Frequently Asked Questions about Council Procurement
Worcestershire County Council procures goods, works and services
from a wide range of suppliers and service providers. This can
range from small, one-off purchases to multi-million pound service
contracts lasting several years.
- What is the difference between a tender
and a contract?
- Why does the council ask for a Tender
rather than a Quote?
- At what level does a quote become a
- What is a competitive tender?
- What are Official Journal of the European
Union (OJEU) and European Procurement Regulations?
- Where can I get access to OJEU
- Where do you advertise your
- How will I know what criteria you are
using for the evaluation of a tender?
- If I am unsuccessful, will you explain to
me why my bid failed and what can you tell me about the winning
- If I am on the council's business lists,
will I still have to apply formally in response to an OJEU
notice being published?
- Does the Council have a Select List of
- Does the council use a third party
- If I want to apply for a tender do I
have to submit some pre-qualifying information about my
- What tender documentation do I need to
do business with the council?
- My company is new and has few
references; will I be allowed to compete for Council
- Can I submit a tender with my own
alternative conditions attached?
- Q. What is the difference between a tender and a
A. The term tender means a formal invitation to trade under the
terms of offer and the documents associated with that offer. A
contract is, generally speaking, a legally binding agreement
between parties, where there has been offer, acceptance and
consideration.(Top of Page)
- Q. Why
does the council ask for a Tender rather than a Quote?
A. We have a statutory obligation under the Government's Best Value
Review regime to seek competitive prices. Generally, it is the
level of value and risk that determines if we ask for a quote or
goes out to tender.(Top of Page)
- Q. At what
level does a quote become a tender?
A. We will normally seek 3 written quotes for lower value work,
supplies or services, (e.g. under £156,442 in value).
If the value is above £156,442 or the nature of the
request is complex, or requires a certain specification that needs
to be matched, then we will 'Competitively Tender' the works in
accordance with our Procurement Code of Practice.(Top of Page)
- Q. What is
a competitive tender?
A. This is the process by which we decide who is the best provider.
The tender is the completed and priced pre-prepared document that
lays out all the terms, conditions and specification. We usually
invite a minimum of 5 suppliers to submit a tender. The invitation
to tender is issued to all suppliers on the same day. They are not
allowed to canvass or collude with us, other than to seek clarity.
The time allowed for pricing and submitting a tender varies
depending on the complexity of the procurement; it is normally
around 4 to 6 weeks. All tenders must be returned before a
specified date and time before being opened by us.(Top of Page)
- Q. What
are Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) and European
A. When tendering and awarding contracts for goods, services or
works, we are legally obliged to observe the requirements of the EU
Public Procurement Rules. These stipulate that contracts valued in
excess of specified amounts (see below) must be publicly exposed to
competition within the European Union. Therefore we are obligated
to advertise contracts in the Official Journal of the European
Union (OJEU) when contract values exceed these amounts:- Works
contracts - *£3,927,260 Supplies contracts - *£156,442
Services contracts - *£156,442 In the case of services
advertisement is required for certain types of priority services *
These figures are set by the European Union and are subject to
change but are correct at the time of producing this document
(January 2010). OJEU is the Official Journal of the European Union.
When contracts for works, supplies and services exceed a specified
threshold value, local authorities and other public organisations
must advertise their details in this publication, calling for
expressions of interest.(Top of Page)
- Q. Where
can I get access to OJEU notices?
A. OJEU is available in electronic form only either via the
Internet on "Tenders Electronic Daily" (TED) -
http://ted.publications.eu.int or in CD-ROM format available from
the Stationery Office on 020 7873 9090.(Top of Page)
- Q. Where do you advertise your contracts?
A. Contracts are advertised on this website, as well as trade
journals relating to that product or service (where appropriate)
and, if the European thresholds are exceeded, the OJEU (Official
Journal of the European Union).(Top of Page)
- Q. How
will I know what criteria you are using for the evaluation of a
A. The criteria will be stated in the tender documents.(Top of Page)
- Q. If I am
unsuccessful, will you explain to me why my bid failed and what can
you tell me about the winning bid?
A. Yes - this could include a number of reasons. For example, you
might be too costly, or have insufficient skills or knowledge, you
may have failed to understand what is required or failed to
complete the documentation correctly. Whatever the reason, if you
ask for feedback, we will provide it. We will inform you who was
successful and briefly outline the reasons for the award.(Top of Page)
- Q. If I
am on the council's business lists, will I still have to apply
formally in response to an OJEU notice being published?
A. Yes.(Top of
- Q. Does
the Council have a Select List of Approved
A. Please search the Trader
Register for a list of County Council approved
- Q. Does
the council use a third party supplier accreditation?
A. No, we operate and manage our own database.(Top of Page)
- Q. If I want to apply for a tender do I have to submit some
pre-qualifying information about my company?
A. We normally require all suppliers to complete a questionnaire
detailing information about their financial/economic standing and
their technical capability. This usually covers information about
when you started business or your organisation/company was formed,
what experience you have in providing the goods/services/works
being tendered for, details of where we may obtain references on
your company, and details of your company's finances. We have a
pre-qualification questionnaire that can be requested in reply to a
contract advice. Once completed and returned you will be considered
for tender invitation.(Top of Page)
- Q. What tender documentation do I need to do business with the
A. The contract documentation needed will be provided when we
invite you to tender, either in electronic or paper formats. The
documentation will normally comprise 3 main sections depending on
the contract. These will be as follows: • Specification: This
describes the work to be done and the standards required; • Terms
and conditions of the contract: These set out the rules of the
contract that will be entered into between us and the appointed
contractor; • Pricing Document: This enables the tenderer to set
out and provide a price for the work. In addition, depending on the
type of contract, other documentation could include - Plans or
details of sites (where applicable) ; Relevant policy documents you
will need to observe.(Top of Page)
- Q. My
company is new and has few references; will I be allowed to compete
for Council business?
A. Yes. The Council does not discourage new businesses. A view will
be taken on your company's suitability and any potential risk to
us. Thorough investigations will be made examining your financial
status and past performance where possible. You could also be
invited to an interview to further examine your
suitability.(Top of Page)
- Q. Can I submit a tender with my own alternative conditions
A. Generally, no. A tender will only be accepted if it is submitted
in accordance with the instructions to tender and in accordance
with the terms and conditions of the contract as stated. (Top of Page)
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This page was last reviewed 15 March 2013 at 11:12.
The page is next due for review 11 September 2014.