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What to expect in a procurement

Once an opportunity has been identified from the advert, providers are sign-posted to register/login to the on-line Proactis eProcurement portal where the full procurement process will be managed.

Typical procurement documents we will append to the portal usually consist of: 

  • Procurement Pack – a set of instructions to providers presenting detail on the process
  • Specification – the council conveying its requirement of the provider to deliver against
  • Pricing – a template which providers complete to present the pricing requirements
  • Questionnaire – where providers articulate/attach evidence in answer to scored criteria
  • Terms & conditions – the ‘legal speak’ which brings together the specification, pricing and questionnaire

The advert will present the closing time and date for submission. It cannot be emphasised enough that providers must submit before the deadline and therefore leave themselves plenty of time to submit. Last-minute attempts may result in failure to upload all, or some of the requirements, and may lead to a full disqualification.

Whilst the opportunity is ‘at advert’ providers complete the submission, upload and submit. This period also allows providers to raise any clarification points regarding the documentation – and this is strongly recommended – as the ability to amend provider errors post-submission could also lead to a full disqualification where a submission is non-compliant.

The Government have issued guidance to the SME market on basic tendering requirements which provides a good insight into answering tender questions, value for money, social value and some top tips amongst other things. Whilst this guidance is aimed at doing business with central Government, there is a clear cross-over in processes with us.

Once the submission deadline has passed, we will score the submissions in line with the published criteria in the documentation, and ultimately appoint the successful provider(s). At the end of the procurement process, the successful provider(s) enter into agreement, which effectively is the provider(s) and us agreeing to the final specification, pricing, questionnaire and terms & conditions.

Although the procurement sourcing process may fall-away at this point, the important stage of contract management picks up and it is fundamentally key that providers and our commissioning clients work together during the term of the agreement.

Some key points in procurement documents

There are some key points to note: -

  • Modern-day slavery (‘MDS’) - the subject of MDS is important and feature in our agreements. We provide more information on slavery and it is expected that all providers work with us regarding our requirements.
  • Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) – some agreements may attract a transfer of workforce as part of the handover from one agreement to another. The requirements of TUPE are clearly outlined in the Procurement Pack and the legal terms and conditions.
  • Insurance – we request a standard set of minimum insurance requirements. Typically for services or goods type arrangements we ask for £5m in each of public liability and employers liability. Professional indemnity may feature in an agreement and, where set, may be a £2m minimum for services and goods. Note: these values may change depending on the procurement project.
  • Data/cyber protection – we and our providers must ensure full safety and protection of data online. For some projects, the tender documentation may feature a 3rd Party Security Questionnaire which seeks to test and confirm surety of a providers data system. As with all tender requirements asked, it is critical that this is completed as requested.
  • Accreditations - many projects require the provider to be accredited. Where this is a requirement, and to avoid any disappointment of becoming a successful provider, do not delay in any application processes.  

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