EU Threshold Tendering Options
Contact details for West Sussex Councils
Useful Publications & Web-links
How to do Business with West Sussex Councils
1. Introduction
This is the second edition of ‘How to do Business with West Sussex Councils’ and has been
produced for use by all Councils in West Sussex. In addition to West Sussex County Council there
are 7 other District and Borough councils within the West Sussex County boundaries these are:
• Adur District Council
• Arun District Council
• Chichester District Council
• Crawley Borough Council
• Horsham District Council
• Mid Sussex District Council
• Worthing Borough Council
Borough and District Councils have responsibilities for local services within their own
boundaries. West Sussex County Council has overall responsibility for the delivery of countywide
services in West Sussex, with administration centres in Bognor Regis, Chichester, Horsham &
West Sussex County Council currently spends over £450 million annually on a wide range of
goods and services.
In order to obtain best value for this spend, a significant proportion of council procurement is
carried out under contract, or by using joint or consortium contracts with other government
bodies and other Sussex Authorities.
In addition to tendering for individual contracts, councils hold a number of “Framework
Agreements” that are renewed every four years. Local, Regional and National framework
agreements give suppliers of goods and services access to a much wider market than they have
previously enjoyed with individual council contracts. Through participation in consortia contracts,
framework agreements and electronic tendering suppliers are able to expand into much larger
markets. For details of “Framework Agreements” please contact individual councils direct.
Local suppliers are encouraged to tender for council business wherever possible and interested
suppliers can find further detailed information on how to do business with councils on
individual council websites. Council tendering opportunities can also be found on the www. or
The aim of this booklet is to provide you with an overview of information needed to understand
the council tendering process. It aims to explain what services & goods councils buy and offers
advice on the procurement process.
The guide is designed to help in the following ways:
• outlines the rules and regulations that councils must legally follow.
• explains how to bid for council work.
To make the most of business opportunities generated by councils you need to understand the
spend patterns of a Council. Apart from their internal administrational requirements you should
be aware also of the services they provide to the public. Below is a list of the most common
services provided by councils.
How to do Business with West Sussex Councils
2. Council Service Responsibility
District & Borough Councils are normally responsible for these services:
• Abandoned Vehicles
• Beaches/ Foreshores & Coastal Defences (Adur/Arun/Chichester & Worthing councils
• Housing and Council Tax Benefits
• Building Control and Demolition
• Car Parks and Parking
• Cemeteries
• Local Museums
• Clinical Waste
• Council Tax
• Economic Development
• Energy Conservation, Conservation Areas and Green Issues
• Entertainment and Events
• Environmental Health and Protection
• Farmers’ Markets
• Food and Hygiene
• Homelessness
• Housing
• Land Charges
• Leisure Development and Leisure Facilities
• Licensing of Animals, Lotteries, Caravan Sites, Taxis and Entertainment
• Litter, Fly Tipping and Dustbins
• Noise Pollution
• Off Street Parking
• Pest Control
• Planning Applications and Enforcement
• Pollution Information
• Refuse and recycling collections, including Garden Sacks and Bulky Goods
• Register of Electors and Electoral Services
• Street Cleaning
• Public Toilets
West Sussex County Council are responsible for:
• Education
• The Arts
• Emergency Services and Planning – (including Fire & Rescue and Coast Guard)
• Environment
• Waste Management including Fly Tipping, Landfill and Waste Disposal
• Abandoned Vehicles
• Planning Services
• Records Office
• Community Safety and Planning
• Registrar
• Public Rights of Way
• Libraries
• Highways and Transport
• Social Care and Health
• Trading Standards
• Adult & Children’s Services
• Leisure and Tourism in West Sussex
How to do Business with West Sussex Councils
3. Understanding Public Procurement
Procurement is the process all councils use to acquire goods, works and services. There are
regulations at European, National and Local levels, which councils must follow when buying
services or goods and establishing Framework Agreements.
Tendering and letting contracts can often appear to be confusing and bureaucratic to
contractors, and often have the effect of putting some Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SME)
and other Ethnic/Diverse minority (BME) or Third Sector businesses off tendering. All councils in
Sussex have signed up the recent SME Concordat details of which can be found on http://www.
