The Procurement Process

 

The purchasing activities of each department are normally the direct responsibility of the Heads of Service, who are the budget holders. However, higher value and more complex procurement activities should be carried out with the assistance of the Corporate Procurement Unit. This unit deals with contracts that affect several service areas, such as the purchase of gas, electricity and stationery, and acts as an internal consultancy resource on all procurement related matters to the Council's budget holders. The unit also has responsibility for developing and overseeing the implementation of the Arun District Council Procurement Strategy 2016-2020.pdf [pdf] 245KB

You can contact us by phone on 01903 737677 or 01903 737726, emailing procurement@arun.gov.uk or in writing to the address at the bottom of this page.

 

Contract value thresholds

The total anticipated aggregate value of a contract dictates how it should be presented to the supply market. Below are the requirements of the procurement process for various contract values.

  • If the value of the contract is under £10,000, Officers of the Council are responsible for showing that they are achieving best value for money for the Council, normally by obtaining 2 quotations.
  • If the value of the contract is over £10,000 the Council may either choose to use an existing framework agreement (accessible to the Council) or place a public advert on the Tender Opportunities page, the Government’s Contracts Finder and a shared services eportal, which is also used by the majority of other local Councils in the South East. Both sites are free to use and will alert you to all new opportunities. 
  • If the value of a supplies or services contract is over £164,176 we are statutorily obliged to place a public advertisement in the Official Journal of the European Journal and follow a formal tender process complying with the European Union Procurement Directive rules. For works contracts this threshold is £4,104,394.

 

Green & local purchasing

Arun District Council is committed to making the Arun district a better place in which to live, work, invest and visit. We evaluate the whole life cost of a purchase, giving regard to operating costs, repairs and maintenance costs, anticipated lifespan and ultimate disposal costs as well as the initial purchase price. Such considerations often favour the green alternative. The Council is keen to promote local businesses and employment opportunities. We are prohibited from giving preference to local suppliers, but we will attempt to ensure through local advertising that potential local suppliers are aware of the Council's business and service requirements so that they can compete fairly and on equal terms for any contract opportunities.

 

The tender process

Specification

The budget holder is responsible for the preparation of a specification. The specification should state the precise nature and quantity of the requirement, together with any other relevant information which will be necessary to enable suppliers to make offers. It should be detailed enough to be a comprehensive outline of the requirement and to allow comparison between different tenders, but not be so prescriptive that it might hinder competition and innovative solutions. Potential suppliers may be invited to make comments on the draft specification, but this will always be carefully and fairly undertaken to ensure that no favouritism or bias to one supplier can be introduced.

Evaluation process

The evaluation criteria will be clearly identified in the documentation. Each need will have its own specific mix of value for money elements, which will be identified by the budget holder. A Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT) evaluation will seek to balance quality aspects against whole life cost so as to end up with the best possible value for money solution.

The process

Documents will be issued to the market. These will identify the names and contact details for further information if required. Suppliers are encouraged to make use of this facility to ensure they fully understand the contract specification, the procurement process and timetable. In a one stage process, the full tender documentation will be sent to all suppliers who respond to the advertisement. The suppliers' documentation should be returned by the closing date and all bids will be evaluated. For most tenders we will use an electronic form of tendering via the E-tendering portal mentioned previously which means tender documents can be accessed immediately and also negates the need to deliver your completed paper documents to the Council.  Deadlines will be set whereby completed tender documents must be uploaded onto the portal before the given time and date.  Late tenders will not be accepted.

When tender has closed

All tenders are opened at the same time and the opening is recorded on the E-tendering portal which gives a full audit trail of all activities relating to the procurement exercise.  The tenders are then evaluated by the appropriate technical officers or team of officers which may include operations staff, the Purchasing Officer and other senior staff.

Following the evaluation, a recommendation may have to be made to the relevant Cabinet Member. In some cases for large or contentious contracts the decision may be referred to full Council. This approval process may take six weeks or more. Details of the decision are given in the appropriate Council Minutes.

A letter of intent will be sent to the successful tenderer as soon as possible. This will be followed by the contract documents. Unsuccessful tenderers will be notified by letter along with an appropriate level of feedback to allow for the understanding of why you were unsuccessful so as to assist you in future tenders.  It is in everyone’s interest to help businesses improve and succeed in winning tenders which in turns helps the Council by ensuring there are sufficient, capable bidders to obtain value for money. 

 

Terms and conditions

We have our own Terms and Conditions of Contract. Suppliers who wish to do business with the Council are encouraged to accept these conditions. In a case that they are not acceptable to suppliers, this should be brought to the attention of the appropriate officer in writing. Whatever is agreed should be mutually acceptable to both parties. Arun District Council is not permitted to accept quotations or tenders from suppliers who are disqualified under 'Fair Employment Legislation'. Suppliers are required to complete a declaration to that effect.

 

Concerns over purchasing decision malpractice

The Council will do everything possible to promote honesty and integrity and is committed to the prevention, deterrence, detection and investigation of all forms of fraud and corruption. If you raise a concern regarding a purchasing decision, we will ensure that any allegations will be taken seriously and investigated in an appropriate manner. If you ask us to protect your identity we will not disclose it without your consent. The Council will deal firmly with those who act dishonestly. Following proper investigation, appropriate disciplinary action and/or criminal proceedings will be instigated. If you have a concern about malpractice, please raise the matter with us. You can do this by writing to the Internal Audit team at the address below, phoning 01903 737561 or emailing internal.audit@arun.gov.uk.