Although the process may appear complicated and resource intensive councils are striving
towards reducing the information requested to just that appropriate for the particular contract
being tendered. It should be remembered that councils are spending public money and are
audited through strict procedures and guidelines.
All public expenditure has to be fully documented, from the initial decision and authorisation
to purchase, to the final award. Each council’s procurement policy has to be fair, reasonable
and use a transparent process giving equal opportunity to all bidders. This is done by using pre
agreed evaluation criteria; normally this will be the “most economically advantageous tender”
(MEAT), but contracts can be awarded on lowest price criteria. It also has to be undertaken in a
manner that can be scrutinised and shown to have been carried out with propriety.
4. Local Government Procurement
Procedures and Regulations
Public authorities have a duty to operate in an open and transparent way by allowing all
suppliers the freedom to trade with us. Individual council procedures for procurement form
part of their Council’s constitution, and can be found on the individual Council’s website,
sometimes they are referred to as “Contract Standing Orders” and are important because –
• They provide an auditable framework for councils’ procurement activities;
• Help councils to obtain value for money so that they, in turn, can provide value for
money services to the public;
• Ensure councils comply with EU & UK law governing the spending of public money;
• Give protection to council staff and successful contractors from undue criticism or
allegation of wrong doing.
How to do Business with West Sussex Councils
5. European Union Consolidated
Procurement Directives
At the start of each procurement, councils must take into account the total value of the contract
over the life of the contract. If the total value of the contact is below the financial thresholds
listed below then the councils Standing Orders related to contracts will apply, if however they
are above the Thresholds stated below EU procurement rules will always apply.
Please note: Figures quoted effect from 1st January 2008
Supplies €206,000 - £139,839
Services €206,000 - £139,839
Works€5,150,000 - £3,497.313
Where the estimated total value of a contract is expected to exceed the relevant EU financial
threshold it must be advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). The total
value is calculated by the value per year multiplied by the number of years of the contract (this
value should include any service or maintenance costs related to the contract). These thresholds
apply to most areas of goods, works and services that the councils may require.
European Procurement Directives stipulate legal timescales that must be observed and these are
intended to ensure that reasonable time is given to interested parties to respond to adverts and
prepare submissions. If there is any conflict between European, national or local council rules, it
is the European Directives, which prevail.
Initially, if the value and service require it, a notice will be placed in OJEU. This gives information
on proposed contractual arrangements to the market place plus gives evaluation criteria,
timescales, etc. asking organisations to contact us to formally register their interest.
You can find more information about the EU Procurement Directives and regulations on the
OGC website or from your nearest Euro Information Centre (EIC) on
You can also view Goods and Services contracts that are advertised over the EU thresholds on
the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). These contracts can be viewed at http://www. or
Contracts and invitations to tender may also be advertised in the local press or specific trade
How to do Business with West Sussex Councils
6. Tendering Tips
Return the tender by the closing date and time specified. Late tenders will not be
considered (even if there is evidence of posting the tender by first class mail prior to
the latest date)
Respond to any requests for further information by the specified date.
Make sure you supply ALL the information requested.
When referring to specific internal forms (i.e. Risk Assessment form) please enclose an
Enclose the tender in a plain sealed envelope entitled “Tender” - followed by the
subject to which it relates.
Do not mark the tender envelope with any other mark or name, which may identify
the tenderer.
No tender will be considered if the plain sealed envelope in which it is enclosed is,
in turn, enclosed within a second envelope or package which carries a name or mark
which identifies the tenderer
If when tendering you have a more innovative way of supplying either the service
or goods that differs from the tender specification this should be highlighted on the
Alternative Offer Schedule. This will be considered.
7. Using technology to aid the
Procurement Process
Purchase to Pay (P2P)
What is meant by the P2P process, electronic procurement (e-Procurement) is the term used to
describe a fully electronic purchase-to-pay process from the initial requisition/order through
to invoicing and payment. e-Procurement automates and simplifies the procurement process
reducing costs through resource efficiency savings. It reduces the use of paper invoices, postage
and lowers processing and administration costs. e-Procurement also aids suppliers by removing
a large proportion of the paper based activities relating to the processing of an order and
subsequent payment; it also speeds up the payment process to suppliers and aids supplier/
customer relationship by improving customer satisfaction.
Collectively the local authorities of England and Wales spend well over £25 billion every year on
goods and services, placing 35-58 million purchases with over 80,000 suppliers. e-Procurement
can also help suppliers gain access to a wider local authority market and increase sales
opportunities to this sector.
Many councils in West Sussex are implementing e-Procurement solutions that interface with
their own IT software, and councils are keen to work with suppliers to help them achieve
electronic trading capability wherever possible.
West Sussex County Council has implemented Bravo Solution as their P2P model (Please check
with individual councils on their solution). There are many benefits to both the Council and the
supplier by trading electronically and councils are keen to encourage suppliers to trade this way
to achieve the benefits related to e-Procurement.
How to do Business with West Sussex Councils
Potential Benefits of using P2P e-Procurement Solution
• Reduces cost of sales
• Quicker payments
• Reduces cost of inventory
• Protects the market from economic instability
• Improves management information and provides marketing data
• Offers transfer of the technology to other sectors and other customers
8. Local Government Marketplace
There are many new electronic market places available online. One of the main market
places used by local authorities to procure goods and services is IDeA. The Improvement and
Development Agency (IDeA) was established in March 2002 to help local government provide
services by improving processes, saving time and avoiding unnecessary cost. Hosted by platform
provider e-Government Solutions the IDeA marketplace allows councils to use e-Procurement
without the need to implement their own software solution.
Organisations can integrate their finance systems, or other purchase-to-pay solutions to
minimise re-keying of data, saving time and reducing errors.
The biggest success of the marketplace so far has been in generating cash savings by providing
authorities with access to cheaper collaborative contracts than were previously used. With over
40bn spent annually by local government on third-party goods and services, the opportunity for
savings is clearly significant.
Further details of the guidance and activities conducted by IDeA can be found at http://www.
9. EU Threshold Tendering Options
There are 4 main tendering options open to councils:
1. Open procedure - Under an open tender procedure all suppliers who respond to an
advertisement are supplied with invitation to tender documentation, which they then return as
appropriate. This is then evaluated against pre-established criteria for the “most economically
advantageous tender” (MEAT). Councils will only select this procedure where the expected
number of applications is likely to be manageable.
2. Restricted procedure - (This is the most common process used by
councils to tender goods & services contracts.)
The restricted procedure can best be described as a three stage approach in which all suppliers
who respond to a contract notice are supplied with a pre-qualification questionnaire (a PQQ).
cont. over
How to do Business with West Sussex Councils
We tend to undertake the restricted procedure only if we expect high levels of interest in a
specific requirement. The PQQ normally requests the following information from the supplier:
Financial Assessment
Insurance Liability cover
Health and Safety Policies & Procedures
Criminal Record Bureau Checks (if applicable to the contract)
Equalities and Diversity Policies & Practises
Technical Assessments - Reference Sites and Referees
Environmental Management including the Sustainability,
Environmental, Economic & Social impact your goods or services have
on the environment.
The PQQ document allows the council to initially assess the contractor on their technical ability
and financial stability to provide the service or goods over the length of the contract. From this
long list a short list of contractors will be compiled that will receive the full tender documents.
Tender documents will then be sent out to the shortlisted contractors, which will indicate the
tender evaluation criteria incorporating both quality and price and the terms under which the
contract will be let. Again these should be completed and submitted in accordance with strict
tendering procedures and deadlines highlighted in the document.
All tenders will be fairly evaluated using the pre agreed criteria and often the top 2/3 bidders
will be invited along to give a presentation on their bid. When all the evaluation has been
completed the project board will inform the successful contractor of their decision and confirm
their acceptance.
Once the contract has been awarded, an Award Notice will be published in OJEU giving brief
details of the company selected.
3. Competitive Dialogue procedure - This is a new procedure brought in with the
adoption of the EU Consolidated Procurement Directives in January 2006. It allows councils to
discuss possible requirements with suppliers pre-selected by a PQQ process (as noted above)
in order to find the most appropriate solution to fulfill the requirement. This procedure is
therefore most suitable for tackling complex procurement where no “standard market offering”
exists or where service delivery innovation is being sought.
Discussions with suppliers may continue over several stages until the council feels the most
appropriate solution to fulfill its requirement has been identified. At this stage the dialogue
process ceases and those suppliers able to fulfill the council’s requirements are invited to tender.
4. Negotiated procedure - When the council, under certain limited circumstances,
negotiates with one or more suppliers of choice. For example, it may be used in a case of
extreme unforeseen urgency or where there is only one supplier in the market. It would not
normally be used when either open or restricted tendering is considered more appropriate (and
is rarely used now by councils).
How to do Business with West Sussex Councils
Award Procedure for EU Contracts
After the final evaluation, the project team will have reached a decision on the contractor
that best meets the evaluation criteria and the needs of the contract. EU contract regulations
require a minimum 10-day standstill period between communication of the award decision to
all bidders and entry into a contractually binding agreement. The new rules ensure that bidders
have advance notice of when the contract will be entered into; giving them the opportunity to
commence a legal challenge should they feel that the award has not been fairly made.
Unsuccessful bidders will have the opportunity during the minimum 10-day standstill period
to request a debriefing meeting to discuss the award and the evaluation process. This request
should be in writing.
Contractors may be required to produce evidence during the
tender process that the main topics listed below are covered.
Financial Stability
Contractors are normally requested to supply, the last two or three years of audited accounts.
This must be a full set of accounts, which includes a Profit and Loss statement, the Balance Sheet
and all notes to accompany the accounts. The accounts should also include the auditor’s report
and the directors’ report if applicable.
Insurance Liability Cover
Contractors should enclose copies of the necessary Insurance documents to prove that the
contractor has the necessary insurance cover, including public liability, employer’s liability and
where appropriate professional indemnity. The value of the cover required will be indicated by
individual councils appropriate to the contract being let.
Health & Safety
All organisations are required to comply with the duties imposed upon them by the Health and
Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and subordinate legislation, the risk assessment requirement of
the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Occupiers Liability
Acts. Companies will be asked to supply their own internal procedures for dealing with Health &
Safety issues & training.
Permit to Work
In some cases a Contractor will require, a Permit to Work (PTW) Form. These are generally
required for contractors working on council sites where activities could present significant risks
to staff, the public, property or systems. The PTW is used to manage day-to-day work on or in
the property and to ensure one contractors activities will not affect another.
Criminal Record Bureau Checks
Where there is a possibility of the contractors being in contact with vulnerable persons then
councils are required to undertake a Criminal Records Bureau check (unless an existing CRB
clearance certificate exists). Any existing valid certificate must be no older than three years old
and the original certificate needs to be authenticated and copied by an authorised member of
the Personnel Staff at the council. Some councils may use their discretion to make this period
shorter than three years in exceptional circumstances.
How to do Business with West Sussex Councils
Equalities & Diversity
Councils are committed to equal opportunities for all, regardless of race, colour, religion,
ethnicity, gender, family status, sexual orientation, disability or age, and will promote equalities
in the procurement of goods, works and services. It is all councils’ policy to ensure equality
contract selection to businesses owned by all members of the community.
Contractors may be asked if they comply with the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Equal Pay
Act 1970, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the Race Relations Act 1976, the Race Relations
Amendment Act 2000 and any related Codes of Practice. In appropriate cases tenderers will also
be asked whether they have been subject of any investigation or finding by a court or tribunal
concerning breach of any of the aforementioned requirements. Contractors will also be asked if
they have a policy on equal opportunities.
Technical Assessments - Reference Sites & Referees
A technical assessment and references will be undertaken to assess the performance, experience
and ability of the contractor in providing the works, goods and services.
How to do Business with West Sussex Councils
Economic Sustainability
In their procurement activities, councils will encourage the local business community to employ
local labour thus maintaining our employment levels. However, it should be noted that the
councils are constrained by both national and European rules in how they procure. Local
businesses are encouraged to develop and build their capacity and potential to enable them to
submit competitive tenders.
Environmental Management
Councils also look to minimise the effect procurement has on the environment.
Details may be asked about action taken by the company to:
• Ensure materials used are from sustainable managed sources, e.g. timber from
sustainable managed forest
• Ensure that materials and products used have been processed in a way which causes
minimum damage to the environment
• Increase the proportion of products used which have been made from recycled
• Ensure any surplus of waste material is disposed of in a way that causes the least
possible adverse impact on the environment
• Reduce waste production and increase the proportion of materials re-used and
• Discourage car use and eliminate unnecessary motor vehicle trips
• Reduce fuel consumption through, for example, increasing fuel efficiency, driver
training, good vehicle maintenance and route planning
• Reduce the use of energy for other purposes through, for example, promoting energy
saving behaviour, use of energy efficient equipment and good design practices
• Increase the proportion of energy used which is from renewable sources
• Reduce water use and increase the proportion of water re-used
• Protect natural resources and green spaces and increasing biodiversity
• Reduce air and water pollution and prevent land contamination
• Reduce noise and light pollution
• Provide details of Environmental Management Systems and/or Environmental
Standards achieved.
How to do Business with West Sussex Councils
10. Contact details for the West Sussex Councils
Specific service or business areas usually undertake District and Borough procurement, but
central points of contact that will be able to advise and guide you through the process are listed
Adur District Council (
Procurement responsibilities are devolved in Adur DC, for further information go to the Adur
procurement web pages or contact: Bill Williamson at 01903 221056 or email:
[email protected]
Arun District Council: (
Procurement responsibilities are devolved in Arun DC, for further information go to the Arun
procurement web pages or contact Rob Kitt on 01903 737677 or
email - [email protected]
Chichester District Council (http://www.chichester/
Procurement responsibilities are devolved in Chichester DC, for further information go to
procurement web pages.
General enquires may be emailed to [email protected]
Crawley Borough Council (
Procurement responsibilities are devolved in Crawley BC, for further information go to the
Crawley BC procurement web pages or call on 01293 438386 or
Email – [email protected]
Horsham District Council (
Procurement responsibility is devolved in Horsham DC, details of the officer to contact for
each particular area may be found on the Council “Selling to the Council” web pages. General
enquires may be emailed to [email protected]
Mid Sussex District Council (
Procurement responsibility is devolved in Mid Sussex DC, details of the officer to contact for
each particular area may be found on the Council “Selling to the Council” web pages. General
enquires may be emailed to [email protected]
Worthing Borough Council (
Procurement responsibilities are devolved in Worthing BC, for further information go to the
Worthing procurement web pages or contact Bill Williamson on 01903 221056 or
Email – [email protected]
West Sussex County Council: (
Procurement enquiries should be directed to the Procurement Support department
How to do Business with West Sussex Councils
11. Useful Publications and Links
BIP Contracts
A contract information service providing a wide coverage of the public sector contracts required
by national and international government departments, local authorities, police, health and fire
services. It also has a range of useful briefing notes on related issues.
UK Online is the easy way to access government services on the Internet. It guides
you through more than 900 government websites to get information you need quickly and
efficiently. It is a key part of the UK online initiative.
Informed Publications Limited
This site contains more than 1600 different Information & Communication Technology (ICT)
products or services that either are, or can be, used by local authorities. Submitting a product to
the database is free.
Tenders Direct
Website provides access to over 30,000 current government and utility company contracts in the
UK and Europe. Database is updated with 400 new tender notices everyday.
SIMAP aims to support an effective Single Market by encouraging suppliers and contracting
entities to adopt best practices and use electronic commerce and information technology to
provide all the information needed to deliver value for money in public procurement.
Tenders on the Web
This service states that it delivers £480billion worth of business opportunities and 150,000
contract notices per year. The site provides advice on tendering and EU procurement directives.
Information for Social enterprises can be found on the DTI’s website. The DTI has produced a
helpful procurement Toolkit to assist social enterprises bid for and win public sector contracts.
Small Business Service
The SBS has produced a guide for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Tendering for
Government Contracts – A Guide for Small Businesses.
How to do Business with West Sussex Councils
How to do Business with West Sussex Councils